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Date of Interview


Duration of Audio File

Audio file #1 1:13:34; Audio file #2 00:32:06


Peter Kellman


Born approximately 1946; aged 57 at time of interview.



Birth Place

Brooklyn, New York


North Berwick, Maine

Occupation/ Work History

Lifelong movement activist, labor history and union strategy scholar (published both books and articles in labor journals). He began in anti-Vietnam War effort, and joined the southern Civil Rights movement (1964-1966) as a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Became a skilled carpenter, worked in a Maine shoe factory that he unionized and then became president of the new union local (New Balance) in late 1970s. Employed by the Project on Corporations, Law and Democracy in support of his writing books and articles.



Mill or Principal Employer

International Paper Mill in Jay, Maine, Maine State AFL-CIO

Mill Location

Jay, Maine 04262


Maine paper industry - labor relations; International Paper Co – Jay Strike 1987-1988; corporate concessions 1980s; labor activism; labor relations - Scott Paper


Kellman was the most effective militant labor movement organizer in Maine from late 1970s until 2010s. The interview focuses on dramatic labor relations developments in Maine in the late 1980s, including his leadership of Jay workers in building a statewide social movement to attempt to win the 1987-1988 Jay Strike at International Paper. Kellman also details the impact of the strike on labor relations at Scott Paper (including two S.D. Warren mills) in Maine.


Learned civil rights movement organizing techniques. in the mid-1960s; these were applied in Jay, Maine in the 1980s. Played a part in radicalizing union locals in other Maine paper mills. He explains how this worked out in the Scott-S.D. Warren mills in Maine and a Scott Tissue plant in Winslow, Maine.

Kellman is profiled extensively in an excellent book on the Jay strike: Julius Getman, The Betrayal of Local 14 (Cornell, 1999). Also refer to his book, Divided We Fall: The Story of the Paperworkers' Union and the Future of Labor (Apex Press, 2004).

Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.