On February 24, 1988, Penobscot Poultry--Maine's last broiler processing plant--closed its doors, bringing an end to a once productive and nationally competitive agribusiness. Located in the coastal community of Belfast (pop. 6,200), Penobscot Poultry for many years was the single largest employer in Waldo County, and its demise left nearly 1,000 people without jobs. Already suffering from high unemployment, Belfast had little to offer by way of alternate jobs for these workers.

Penobscot's demise is not an isolated incident but part of a larger trend of industrial decline affecting all regions of the country. Most often explored in economic terms, deindustrialization is rarely considered in terms of the human, social costs. Our project examines this important social and economic phenomenon on the local and individual level, focusing on the closing of Penobscot and its effect on one worker, Linda Lord.

A twenty-year veteran of the plant, Linda Lord had spent fifteen of those years working in "the blood tunnel," where she hand-slaughtered the chickens missed by the automatic neck-cutting

device--a job held by few women. In a work-related accident she lost the sight of her right eye and fought hard for a settlement. In 1984, she joined a strike for higher wages and better benefits. She was 38 when the plant closed. Single and self-supporting, her goal was to remain and find work in the Belfast area, to be near her family and tend to her elderly parents.

The following interview was conducted by Stephen Cole (SC) and Cedric Chatterley (CC) with Linda Lord (LL) at Callagher's Restaurant, in Brooks, Maine, in March 1988, not long after the plant closed. The excerpts have been edited lightly for clarification.

SC: Linda, were you born in Brooks?

LL: Na, I was born up in Waterville at The Old Sister's Hospital. But I've always lived here in Brooks . . . . After high school I went right into the hospital for an operation, and I wasn't supposed to work for a year; and come September, I got edgy and I started working a short time over at the [Unity] hatchery before I

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