Franco-American Collection

Marcel Cloutier

"The first mill I ever worked in went on strike twice in four years, and really for nothing, because we went back - and if you're out for two weeks on strike and you end up getting two cents an hour more...it takes you a hundred years to make up those two weeks...I worked there for seven years [and] six months later they sold the company because...every time they tried to do something, the union would step in...it's a big hassle."

Marcel Cloutier was born (1939) and raised in Brunswick, Maine.  Three generations of his family occupied the same house and his parents and grandparents all worked in the Cabot Mill in Brunswick.  When that closed in 1954, the family relocated to Thomaston, Mass.  Despite his father's wishes, Marcel left school at fifteen and went to work in a textile mill there.  After numerous positions in Massacusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Marcel returned to Maine.  At the time of the interview, in 1994, he was employed as a supervisor at the Bates Mill, in Lewiston, during the last decade of the Bates Manufacturing Company's operations in Lewiston.

This intervew, recorded by Rosa Hamilton and Julie Hardacker, April 8, 1994, described Cloutier's work history, his reflections on the changing nature of the textile industry, and his attitude towards labor unions.

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