Professor of Economics Michael Hillard actively participates in economic public policy debates on issues affecting Maine working people, including frequent testimony to the Maine legislature, working with Maine labor movement activists through participation in events such as the 2011 Occupy Maine in Portland and the Occupy Maine Panel Discussion and Info Session by Leadership Development Board at USM.
Since 2000, Professor Hillard has conducted more than 100 oral history interviews with workers, community members, managers, union leaders, and public figures as part of his research investigating the business, labor, and social history of Maine’s storied paper and woodcutting industries. He has written and published numerous articles about the history of paternalism at Westbrook, Maine’s S.D. Warren Mill, the dramatic and historically significant strikes at Frasier Paper in Madawaska, Maine, and the entire state’s logging industry including the impact of the industry’s decline on Maine workers and communities. He is currently completing a book encompassing this work entitled The Rise and Fall of the Paper Plantation, with an expected publication date in 2015.