In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

There were years when it was fun to go to work at the paper mill

There were years when it was fun to go to work at the paper mill

A story by Bruce Dyke from 1960-2017

I worked for International Paper at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay for 39 years. We had a system of training by apprenticeship and you could work your way up. The job had great benefits and paid well, but there have been a lot of changes.

I worked my way up to Machine Tender at the Androscoggin Mill from 1960-1999. For a guy like me with a high school education, it was a great job and a good place to work and bring up my family. Shift work was hard, but we were all friends and had fun. I was a strong Union supporter, and it helped us in bargaining to keep our good jobs.

It's sad to see what's happened to the paper industry. It's an awful change compared to what we were all brought up with. Computers have eaten up a lot of paper. There are new mills being built, some paper companies have adapted, and smaller entrepreneurs are taking the place of the mills.