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Date of Interview

9-13-2000

Duration of Audio File

Audio file #1 00:49:20

Interviewee

Arthur Gordon

Gender

Male

Residence

Westbrook, Maine

Occupation/ Work History

Employed at S.D. Warren Company from 1950-1986. Worked in the finishing department running an automatic paper (reams) of paper. Was a member of United Paperworkers International Union Local 1069 leadership. Was a political organizer both in Local 1069 and in Maine state politics, including one term in the Maine State Senate.

Role

Union

Mill or Principal Employer

S. D. Warren

Mill Location

Westbrook, Maine 04092

Keywords

Paper mills - Maine, Sappi Paper - History, S.D.Warren - Maine

Abstract

Gordon successfully led a union effort to remake Westbrook from a Republican city before unionization in 1967 to a Democratic city with union members as elected officials after 1967. He was elected to Maine State Senate in early 1970s. Helped create and lead a statewide organization for injured workers. Was a leader of the UPIU Local 1069 from the late 1960s until his retirement.

Comments

Gordon was a lifelong Democratic Party activist in Westbrook. Before S.D. Warren unionized in 1967, company officials had the power and influence to keep its local and state representatives predominantly Republican. Gordon spearhead a successful effort to overturn this, including increased voter registration and recruitment of union members to run for local and state office. He worked statewide on behalf of injured workers and helped bring to fruition pro-labor legislation over many decades. He was UPIU Local 1069 President Marv Ewing's key strategist. The interview recounts many memorable experiences as a finishing department worker, include the difficulties of shift work, intricacies of paper wrapping machine. Colorful account of worker resistance to management, and he describes how the quality of management at Warren declined as more managers came to the mill from outside rather than coming up through the ranks.

Document Type

Interview

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Article Location

 
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