Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 312


Marvin W. Ewing was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on April 4, 1935. His parents were Melinda and Harold Ewing. His mother was a housewife and later nurse, and his father was a telephone line worker. The family moved to New Jersey when he was young so his father could work in a defense plant. His father died in 1945, when Marvin was ten. In 1951 his family moved to Maine, where he graduated from Standish High School. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1954, and was honorably discharged in 1958. He moved back to New Jersey in 1960 to work for the Peter J. Schweizer Paper Co., and became a union organizer. In 1966, he returned to Maine and settled in Westbrook, working for the S.D. Warren Paper Co. He organized the paper workers in Westbrook, and became a union leader, serving seven years as president of the local union. He was instrumental in merging the Westbrook Paper Union into the AFL-CIO, and served as vice president of the Maine AFL-CIO for four years. He also unsuccessfully ran for president of the Maine AFL-CIO against Charles O’Leary. He left S.D. Warren in 1979, and worked in Maine state government at the Bureau of Labor Standards.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: family history; Orange, New Jersey; Peter J. Schweizer Paper Mill; labor market in 1960; organizing workers at S.D. Warren; organization of the Maine AFL-CIO; Ben Dorsky; running for president of the Maine AFL-CIO; Bureau of Labor Standards; MSEA strike of 1979; campaigning with Mike Michaud in the 1970s; political influence of unions; Muskie campaigning at union functions; Ewing’s father-in-law’s union history (Bill Yankowski); the reaction of labor to Muskie’s stance on pollution; persuading union members to continue supporting Muskie; downfall of the S.D. Warren plant; paper companies seeking profits rather than re-investment; major issues of the unions; violent strikes in New Jersey; corporate greed; changes in campaigning over time; and grassroots campaigning at the union level.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.