"General's period" 1920 - 1940
Workers' unionisation and political activity brought about a change in the old system of control and management. After the civil war, caring for factory communities took on different forms. Worker numbers had grown so large that company welfare systems replaced the paternalistic employer - employee relationship. The politically reliable workforce was bonded ever more closely to common goals with the companies.
In United factory villages and towns, civil guard activity, works sporting events and the home ownership ideal were means through which the labour force was stabilised to stay loyal to the employer. The care extended to the workers' families, and thence deeper into surrounding society. United's first Managing Director, General Rudolf Walden, considered caring for the community it had created to be the duty of the company.
Factory communities had grown self-sufficient in many ways, and they also wanted financial independence. Many paper villages became independent of their parishes in the 1920s. By forming their own municipalities and parishes, they could set a lower tax rate and use the tax revenues to benefit their own community. Independence further increased the importance of manufacturing companies in communal decision-making.
Jämsänkoski municipality is created with the help of the company
In Jämsä, differences of opinion in distribution of municipal taxes brought about establishment of Jämsänkoski parish and local authority. Due to the tax disputes, General Walden was very embittered towards Jämsä landowners. The municipal services of Jämsä were based in Seppola, and the majority on the local council was held by farmers. The special needs of the young mill community were not considered enough. Emancipation began with an initiative of setting up its own parish, with United Paper Mills taking a very active part. Superintendent Roope Hormi organised collection of a petition, the signatories of which were in favour of setting up their own parish. The company promised to pay the priest's wages for ten years and to donate the cash for building a church and a cemetery.
Jämsänkoski parish became operational in May 1925. The municipality of Jämsänkoski was established from the start of 1926. The first municipal council was appointed without elections. Foundryman Kalle Seppänen was appointed Chairman of the Council, and the company's transport manager August Björkqvist as Deputy Chairman. Chairman of the municipal committee was the factory Superintendent Gustaf Lindblad, and from 1926 Superintendent Veli Byström. The municipal office was in the factory office. The first church was the assembly hall owned by the company, and a company personnel apartment served as a temporary vicarage.
Relations between the company and local authority in the 1930s
In the period between the wars, political power in localities with a single factory was lodged with municipal authorities, but resources and potential for action with manufacturing companies. The mill superintendent was still the most influential person in the locality, and his view carried weight in decision-making. Political cleansing began in many factory villages and towns in the early 1930s. As well as in Jämsänkoski, this 'whitening' took place e.g. in Nokia, Valkeakoski and Kemi.
Before the local elections in 1930, the management of Jämsänkoski mill ensured through their pressure that only persons approved by the company became candidates. Although the company visibly supported the Lapua movement, the invasion of Jyväskylä, the instigators of which were the civil guard of Jämsä and Jämsänkoski led by Superintendent Veli Byström, was a step too far which General Walden did not approve. He also quashed rumours that the company had financed anti-government activity. The company built impressive assembly halls in Jämsänkoski and Myllykoski as meeting places for bourgois organisations. Ilveslinna was completed in 1937 and also housed Jämsänkoski Council offices.
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Museum24>At work>Forest industry>People at work>Factory and community >"General's period" 1920 - 1940
"General's period" 1920 - 1940