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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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Memory, Enterprise Consciousness, and Historical Perspective among Maine’s Paper Workers

Memory, Enterprise Consciousness, and Historical Perspective among Maine’s Paper Workers

Chapter:
(p.201) 8 Memory, Enterprise Consciousness, and Historical Perspective among Maine’s Paper Workers
Source:
Shredding Paper
Author(s):

Michael G. Hillard

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501753152.003.0009

This chapter recounts how Maine's once-great mills lost jobs as the 1990s and 2000s wore on, and demonstrates how frequent layoffs hollowed out once-great institutions and ways of life. It mentions the historic Westbrook Mill, which contracted from over two thousand jobs to only several hundred in the early 2000s and the Great Northern Paper Company's employment at three mills, which shrank by two-thirds over the same period. It also talks about historic mills that hung on after 2000 as private equity companies swooped in and bought the mills using highly leveraged sources of credit. The chapter cites the well-established influx of paper imports from advanced mills subsidized by governments and the shrinking markets for publication papers as the digital reading became widespread. It elaborates how the loss of the well-paid source of rural employment sparked a progressive depopulation of rural towns in Maine.

Keywords:   Maine, private equity companies, layoffs, paper imports, paper mills, digital reading, depopulation

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