Vol 33 (2013): Special Issue: Working Lives: Special Issue on Oral History and Working-Class History

Oral History, Working Class Culture, and Local Control: A Case Study from Brewer, Maine

Pauleena MacDougall
Maine Folklife Center, University of Maine
Published December 10, 2012


Stories of factory closings from many industries throughout the latter part of the twentieth century are common and numerous studies have documented the economic impact of these unfortunate events. In this case study of Brewer, Maine, oral histories with former workers at the primary source of local employment, Eastern Corporation, illuminate the nature of management-worker interactions at the mill. Eastern’s former employee narratives reveal a surprisingly unified perspective regarding the closing of the mill that does not reflect the public narrative put forward by management and business leaders.