The first half of Charles A. Scontras’ “Organized Labor in Maine: Twentieth Century Origins” highlights the development of unions in Maine at the turn of the twentieth century. Unions were battling to survive amid various obstacles, including a depression, resistance by employers and slow acceptance by workers.
The depression of the 1890’s had a negative effect on the newly forming unionized state of Maine. A sharp reduction in the work force led to membership plummeting.
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of the unions was feared by many.
Some companies made statements that showed fear of the unions. “We do not propose to be dictated to as to how we shall conduct our business or what men we shall hire,” said W.V. Trelfell, agent of the shop at Saco and Pettie Machine Company. David Parry, President of the National Association of Manufacturers told the association, “The greatest danger lies in the recognition of the union.”