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From the continuing soap opera known as Market Basket…

• The Boston Globe reports that Market Basket's co-CEOs, Felicia Thornton and James Gooch, have instructed store managers "to remove posters and other signs supportive of the reinstatement of Arthur T. Demoulas and an ongoing customer boycott."

According to the story, "Market Basket stores have worn signage in support of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas since his June firing, and have seen significantly more signs pop up inside and outside stores since a worker and customer movement for his reinstatement began in earnest in mid-July. Customers have also taped receipts from other grocery stores on store doors in order to show the effect of their boycott during the past several weeks. Many customers are boycotting Market Basket.

"The email from the co-CEOs also asked that all signage asking for donations to workers who are going unpaid during ongoing protests also be taken down, and asked that 'items that are blocking docks or preventing load deliveries' be removed.

• The Salem Patch reports that when Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said this week that he believed that Market Basket employees should go back to work while the two sides of the Demoulas family negotiate a possible sale of the 50.5 percent of the company controlled by Arthur S. Demoulas to the faction controlled by Arthur T. Demoulas, he may have had an ulterior motive.

Patrick's wife, Diane, reportedly works for a law form that is representing the independent members of Market Basket's board of directors, who to this point have been aligned with Arthur S. Demoulas.

Gov. Patrick said he filed a "disclosure of an appearance of conflict of interest" out of an "abundance of caution," and that his wife's employment had nothing to do with his stated opinion on what the employees should do.

Just to make sure we're all on the same page …The longtime family feud boiled over with the move by Arthur S. Demoulas, to oust CEO Arthur T. Demoulas due to a conflict over the company’s finances. The fight is characterized differently by the two sides. The Arthur S. Demoulas faction argues that Arthur T. Demoulas spends money irresponsibly and refuses to take direction from the board. The Arthur T. Demoulas side maintains that his cousin is fueled by greed, only interested in raising prices, cutting employee compensation, and threatening the formula that has built the company to a New England success story. The family feud has been exacerbated by mass protests organized by employees and store boycotts organized by customers, as well as a systematic slowdown in deliveries by warehouse employees that has left many units virtually empty of product.
KC's View:
Whether his wife's employment influenced his opinion or not, Gov. Patrick's should have kept quiet on this issue. The fact is that much of the leverage that Arthur T. Demoulas has at this moment is directly related to the fact that employees continue to protest and customers continue to boycott the chain. Things go back to any semblance of normal, and he loses all that leverage, and there's almost no way to regain momentum. And I don't believe that, given a choice, the current board would sell the company to Arthur T. Demoulas if they can sell it to someone else.