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The Benefits of Working for Eastern

This slideshow contains 8 items
1
The benefits of a union audio clip, Brewer, 2006

The benefits of a union audio clip, Brewer, 2006

Item 75276 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

By the beginning on the twentieth century the workers of the mill began to form trade unions.

In 1902 the Paper Makers Union, No. 82 of South Brewer was organized. By the following year the union had 20 members.

To join the union, workers needed one year of experience. Union employees worked 65 hours a week and received a minimum wage of no less than $1.05 a day.

The union continued to grow and by 1905 it became the International Brotherhood of Papermakers and had 62 members.

Phyllis Beaulieu recalled the union at Eastern and her opinions are mostly favorable.

She also mentions how the union changed after Eastern closed and reopened in 1968. Listen to what Phyllis had to say.


2
The pros and cons of the union at Eastern, Brewer, ca. 1974-2000

The pros and cons of the union at Eastern, Brewer, ca. 1974-2000

Item 75483 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

Many employees had mixed feelings towards the union. Some felt that the union protected workers who should have been fired but still helped employees earn fair wages in the mill.

Listen to Dola Hickley discuss what she felt were the pros and cons of the union at Eastern.


3
The end of profit sharing at Eastern, Brewer, ca. 1989-2004

The end of profit sharing at Eastern, Brewer, ca. 1989-2004

Item 75280 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

In the 1970s, after the mill reopened, the company instituted a profit-sharing program to bring the union back in.

This program allowed workers to feel like they had a bigger stake in the success of the mill. Unfortunately for later employees, the profit-sharing program was canceled soon after Joe Torras purchased the mill.

This change greatly upset the employees. Mike Woodbury describes his disappointment with this policy.


4
Eastern Fine pay stub, Brewer 1943

Eastern Fine pay stub, Brewer 1943

Item 75141 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

An 1899 report noted that the mill in Brewer had 400 employees who were paid an average of two dollars a day.

This pay stub shows a week's salary for Charles Mitchell in 1943. Note that Charles worked and was compensated for overtime hours.


5
Employee benefits at Eastern mill, Brewer, ca. 1949-2004

Employee benefits at Eastern mill, Brewer, ca. 1949-2004

Item 75470 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

Phyllis Beaulieu recalls the benefits she received working at the mill.

She recalls living comfortably, health insurance, and retirement.

These were all formal benefits that Eastern provided for their workers.

Listen to Phyllis explain these perks.


6
Eastern sponsored softball team, Brewer, 1936

Eastern sponsored softball team, Brewer, 1936

Item 75143 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

Not only did the mill offer fair wages and benefits, it also offered recreational benefits for its employees.

By 1919 Eastern had created an athletic association that provided entertainment and social activities for workers.

During the twentieth century the mill had a bowling, softball, and basketball team. Some of the employees were recruited to play in a national tournament in Chicago in 1938.

These activities helped foster a sense of unity amongst employees.


7
Reading room at Eastern Fine, Brewer, 1919

Reading room at Eastern Fine, Brewer, 1919

Item 75142 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

Eastern Fine Paper, besides having a union to help employees, also provided several other benefits for their employees.

By 1919 Eastern added a reading room to the property that provided a place for employees to socialize.

This space allowed employees to get to know each other and create personal connections.


8
Employees helping each other at Eastern, Brewer, ca. 1959-1966

Employees helping each other at Eastern, Brewer, ca. 1959-1966

Item 75474 info
Maine Folklife Center, Univ. of Maine

Employees sometimes helped one another, contributing to the sense of family that was shared in the mill.

Unfortunately, the employees of Eastern lost all of these benefits when the mill closed.

Listen to Arthur Verow recall how workers helped each other.


This slideshow contains 8 items