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Market Basket’s independent directors issue call for employees, shoppers to return

The three independent members of the seven-member Market Basket board of directors issued a statement Monday afternoon calling on the store’s employees to get back to work and for customers to return to the stores.

The board technically includes two members aligned with Arthur S. Demoulas, two aligned with Arthur T. Demoulas, and three who are not associated with either, though in practice they often side with Arthur S. The independent members are: Keith O. Cowan, board chairman and a former executive with Sprint Nextel Corp.; Eric F. Gebaide, managing director of Innovation Advisors in New York, a boutique investment banking firm; and Ronald G. Weiner, president and chairman of Perelson Weiner LLP, an accounting and consulting firm in New York City.

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Below is the full text of the statement:

STATEMENT OF THE INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS OF THE DEMOULAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS: NO MORE HOSTAGES: DAY 3

The Independent Directors of the Demoulas Board today issued the following statement:

“Three days ago, we offered a solution to the current standoff. We pledged to put everything on the table. All we asked for was an end to the standoff by letting Associates get back to work and customers get back to shopping.

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“We have a series of difficult business decisions to work out. However, there is no reason to continue to hold the 25,000 Associates, 2 million shoppers and our local economies hostage to an ongoing business negotiation between shareholders.

“We are available to resolve this standoff anytime and anywhere. All it takes is a ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes’ to getting Associates back to work. ‘Yes’ to letting people get back to shopping. And ‘Yes’ to sitting down and working out a long-term solution to the business issues that confront us.

“It is time to get everyone back to work. We must end this zero sum game and act in the best interests of our Associates, customers – and in the end, our company. We are ready to meet. It’s time.”

Bennie DiNardo can be reached at bennie.dinardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bdinardo.
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