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Shredding PaperThe Rise and Fall of Maine's Mighty Paper Industry$
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Michael G. Hillard

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501753152

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501753152.001.0001

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The Paradoxes of Paper Mill Employment

The Paradoxes of Paper Mill Employment

(p.46) 2 The Paradoxes of Paper Mill Employment
Shredding Paper

Michael G. Hillard

Cornell University Press

This chapter depicts and unpacks the nature of production and work, the special skill profile that made paper mills distinct if not unique, and how over time owners and workers forged a mutually acceptable paternalism. It describes paternalism as the glue that made Maine's paper mills both successful businesses and durable communities during the paper industry's halcyon years from the late nineteenth century through the 1970s. It also looks at the situation in the S. D. Warren Company to understand the critical role of skill and the paradox of suffering and success that marked the paper workers' lives. The chapter highlights that paper mill work delivered high wages and benefits, and offered remarkable jobs and economic security with few parallels in Maine's generally lower-wage, blue-collar sectors. It reveals how the lives of paper mill workers demonstrate the crucial place of skills, craft pride, and membership in a high-status industrial community.

Keywords:   paper mills, paternalism, Maine, paper industry, paper workers, blue-collar sectors, industrial community

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