Teaching Resources Library

Operations Management

"We Are Market Basket"


On July 18, 2014, the majority of Market Basket’s 200 non-unionized front office workers, another 300 warehouse associates and 65 truck drivers walked out on their jobs and spent the next six weeks protesting in front of the family-owned New England supermarket chain’s headquarters. Customers joined the protest by doing their grocery shopping elsewhere, essentially bringing business to a halt. The protestors were objecting to the firing of Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas by the company’s board of directors, on which sat his cousin, and foe, Arthur S. Demoulas. But why, many wondered, was having Arthur T. at the helm so important to so many different stakeholders? What exactly were they trying to protect? And why were their concerns so widely and deeply shared that they would risk banding together in protest without any legal protections for their actions?

Learning Objectives

To demonstrate the business, operations, and employee relations strategies and practices that support “high road” businesses; what made the collective action by Market Basket employees successful; why this dispute garnered such broad public support and what this implies for what Americans are looking for in business organizations today; and, shareholder conflicts in a family business.

Appropriate for the Following Course(s) 

operations, sustainability (economic/social), labor relations, employee management, and strategy

"We Are Market Basket"

Educator Copy*

*An educator (non-watermarked) copy of this case is available only to individuals who hold teaching positions at academic institutions and want to use the case in a course.