Baker City, Oregon
John Dwyer Maxwell, a plaintiff in the successful United Steelworkers 1988 unfair labor practices lawsuit against Oregon Steel, died May 11, 2004 of complications from AIDS. A resident of Baker City at the time of his death, he was 56.
There will be a wake and gathering at 10:00 am on June 5, 2004 at the Longshoreman’s Meeting Hall, 2435 NW Front St. in Portland.
A native Oregonian, Maxwell was born in Grants Pass, February 13, 1948. He was the youngest son of Robert Douglas Maxwell, a logger and long time Oregon lumberman, and Catherine Winifred Dwyer Maxwell.
Following his graduation from Plankinton, SD High School, Maxwell became a journeyman millwright under the apprentice program at Oregon Steel in Portland. He worked for Oregon Steel from 1969 until 1983 when two bargaining units, locals 6380 and 3010 of the United Steelworkers Union, struck.
In 1984 Maxwell and other strikers offered to end the strike and return to work. By 1985, after a decertification vote by the contract and temporary replacement workers, Maxwell was one of those dropped from the rehiring list. On behalf of Maxwell and other shut out workers, the Union filed an unfair labor practices suit with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Oregon Steel. The NLRB found in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered reinstatement and back pay. Oregon Steel appealed. The final ruling in 1995 upheld the NLRB findings. At that time, Maxwell was one of five remaining plaintiffs.
While the legal battle continued he worked at Precision Cast Parts in Portland and in the construction of Denver International Airport.
Maxwell was skilled in his trade and spent leisure time repairing equipment and devising original solutions for ordinary problems. He was an outdoorsman, enjoyed fishing and was most content when near his beloved mountains. His grin, and dry humor endeared him to friends and family, while his unique perspectives often challenged people’s views. Maxwell was admired for his independence and near the end of his life attained a peace his earlier years lacked.
Survivors include biological children, Katherine Marie Bailey, Portland and Todd Anthony Bailey, Gilbert, AZ; step-daughter, Julie Thompson, Milwaukie; sisters, Alexsandra Stewart, Portland, Teresa Kelly and her spouse, Charles, Detroit, MI, Anne Keefe, Omaha, NE; brother, Douglas, Denver, CO; five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. His parents and biological son, Shane Patrick Adams, preceded him in death.
Arrangements were by Eastern Oregon Pioneer Crematory.
Memorials are requested to the Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living, Ontario, Oregon or the Cascade Aids Project, Portland.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, May 21, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor