Protesters gather around York home reportedly owned by Market Basket shareholder

Posted Aug. 13, 2014, at 12:55 p.m.
Jon Dixon, deli manager for Market Basket in Nashua, N.H., protested outside of Diana Merriam's Shore Road home this past weekend.
Courtesy of The York Weekly
Jon Dixon, deli manager for Market Basket in Nashua, N.H., protested outside of Diana Merriam's Shore Road home this past weekend.

YORK, Maine — Jon Dixon, a deli manager for Market Basket in Nashua, New Hampshire, is among a handful of protesters who last weekend stood in front of a Shore Road home owned by a reported shareholder and family member of the grocery store chain.

On Thursday, up to 10 employees, terminated employees and customers “from all over” began protesting in front of 427 Shore Road for the return of Arthur T. DeMoulas as head of the grocery store chain, said Dixon of Hudson, New Hampshire. The residence is owned by Arthur T.’s cousin and Market Basket shareholder, Diana Merriam, according to Dixon.

Merriam, her sister Fotene DeMoulas, who also reportedly has a home in York, and brother Arthur S. DeMoulas — who now heads the company — with other relatives not associated with Arthur T. own 50.5 percent of the Market Basket company, according to The Boston Globe.

The family feud for control of the privately-held company has become very public in recent weeks as employees have urged shoppers to boycott the store until the ousted Arthur T., who was seen as worker-friendly, is returned to power.

Dixon and others went to Merriam’s Shore Road home, “basically to get Diana’s attention,” Dixon said Monday. “She has the opportunity to end this thing. I found out the address and decided to give it a shot to end it, to get back to work there.”

Diana and Peter Merriam as Windacre Realty LLC own the home at 427 Shore Road, according to information on the town’s GIS website at yorkmaine.org.

Dixon said Merriam knew the protesters were there, through surveillance cameras posted at the end of the driveway and seeing them in person when she came out to walk her dog.

“She doesn’t want anything to do with any of us,” he said.

Merriam did not return a phone call for comment on Tuesday.

On Friday the protesters returned. Police came out to ensure it was a legal protest, being held on the town’s right of way between Shore Road and the driveway, Dixon said.

Dixon returned alone on Saturday and said he found a liquid on the pavement and grass where he had been standing that made him sick.

He reported the incident to York police at 1:13 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, according to Dixon and the police report. Officer Scott Cogger responded.

Cogger determined the substance was “nothing hazardous,” Sgt. Brian Curtin said Tuesday.

There was no odor, Curtin said, and the liquid could have been water spilled by a bicyclist, pedestrian or driver going by, Curtin said.

Dixon has since been checked out at a hospital and is fine, he said, but he and others have no plans to return to protest at the site.

Franki Delaney from the state Department of Environmental Protection came to York to take soil samples and found no evidence of a chemical, according to DEP spokesman Jessamine Logan. She did find two dark spots of undetermined origin, that were not greasy, Logan said.

Dixon has been a Market Basket employee for 22 years, he said.

Since employees began protesting for the return of Arthur T., business is down by 90 percent, he said. Grocery store shelves are pretty full except for the perishables, according to Dixon.

He continues to go to work, and also to protest outside of Market Basket’s main office in Tewksbury, Mass.

“If they fire me so be it,” he said. “I don’t want to work for these people. If (the protest) hasn’t got their attention, they’re not paying attention.”

 

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