Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Greg Beam

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 197


Charles J. “Chick” O’Leary was born January 25, 1937 in Bangor, Maine. His parents were Charles, Sr. and Doris (Foley) O’Leary. He was childhood friends with William S. “Bill” Cohen; they played ball together. He attended John Bapst high school and started college at St. Michael’s, then took a year off to work on an oil rig and completed his studies at the University of Maine, Orono, receiving a master’s in History. He taught at Winslow High School then went to Beirut on a Fulbright grant. He later was hired by Ben Dorsky to help with the Standard Paper strike, then succeeded Roger Snow as Director of Labor Education at UMO. He was elected president of AFL-CIO in 1979.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: community history of Bangor; labor issues; growth of organized labor in Maine in the 1930s; work experience program with Charlie Micoleau; Ben Dorsky; Mike Schoonjans; Denny Blais; AFL-CIO; International Paper (IP) strike; interviews with labor leaders in the New England Folklore Archives; and environmental protection.

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.