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Statement of the independent directors of Market Basket

The three independent members of the seven-member Market Basket board of directors issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.

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.

Below is the full text of the statement:

STATEMENT OF THE INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS OF THE DEMOULAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS: WE AGREE WITH GOVERNOR PATRICK: IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO WORK

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

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“We have now gone five days since we offered a solution that would return everyone back to work to support the Company including the former management team. To date, we still have not received a response.

Today, we applaud Governor Patrick’s statement encouraging all Associates to return to work as soon as possible. We, as Independent Board members, cannot force any shareholders to buy or to sell, nor can we control the timing of their decisions. All we seek is to get our Associates back to work earning a steady income so our customers can go back to shopping. In return, we can’t offer a resolution to the deal negotiations, but have and will continue to offer a way to return to normal while negotiations continue. Playing with fire that will hurt us all – Associates, customers, and communities – is a no-win situation, and we all need it to end.

It’s well past the time when anyone can frame the crisis as “us vs. them,” or a “family feud.” There are too many families being impacted by this. Rather, for good or ill, many are being asked to sacrifice their pay, their jobs, and their ability to shop at affordable prices in their own neighborhoods, against the hope that it will help one side achieve a preferred business deal rather than another. No one should ever hold 25,000 associates, 2 million shoppers and our local economies as leverage in a business negotiation.

It is time to get everyone back to work. It’s been five days since we last proposed a solution that would work toward getting everyone back and bring the crisis to an end. That’s five days too long, and now time is running out.”

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