Aupuni i La'au
      click on cover to order hardcopy   

Walter Kupau in an interview by Max Roffman for the 1981 Rice & Roses video, The Carpenters Union In Action produced by the Center for Labor Education & Research.

Copyright © Edward D. Beechert, 1993
Professor Emeritus, University of Hawai'i


NOTES RE: ONLINE VERSION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cite this work as: Aupuni i Lā'au: A History of Hawai'i's Carpenters Union Local 745 by Edward D. Beechert (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i, Center for Labor Education & Research, 1993).

It was first published in 1993 when the Center for Labor Education & Research was part of the College of Continuing Education and Community Service at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

In 1996 the Center was transferred to the University of Hawai'i - West O'ahu.

To order a hard copy of the original publication, click on the cover graphic above.

 

    Forward by William J. Puette
    Acknowledgments
  1. The Hawaiian Craftsman: 1778 1850
  2. The Plantation Period, 1850 1900
  3. The Labor Movement
  4. The Depression Decades, 1920-1930s
  5. World War II and the Postwar Period
  6. Local Autonomy and Maturity
  7. New Foes and New Problems: The 1980s
    Conclusion

    Appendices:

  1. Early Officers of Local 745

  2. First Master Building Trades Agreement 1960

  3. Hourly Wages and Fringes for Journeyman Carpenters UBCJ, Local 745 • Honolulu • 1960-1996

  4. Local 745 Membership, 1960 to 1991


FOREWORD

The history of the Hawaiian Labor Movement is a vital part of the history of Hawai'i. It is a rich history, replete with many unique patterns that overlay universal themes of solidarity and class struggle typical of union histories throughout the United States. Hawai'i's separateness geographically as well as its various geo-political identities over time, first as Kingdom, then Republic, then Territory and finally as State have stamped a character on its workers and their leaders quite unlike that of any other place.

Much of the attention given to Hawai'i's labor history has traditionally focused on sugar and pineapple workers and the early and massive organizing of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. As this study demonstrates, the birth and growth of Hawai'i's building trades is no less interesting. With the unprecedented development of Hawai'i's tourist industry that took place in 1960s, a state-wide construction boom followed that elevated the construction trades to one of Hawai'i's most significant social and political as well as economic forces.

In a time when the average union membership in the country has dipped to just 16% of the workforce, Hawai'i's unionization is the nation's highest at nearly 30%. Local 745 of the Carpenters' Union is the sixth largest union in the State of Hawai`i, and the largest local of its national union. Unlike most other locals across the United States, the jurisdiction of Local 745 encompasses the entire state, including six of the populated islands. More than anything else, though, the burgeoning size of this local is most attributable to the undaunted commitment of two of the island's greatest labor leaders, Stanley Yanagi and Walter Kupau.

Robert A. Christie's landmark history of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners national union clearly revealed that the Carpenters' Union has been at the center of the American labor movement in the United States since its beginnings in 1881. Local 745 has, likewise, been at the center of the trade union movement in Hawai'i since the founding of Hawai'i's Building and Construction Trades Council in 1953. Hawai'i's Carpenters have most often lead the way in construction organizing in the islands and, as a result, has most often borne the brunt of employer and media invective and acrimony.

Dr. Beechert's work fittingly takes its title Aupuni i Lā'au from the Hawaiian translation of Christie's classic study, Empire in Wood. His story of the Carpenters' Union in Hawai'i is comprehensive and revealing. Beginning with the earliest records of the conditions and status of carpenters in the islands he takes us through the long road Hawai`i's carpenters have travelled to their present day benefits and privileges. The greatest strength of this history is the way the author has examined the union's uniqueness, describing, for instance, its progressive role in creating a new racial tolerance at a time when the prevailing sentiment in the American Federation of Labor and the political climate of the country was opposed to Asian immigration, afraid of what was then perceived as the "Yellow Peril." Another key defining element in the success of Local 745 over the years has been its deep involvement in the community service. Solidly rooted in the local community, the Union has played an important role in the democratization of Hawai`i's politics first led by the late Jack Burns. More than anything else, though, this is the story of how a single union had the good fortune to benefit from the merits of two totally different leaders, and leadership styles. Both Yanagi and Kupau were uniquely suited to the challenges of their respective eras, and this is a compelling story of how the union flourished under each administration. In the past ten years, for instance, despite the national decline, Local 745 has nearly doubled its membership.

The details of this story are all the more impressive because of the scope of materials he has reviewed and accessed. As Christie observed back in the mid-1950's:

Leaders of national trade unions have only rarely opened their archives to the academic historian. This is easy to understand. No one group of men in the recent past and, to some extent, today have been so badly maligned and so little understood. They naturally shy away from the idea of strangers disturbing their files. Further they have so often in the past been harassed by both government and business that their fears have real substance.
The cooperation provided by the leadership of Local 745 is unique. While most Local unions have no archives at all, the Carpenters' have exercised uncommon care for and interest in historical preservation. Mr. Kupau has graciously permitted unrestricted access to his union files with no editorial strings attached.

Eminent labor historian, John T. Dunlop, observed that among the problems facing a building trades labor history are "the interactions and responsibilities of local and national levels of governance; the relations of individual members to their local and national organizations; the legislative and judicial systems within the unions; the conflicts among autonomous national unions in the Federation and the significance of jurisdiction." Dr. Beechert has given us a study that addresses these thorny questions and much more, and he has presented it in a highly readable, tightly focused manner.

William J. Puette
University of Hawai'i


ACKNOWLDGMENTS

The author and his publisher wish to express appreciation to the following persons and institutions for their help in providing support and access to the information and records included in this history: Local 745 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and joiners, especially Walter Kupau, Ron Taketa, Gordon Wong, Linda Watanabe, and Lorraine Kaneshiro; the national office of the UBCJA, especially James T. Patterson, General Secretary and Sandy Mangum; Sonja Tyau, librarian, and Constance Hastert, Director of Research at the Hawaii Employers Council; Ethel Miyachi formerly of the Hawai'i State AFL-CIO; Dr. Rubellite Johnson of the University of Hawai'i; carpenter Sueo Kawakami; Bessie Takeshita, former Local 745 secretary; Carl Levey, President of the Local 745 Pensioners; Robert K. Hasegawa, Director, and Dr. William J. Puette, Publications editor and Labor Historian, Center for Labor Education and Research at the University of Hawai'i.


 

PART I: The Hawaiian Craftsman
1778 1850

Pre contact Hawai'i

The transition of Hawai'i from the pre European period to western society was short and turbulent. From the death of Kamehameha in 1819 to 1850, the society of ancient Hawaii was transformed: the subsistence, community based economy was replaced with a system based upon private ownership of property and a system of wage labor. The few newspapers of the time are filled with accounts which indicate the turmoil and confusion accompanying the transformation.

The craftsman, so important in ancient Hawaii, was now converted into a worker, working for wages on specific jobs. The change was an important one. In ancient Hawaii, woodworking was dedicated to the support of the community house building, canoe building, the making of utensils, and the many things needed to maintain both the family and the community. Work under the old system was neither for wages nor personal gain. Now, under the western system, work would be performed only when ordered or paid, rather than to meet the needs of the community.

The builder of house frames or temple structures and the canoe builder were accorded a special place in Hawaiian society. Much of their work had a religious significance. Canoe building in particular was a highly spiritual task. An elaborate ceremony attended the preparation of the log prior to cutting. All of the preliminary work of trimming and rough hewing was conducted under the supervision of the kahuna. During the entire process of construction, the kahuna oversaw the work of the craftsmen to ensure that the canoe would have the strength to meet the force of the seas. House building was also closely controlled by spiritual rules. Each step was "largely decided by incantation." 1

After Contact

The earliest European visitors noted that the Hawaiians were quick to adopt European tools and procedures. Prior to the arrival of iron tools, the basalt adze and shell scrapers were the principal woodworking tools. Hawaiian craftsmen took to the European metal adze with enthusiasm, and soon adapted this tool to their own specifications. Finding the European tool too heavy to their liking, they bent the blade of a wood plane and tied it to a handle of light wood. One early observer noted that the Hawaiian house builder frequently preferred to use the adze rather than a saw or chisel.2 Vancouver's journal tells about the Hawaiian who came aboard ship and asked the ship's blacksmith how the iron fittings of the ship were made. A day or two after the blacksmith had demonstrated the forge, Vancouver saw the Hawaiian on the beach with a forge made of coral blocks, fanning the charcoal and shaping a piece of red hot iron.

Early accounts of the period before 1850 show the Hawaiian providing the various craft skills needed in the community. perhaps the best evidence of this are the complaints registered in the newspapers about the wage demands of these early workers. As early as 1826, the missionaries were voicing loud complaints about what they termed the "Labor Problem." Very simply, this so called problem was that the Hawaiians refused to work for low wages. This refusal to work cheap resulted in the creation of the myth of the "lazy, shiftless" worker. "Rather than analyze their failure in terms of the relevant commercial factors, many Europeans preferred to blame everything on the laziness, stupidity and obstinacy of the islanders."3 The complaints about wages and the quality of work largely reflected the confusion in the rapidly changing society. The transition from a communal self sufficient society to one based upon imported goods and wage labor was both swift and difficult.

The monthly newspaper, The Friend (1844), commented on the high cost of house building, particularly when made of wood. The newspaper reported that many people were forced to build in stone or brick, rather than the more popular wood, because of the high cost. Wages were reported to have reached $2.00 per day for carpenters at Kealakekua. A house in Honolulu cost $200 when built of stone and more than $500 in wood.4 The difference in price suggests that the problem was one of the high cost of imported building materials rather than one of local wages.

One newspaper complaining about the difficulty in hiring labor lamented that:

We see large numbers [of Hawaiians] standing around all day idle, simply for the reason that they demand more than they are worth. We have housekeepers who are driven to the necessity of serving themselves on account of the unreasonable price of the native.5
A letter to the editor summed up the problem with a radical suggestion: If the people wanted "native" labor, he said, "I see no help for it but an increase in wages."6

The reluctance of the Hawaiian worker to accept low wages was accompanied by a drastic decline in the Hawaiian population between 1825 and 1850. This decline, brought on by European diseases, magnified the supposed labor shortage.

Their numbers, combined with the strong preference of the Hawaiians for working on their own land in the traditional manner or going to sea on one of the many merchants ships calling at Hawaii tended to make the so called labor shortage seem more serious than the facts warranted. The demand for reasonable wages did not square with the ambitions of the haole7 promoters anxious to develop the land and build commercial empires. If economic development were to take place, they argued, large numbers of workers would have to be imported into Hawai'i. It was the drive for development that was behind the argument about the "unsuitability" of the Hawaiian worker.

Between 1830 and 1850, the Hawaiian chiefs and their missionary advisors made several attempts to force the Hawaiian commoner to work for wages that employers deemed reasonable. The first effort was a law which proclaimed that "laboring for wages" was to replace the traditional Hawaiian concept of working for family welfare and the community. The law of 1842 contained a "vagrancy" clause, modeled on mainland concepts. Men without specific jobs or place of work, or who were registered as farmers, were to be arrested and put to work by the sheriff, who would keep one third of any wages earned. An attempt was made to prevent Hawaiian sailors from signing on ships without permission from the government.

An earlier proposal in 1836 would have turned over to the missionaries the training of Hawaiians who were to be taught various manufacturing skills, agriculture, and crafts all with a view to converting the Hawaiian into a modern wage earner. This plan was blocked by the governing board of the American Board of Foreign Missions as being outside their major interest. Others in the community, however, had equally ambitious plans to develop the Hawaiian economy either with the Hawaiian as worker or with whatever workers could be obtained. Labor was seen as the essential key to the accumulation of wealth.

NOTES:

  1. David Malo, Hawaiian Antiquities (Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1951) 113.
  2. William Ellis, Journal of William Ellis (Honolulu: Hawaiian Gazette Co., Ltd., 1917) 322.
  3. Carolyn Ralston, "The Pattern of Race Relations in 19th Century Pacific Port Towns," The Journal of Pacific History, 6 (1971):45.
  4. The Friend (Honolulu), October 1844 (monthly).
  5. The Polynesian (Honolulu), October 1853 (monthly).
  6. Ibid., January 11, 1851 (weekly).
  7. A Hawaiian word meaning literally `foreigner'; in modern usage, however, it refers only to Caucasians.


 

PART II: The Plantation Period
1850 1900.

Masters and Servants

A major step was taken toward this goal in 1850. A provision for importing foreign labor was included in a new apprenticeship bill, the Masters and Servants Act. Based upon similar indentured labor laws, including those of New York and Massachusetts the Hawaiian law specifically provided for importing workers under a penal contract system. Workers would be required to complete their contracts under the penalty of indefinite jail terms until they complied. Contracts signed outside Hawaii could be for as long as ten years; contracts signed in Hawaii could be no more than five years. In practice, most contracts were for three, regardless of whether for Hawaiian or foreign workers.

In theory, the law bound the employer as well as the worker to the terms of the contract. Wages, board (usually), the type of work, the hours of work, and the length of service were specified. In reality, the records of the Hawaiian courts are filled with examples of the one sided justice which prevailed under this contract labor law. Few employers were ever held accountable. The main defense of the worker was to desert the contract and risk imprisonment.

In the first years of the law, Hawaiians were the principal signers of such contracts, covering a wide variety of occupations from seamstress, housekeeper, plantation worker to inter island seaman. In towns, most household servants were signed to such contracts.

Imported Labor

If plantations were to be developed on any scale, labor would have to be found and brought to Hawaii. In the 1850s, China was the most common source of laborers. Many countries imported thousands of Chinese to work under conditions little better than slavery. The sugar plantations and mines of Latin America were worked by such Chinese workers. The "coolie trade" was notorious for its brutality and extreme hardships. In 1856 Hawaii's small plantations turned to this source to recruit workers. The ambitions of the planters were larger than their plantations at this point and only a small number of Chinese were brought in to work alongside the indentured Hawaiian workers.

Of the many skills needed on the new plantations, carpentry was perhaps the most urgent. Mills, flumes, workers' housing, and bridges, all needed to constructed. Judging from the early plantation records, there were many Chinese carpenters included among these early arrivals. Other immigrants learned their craft on the job building the structures needed by the rapidly expanding plantations.As their numbers grew, many of the Chinese workers moved from the plantation to the urban areas of Hawaii to enter other occupations. By 1880, the numbers of Chinese workers in Honolulu had reached the point where some people began to see them as a threat to Hawaiian and Caucasian craft workers. These "white mechanics", as they were called, began to protest the competition from Chinese workers. Many of the racial stereotypes used against the Hawaiians to justify importing the Chinese workers, were now turned against the Chinese.8

The majority of Chinese leaving the plantations went into commercial activities, such as hack driving, peddling, laundries, and restaurants. A significant number went into the building trades. By 1880, Chinese building trades workers made up the majority of that work force in Honolulu.

It is difficult to know how many came via the plantation and how many came directly from China to work as painters, wood carvers, cabinet makers, and carpenters.

One of those who brought his skills directly to Honolulu was Tuck Leong Cheong who opened a carpenter shop specializing in commercial buildings and lacquer work.9 One young Chinese worker learned his trade as a carpenter in this shop. Lee Chu set up his own contracting business in 1891.

By 1896, Lee Chu was able to open a new, larger business, the Oahu Lumber and Building Company.

The Transformation of the Craft: The U.B.C.J.

While these changes were occurring in Hawaii, more drastic and far reaching changes were occurring in the trade on the mainland. Between 1880 and 1900, the carpenters' trade was radically altered. For centuries the skilled woodworker built his wooden structure from start to finish. The carpenter performed all of the tasks required to complete the building on the site. The advent of power machinery in the 1880's changed all of this. Off site mass production of many of the elements of the building, such as doors, windows, trim, moulding and cabinets, began to erode the skill level of the journeyman carpenter. Many of these tasks once performed by the carpenter were now reduced to the assembly and installation of the off site produced materials. Iron and steel structures and new masonry techniques dominated commercial construction, sharply reducing the amount of carpentry work available.

New materials and techniques began to erode the traditional job base of the carpenter. Sheet rock, reinforced concrete, and scaffolding, to name a few, fell outside the trade. The decade of the 1870s saw the appearance of the large corporation, with enormous resources. Labor fought a desperate battle in this decade, resisting the erosion of wages and working conditions.10 The scale of construction projects changed drastically.

Recognizing the threat posed by these circumstances, delegates from fourteen carpenters' unions met in Chicago on August 8, 1881 to form the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. The driving force behind the new organization was Peter J. McGuire. His message was simple: the unity of the working class was essential if the workers of America were to achieve a decent standard of living. With the new scale of building came the sub contractor. His arrival multiplied the difficulties for the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. The annual proceedings of the organization in this period are largely given over to discussions of how to deal with the myriad of sub contractors and where to focus the attention of the union and how to deal with the new skills and new products appearing in the construction industry.

Contractors were demanding that carpenters sign an agreement that specified "there shall be no limitation as to the amounts of work a man shall perform during the day."

There was to be no limitation on the use of materials, no union stewards were permitted on the job site, and employers were free to hire whomever they wished.11

As the city of Honolulu developed, many of these same problems appeared in Hawaii. The majority of carpenters in Hawaii, trained either in Asian methods of construction or on the plantation, were confronted equally with the sweeping changes in the building trades. The allied trades the plumber, the electrician, the cement worker, the metal worker, and, increasingly, the installer of off site produced materials were now important elements in commercial and home construction.

The period between the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 and the annexation of Hawaii to the United States in 1900 was a very confused and troubled time. Perceiving correctly that the sugar industry had been the inspiration behind the overthrow of the monarchy, the urban unions began to attack the sugar industry and their representatives as the source of the problems appearing in Hawai'i.

Racism

The steady flow of carpenters and building trades workers coming from the plantations to Honolulu disturbed an already unstable labor market. The business community, now in full control of the government, rapidly increased the flow of workers from Japan and China. Urban workers, observing the flow of new people into the plantations and the rapid increase in the numbers of ex plantation workers with whom they had to compete, began to attack the continued importation of workers. Newspapers in Honolulu, opposed to annexation for political reasons, began to write editorials attacking Asian workers. Exaggerated accounts of the supposed differences between "American" workers and Asian workers were a constant feature in the period between 1893 and 1900. Lurid descriptions of the "Asiatic Hordes, the "Oriental Menace," were frequent in the Honolulu press. Most of these accounts "explained" how the Asian worker could survive on a fraction of the income of the "American" or "native" worker; Asians needed "only a handful of rice".

Supposedly this explained the low wage structure and the reason why "American" workers must oppose the further importation of Asians. Borrowing and building on the strong anti Asian sentiments of the West Coast, many people outside the construction industry joined in the attack. This mainland prejudice became an argument in Hawaii for the need to satisfy Congress and conform to the Congressional views on Asia, lest they vote against annexation.

Citing American demands, politicians and organizations in Hawaii echoed the mainland demand to deport Asians and replace them with "European" workers, meaning largely Spanish or Portuguese. One newspaper, the Hawaiian Independent, featured stories of building projects in Hawaii which used Japanese or Chinese building trades workers, particularly if the project was one owned by a sugar planter or pro annexation politician.

In reality the struggle in Hawai'i was for political control and economic domination; the Asian worker was simply the excuse for that struggle. Unfortunately, the racist arguments used did much to divide the already weak urban work force. By disguising the political and economic struggle in racist terms, the Hawaiian workers were drastically weakened in their struggle to improve their wages, hours, and working conditions.

Annexation and the Union: 1900

When it came in 1900, annexation did not bring quite the results envisioned by the planters. Their goal of protecting the sugar of Hawaii by gaining permanent access to the American market was easily met. The importation of American laws and customs proved much more troublesome. No longer could the penal labor contract be used. The annexation resolution expressly outlawed the labor contract. Workers now had rights they were denied under the Kingdom and the Republic.

Annexation also focussed the attention of the mainland labor movement on Hawaii. This was a new jurisdiction, one that called for organizing. For some years, the maritime workers of Hawaii had been in touch with the mainland labor movement. Hilo and Honolulu longshoremen were early participants in the formation of the International Longshoremen's Association. Hawaii had long been a target of opposition from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) for the importation of Asian workers.

NOTES:

  1. The Friend (Honolulu), November 1, 1882 (weekly).
  2. Clarence E. Glick, Sojourners and Settlers: Chinese Migrants in Hawaii (Honolulu: Hawaii Chinese History Center and The University Press of Hawai'i, 198O) 86.
  3. Robert A. Christie, Empire in Wood: A History of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (New York: 1956) 80; Carl Reckman' "The Carpenter," in Andrew Zimbalist, ed., Case Studies in the Labor Process (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979) 92 93.
  4. Reckman, "The Carpenter'" 91.


     

    PART III: The Labor Movement

    Carpenters Local Union No. 1

    Bearing the stamp, "Carpenter's Local Union No. 1", the Honolulu carpenters opened their day book on July 25, 1901, with ten men listed as paying dues for June and July. Annexation was the stimulus. Now part of the United States, Honolulu carpenters were anxious to move into the mainstream. In that same year, the United States Commissioner of Labor described the local labor scene:

    In Honolulu skilled workmen, such as carpenters, plumbers, and machinists are well organized and their various labor unions are prosperous and influential. Because of the shortage of workers and the high profits [available to the contractors] the labor unions have usually been able to secure acquiescence on the part of the employers with the few demands they made for either increased wages or for shorter hours of labor without being compelled to resort to strikes.12
    In its report for 1901, the U.S. Labor Commission recorded 1,925 carpenters: 433 Hawaiians, 537 Caucasians, 334 Chinese, 619 Japanese, and two "others."13 There were seventeen carpentering establishments, employing 414 carpenters. Of the total, only 633 were classed as "native born". The remainder, 1,292, were born outside of Hawaii and reflected the in migration of workers brought on by the annexation boom. "Many building contractors are required by the rapid growth of the city and its extensive and expensive improvements."14 In those industries employing carpenters in 1901, only two excluded Asians: Honolulu Iron Works employed fourteen carpenters of whom seven were Hawaiian; and eight building contractors employed sixty seven carpenters, of whom thirty were described as Americans and fourteen as Hawaiian. Thus, despite the loud cries and efforts of the press and the craft unions, employment of carpenters was reasonably well spread among the ethnic groups. Oahu Railroad, for example, employed seventeen Japanese among its carpenters. The thirty eight plantations recorded a total of 517 Japanese carpenters out of a total of 633. There were only forty three Chinese carpenters, followed by the Portuguese with thirty eight.15 The number of Chinese would diminish steadily as the Chinese now fell under the U.S. exclusion statutes. It is clear that the plantations formed a great reservoir of carpenters who would move into urban building activities over the years.

    The steady flow of workers leaving the plantations provided both an opportunity and a problem for the building trades unions. Urban building was heavily concentrated in the few urban areas of Hawaii, simplifying labor organizing. The problem lay in the importation of the racist ideas of the mainland unions. The American Federation of Labor had rigid ideas about race. They segregated non Caucasians into separate locals and most Internationals had a "white only" clause in their constitution. The multi racial composition of Hawaii was not readily accepted by the mainland organizations, making it difficult for the Hawaii unions, particularly the carpenters, to extend their organization to include most of the working tradesmen. The flow of carpenters into the urban areas meant that the fledgling union would have to confront the issue of race soon if they were to have a major influence on the wages, hours, and working conditions.

    The momentary advantages gained by organized labor from the annexation boom were soon dissipated. The boom began to taper off in 1901 and collapsed in 1902. The sudden decline in building activities is seen in the fact that the Building Trades Council, organized in 1900 had ceased to exist in 1902.

    In November 1901, shortly after the Carpenters Union was organized, the sash and door industry of Honolulu, some thirteen firms, was struck for the eight hour day. They employed a total of 172 carpenters. After a four day strike, the firms conceded the eight hour day. What was remarkable about the victory was that there was approximately 20% unemployment among Hawaii's carpenters at that time.16

    Local 1 of the Carpenters' Union, which had reached a total of twenty dues paying members was down to eight carpenters paying dues in mid 1902.17 The matter was summed up by the Commissioner of Labor writing on conditions in the new U.S. territory:

    No attempt to organize labor into affiliation with those of the States appears to have been made in Hawaii until about the time of annexation. The journeymen plumbers are said to have been the first to form a union, followed by the carpenters, painters, machinists, electric fitters, and a number of other urban trades....For a time there was an association of the different trades called the Building Trades Council, which had technically ceased to exist in the autumn of 1901....The membership of the unions has declined rapidly.18
    Old Union Logo

    Hawai'i Joins The International

    In the fall of 1902, Hawai'i and Puerto Rico applied to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners for charters. After considerable debate, the convention admitted Hawai'i as Local 745 and granted her charter on October 15th. Although Puerto Rico had organized five locals prior to their application, they were turned down by the International. The two new island possessions were regarded with a great deal of suspicion by the leadership.

    The issue was the same in both cases: large non Caucasian populations. Hawaii being more distant and less well known and much the smaller of the two applicants was apparently able to overcome the problem. The Convention Report shows Hawaii with fourteen members in good standing. The Local's day book recorded thirty seven members. Apparently the International counted only those on the books prior to application and did not count the twenty one initiated subsequently.

    For many years, in fact, Hawaii would remain distant from the International. It would not be until 1950 that Hawaii would send a delegate to the biennial convention. Other than per capita payments and occasional correspondence about pensions and compensation for injured members, there was little contact.

    The Panic of 1907

    The collapse of the annexation boom was followed by the onset of a serious depression on the mainland which culminated in the Panic of 1907. The local's membership was slow to recover the numbers of the first years. Climbing from twenty members in 1905, the union grew slowly until it had reached seventy four members in 1913. Despite the prosperity induced by World War I, the local did not benefit greatly from the military build up. Membership fluctuated between twenty and thirty dues paying members. Conditions were not much better for the other craft unions, with the exception of the metal trades centered at Pearl Harbor. The A.F. of L. locals managed to keep their charters and accomplished little more.

    Local 745's record books show that the local shared its meeting places with other unions. In 1910, the Boilermakers and the Moulders unions met at the Carpenters' Hall. Later, in 1913, the Typographers, the Steel and Iron Workers, the Plumbers, and the Machinists were all using the Hall on a regular basis. Non trade union groups also rented the Hall. The Industrial Workers of the World held meetings there in 1911. For three years during that era, the Socialist Party of Hawaii used the Hall for meetings and lectures.

    Hawaii maintained contact with the mainland union world. Small donations were sent in response to appeals from the mainland. In 1911 they contributed $10 to the defense fund of the McNamara Brothers in the famous LOS ANGELES TIMES bombing case. Garment workers in New York and coal miners in Illinois also received small contributions for their strike funds.

    Racial Tensions

    The worsening economic situation after 1905 produced increasing conflict and tension in Hawaii. The rapid expansion of the sugar industry and the consequently large numbers of Japanese workers being brought into Hawaii aroused intense opposition in the Honolulu community. As the numbers increased on the plantations, the flow of carpenters into the local building industry quickened. The craft unions made much of the fact that the number of haole (white) carpenters employed in Honolulu shops had declined from fifty three in 1900 to only twenty seven in 1905. Many of the members of Local 745 were working at less than the union rate. Not more than a dozen members in that year were able to work at the union rate.19

    Reflecting the bias of the parent mainland organizations, the Hawaii craft unions steadily refused to admit Japanese to their ranks. Matters were not helped by the fact that the media and the sugar planters had launched a vicious campaign of slander against the Japanese. Their frequent cries about the imminence of a "Japanese take over" created an impression of more serious racial strife than was actually the case.

    The planters had a motive in their attacks on the Japanese. Finding the Japanese too well organized for their liking, the planters had tried to supplant the Japanese with Chinese "coolie labor". Perceiving that the Japanese had the capability to organize and to demand better wages and working conditions, they sought to create a surplus of plantation labor by importing Chinese. Counting on their great political influence and economic strength, they expected to be able to persuade Congress to permit them to import Chinese workers after annexation. To this end, they joined in the chorus of anti Japanese sentiments so frequently found in the Honolulu newspapers, hoping to frighten Congress into bending the Chinese Exclusion Law to avert the "Japanese take over."

    The economic instability of the time made the workers vulnerable to the racist argument of the politicians and the sugar planters. It was not unusual to find statements such as the following in the daily press:

    The Japanese are undoubtedly making some inroads into fields of employment that have hitherto been reserved for white mechanics. They monopolize all the work for their countrymen and are employed exclusively by one or two white contractors for building residences.20
    The notion that certain types of employment were reserved for Caucasians was fairly common on the mainland. Most A.F. of L. unions had "Caucasian only" clauses in their charters. The Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners was typical in this respect. Each of the biennial conventions from 1902 to 1920 adopted resolutions attacking Chinese, Japanese, and Korean labor. Each convention endorsed resolutions calling for the expulsion of all Asian workers. Hawaii was seen as a special problem. A resolution submitted in 1906 by the Japanese and Korean Exclusion League was typical of these actions.
    Whereas the systematic colonization of these oriental races of our insular territory in the Pacific, and the threatened and partly accomplished extension of that system to the Pacific Coast and other western localities constitutes a standing danger, not only to the domestic peace, but to the continuance of friendly relations between the nations concerned....
    The resolution asked that the Chinese Exclusion Act be amended to include both Japanese and Koreans.21 The motion carried unanimously.

    Very early in the history of the Hawai'i local, the problem of race was forcibly brought to the attention of the local leadership by Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor. Told that the union in Hawaii had signed a petition urging Congress to permit the importation of Chinese workers to Hawai'i, he demanded of the leadership of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners that they reverse this action. Frank Duffy, Secretary of the International wrote to Fred Sackwitz, the local recording secretary, asking for an explanation. Sackwitz replied that the local had indeed urged an amendment to the Chinese Exclusion Act and had endorsed the importation of Chinese labor in order to relieve the plantation labor situation at the request of the community business leaders. He explained to Duffy that the local's experience with Asian workers indicated that they made good union members and their admission would strengthen the nation's labor movement.22

    What the recording secretary did not explain in his letter to Duffy was what the union hoped to gain from the effort to import Chinese workers the inclusion of labor unions in the councils of government. Territorial Governor George Carter had formed a commission to report on the problem of Chinese labor. Three members of the newly organized Trades and Labor Council of Honolulu were selected to serve. This selection was intended to neutralize any opposition among organized labor to the importation of Chinese workers. At that time the Council had seven affiliates with approximately one hundred members.23 The subsequent report of the committee was rejected by the Labor Council and the effort collapsed.

    The long continuing effort of the plantations to import Chinese labor after annexation kept the controversy alive. More and more, Japanese workers became the focal point of the effort. The attitude of the Japanese government made it clearly impossible to import any more workers from Japan. In addition, the Root Takahara agreement sharply limited further Japanese immigration. In effect, after 1907, only brides, students, and business men could receive a visa to come to the United States. The planters had two worries. Between 1900 and 1905, there was a massive exodus of Chinese workers from Hawai'i. Although the Japanese made up the preponderance of the work force, they, too, were steadily leaving the plantation to go to the mainland and into urban occupations. The planters could easily imagine a time not too distant when they would be faced with a labor shortage. Historically, the plantations had arranged to maintain a surplus of workers as a means of controlling wages. Should a shortage develop, the impact on wages would be disastrous, in their view. Most of organized labor in Hawai'i did not share the enlightened view of the Carpenters that their Asian fellow workers would make good union members. The bias against Asians that was so pronounced on the mainland continued to prevail against the planters' efforts to maintain their labor surplus.

    Despite these attitudes and the refusal to admit Japanese to membership, the craft unions nonetheless had a sense of labor solidarity that enabled them to identify with the struggle of the Japanese plantation workers to improve their miserable condition. In the bitter strike of 1909 by the Japanese plantation workers, the U.S. Labor Commissioner reported that :

    The white trade unions in Honolulu seemed rather to sympathize with the Japanese in the purposes of their strike and to consider their demands of equal pay for equal work a just one, but there is no relaxation of the fixed disapproval with which white workers in general in Hawaii regard all oriental labor.24
    Tradition has it that the craft unions in Hawai'i were exclusively haole and strongly opposed to any Asian or other race joining the union. The membership rolls reveal the facts. The first day book of the union listed primarily haole names, with a few Hawaiian names. The first recording secretary was apparently a Hawaiian by the name of S. K. Nawaa, who served in that position for several years. Another Hawaiian name appearing for over ten years was James Hapenuia, who sometimes appeared as "Happynewyear." By mid 1903, Portuguese names began to appear: Machado, Perreira, Souza, Freitas, and Carvalho.

    The day books for the next few years show a repeating pattern: a steady influx of Hawaiian and Portuguese names in the membership. There is also a steady attrition of these names for non payment of dues. This reflects the fact that there were few union mills or establishments in Honolulu. There is a steady shifting of names on the rolls as new members are initiated and then dropped for non payment of dues, sometimes within two months.

    The shifting of membership continued through 1919. In November, 1919, a significant event occurred. The list of new initiates included the name Yuen Kon Lai, the first clearly identifiable Chinese name. It is very likely that some of the earlier members were part Chinese, part Hawaiian. Names such as Eddie Sui indicate this probability. In February, 1920, using names as the sole criterion, there appears to have been thirteen Chinese, fifteen Hawaiians, eleven Portuguese, and one Filipino among the 200 plus members listed that month. In March, when twenty five new members were inducted, Koichi Iwamoto joined, along with eight Hawaiians, six Portuguese, and one Chinese. Although Chinese names continued to appear, the next Japanese name was not recorded until 1927 when Toshi Tasaki was enrolled as a member. By the early 1930's, Japanese carpenters began to join the local in significant numbers.

    NOTES:

    1. U.S. Bureau of Labor, Report of the Commissioner of Labor on Hawaii: 1901 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 19O2) 21.
    2. Ibid., 85.
    3. Ibid., 15.
    4. Ibid., 138; The Independent (Honolulu), April 6, 1897, June 8, 1897 (daily).
    5. U.S. Bureau of Labor, Report, 19Ol, 89, 113.
    6. U.S. Bureau of Labor, Report of the Commissioner of Labor on Hawaii: 1902 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1903) 112; Hawaii Carpenters Union, Day Book #1, 1902, passim.
    7. Bureau of Labor, Report, 1902, 112.
    8. U.S. Bureau of Labor, Third Report of the Commissioner of Labor on Hawaii: 19O5 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1906) 29; Hawaii Carpenters Union, Day Book # , reports an average of twenty paying monthly dues in 1905. The Trades and Labor Council of Honolulu was made of six unions in 1905: blacksmiths, boilermakers, carpenters, hackmen, plumbers, and sailors. The carpenters, with forty two members, was the largest of the group.
    9. U.S. Bureau of Labor, Report, l902, 1O2.
    10. United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Proceedings of the 14th Annual Convention (Indianapolis, 1906) 65, 305 307
    11. Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Movement 3:275.
    12. John Reinecke, Feigned Necessity (San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, Inc., 1979) 65.
    13. U.S. Bureau of Labor, Report of the Commissioner of Labor on Hawaii: 191O (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1911) 98.


     

    PART IV: The Depression Decades
    1920-1930s

    Troubled Times

    The decade of the 1920s has a number of historical names: The Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and the Golden Decade. On the whole, this was a mixed period, prosperous for some, depressed for others. For the construction industry, it was not a good period. The national economic decline which began in 1921 seriously affected the building trades and, by 1926, construction was in a serious depression. Home building was particularly hard hit. These national conditions were reflected in Hawai'i. Although sugar remained strong, thanks to the protective tariff, Hawai'i's population was not growing and the urban unions were seriously affected.

    The decade began with a massive labor dispute. The Japanese and Filipino workers pressed by the rapid inflation resulting from World War I demanded a wage increase. Despite massive war time profits, the industry refused and a six month strike ensued. The carpenter's union had started the decade in an ambitious fashion, participating in a new labor newspaper, The Labor Review. Unfortunately, the newspaper did not survive the year. The local paid an assessment of $47.50, reflecting a membership of 150. The local also contributed to the strike funds of both the Japanese and Filipino sugar strikers. A special contribution was made to the legal defense fund of the Filipino labor leader, Pablo Manlapit in 1925 as well as to the relief fund of the 1924 Filipino strikers.

    The local attracted the attention of the Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice in 1921. This bureau, the predecessor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) reported that the Honolulu local was on the point of admitting Japanese to the union. The report was carried in their weekly roundup of intelligence reports from the Western United States.25 The surveillance of the Japanese was part of a general campaign mounted by the Bureau against immigrants, radicals, and labor organizations in the hysteria which swept the United States following World War I.

    The Office of Naval Intelligence in Hawaii was one source of information on local Japanese, as was the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association. The campaign launched in 1921 by the sugar industry to import Chinese workers was accompanied by hysterical news stories about the threat to Hawai'i's independence by the Japanese and Japan. In 1926 the Office of Naval Intelligence reported that the carpenter's union was admitting Japanese members. The racist attitudes spawned in this period would come back to cause trouble for labor again and again before Hawaiian labor closed ranks against racist arguments.

    The unstable times of the 1920's decade was difficult for organized labor. Nationally, labor unions lost membership steadily in the face of both unstable economic conditions and a persistent anti union campaign carried on by the nation's employers. Local 745 was confronted with a steady stream of carpenters coming off the plantations and a depressed construction industry. The Local steadily initiated new members. Just as steadily the Local lost new members who were unable to maintain their dues payments. Even though many failed to maintain union membership, many carpenters had an introduction to union principles. When circumstances changed, many of these lapsed members rejoined. Considering the general decline in union membership nationwide in this decade, the record of Local 745 was a good one.

    The general atmosphere of Hawaii was not conducive to labor organizing. The tight economic control exercised by a handful of corporations, the almost closed political system, and the lack of a diversified economy made it difficult to organize trade unions. The legacy of racial suspicions which clouded the labor scene in the 1930's did not help matters. It was reported in 1930 that as much as 90 per cent of all the carpentry work in Honolulu was done by Japanese builders and their crews. The union rate was then $6.50 per eight hour day, but the majority of carpenters employed worked for as little as $4.50 for nine and ten hour days. These small cottage builders were non union. The Labor Commissioner's Report described the situation:

    It was estimated [by the union] that in 1929 and 1930 there were approximately 1,000 carpenters in the Hawaiian Islands, that they or the contractors who employed them, do practically all of the building of cottages, repairs, and jobbing.26
    The weakness of organized labor is seen in the fact that the Central Labor Council, re established in 1918, surrendered its charter when Local 745 withdrew its three delegates in 1928. The Council Secretary reported to the A.F. of L. that only three unions were in regular attendance and making per capita payments. The withdrawal of the Carpenters made it impossible to continue to function; the Council surrendered its charter to the General Secretary.27 Local 745's record book indicates the problem. Of the approximately 60 members in 1928, more than half were in arrears on their dues and there were few new members initiated after 1924. In 1929 there was not a single union contract in force in the territory of Hawai'i.28 The decade which began with the great Filipino and Japanese plantation strikes, the formation of the Central Labor Council and a labor newspaper, the establishment of a multi racial Hawaiian Workers Union by George Wright, ended quietly with the slipping away of all of these gains.

    Conditions in the 1920's were such as to ensure the success of the American Plan, the national anti labor campaign launched by the Merchants and Manufacturers Association in 1921. The purpose of this campaign was to convince the American people that unions had no part in America's future. The repression of radical political organizations by the federal government neatly dovetailed with this civic campaign. The campaign was basically aimed at three sectors of society: the schools, the churches, and the newspapers. Pro business, anti labor material was widely distributed to schools, free of charge. Films, books, pictures, and teacher education materials were distributed nation wide. All mention of organized labor was carefully screened out. Newspapers were provided with prepared material in the form of editorials, photographs, and "news" stories which portrayed labor unions as foreign to the American scene. Ministers were provided with sermons stressing the benevolence of the employer and the "duty" of the worker. To maintain a local union in the face of such pressure was a difficult task. Few unions in America could show any growth in this troubled decade.

    The Depression in Hawai'i

    Sueo Kawakami graduated from Konawaena High School in 1934, ready to face the deep economic depression. The small coffee farms of Kona offered little prospect of employment; the sugar industry was shrinking its work force. Following many others, he moved to Honolulu to look for work. He began work with a Japanese cottage builder as a laborer. Six men in the crew did all of the work from site preparation to the making of the cabinets in the finished house. There were no craft divisions. Foundation work, plumbing, electrical wiring were all performed by the crew whatever was required to finish the task. By the time the military boom of 1939 stimulated employment in Hawaii, he was a journeyman carpenter and moved to employment at Pearl Harbor.

    Walter Kupau and Jueo Kawakami
    Walter Kupau with Sueo Kawakami, Local 745 President 1949-1952 and Carpentry Instructor at Honolulu Community College, Hawaii Carpenter April 1992

    As the nation was puched and prodded into a readiness for war, Honolulu was being flooded with mainland workers of every description as contractors began to feverishly expand Pearl Harbor into a major Pacific military base as the nation was pushed and prodded into a readiness for war. When asked by a mainland haole about the carpenters' local, he confessed he had never heard of the organization after six years in the craft. Introduced to Local 745, he promptly joined and remained an active member throughout his career.

    The "Great Depression" which began in 1930 found the labor movement in a weakened condition from the losses of the 1920s. One result of the distress caused by the severe economic depression was to increase the militancy of labor. The years from 1930 to 1934 were marked by a sharp increases in strike activity across the country.

    To head off this new labor militancy, Congress passed the Wagner Labor Act (The National Labor Relations Act) in 1935. This has often been called the "Magna Charta" of the American labor movement. For the first time, workers had a legal right to form and join organizations of their own choosing. Although unions had certainly existed long before this time, they had no standing under the law and were harassed by the courts and government. The Wagner Act created the National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B.) to oversee and monitor labor management relations.

    The new law was first used in Hawai'i in 1937, when the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (I.L.W.U.) filed unfair labor practices charges against Castle and Cooke. The law was not accepted by Hawai'i's powerful companies; their lawyers were confident the Supreme Court would invalidate the law. For decades, the plantations had dominated the legislature, the courts and law enforcement. In any event, they said, the plantations were exempt from coverage as an agricultural activity.

    The N.L.R.B. examiner who came to hear the case was shocked by the arrogant employer attitudes. Labor control policies that existed in Hawai'i from the earliest period were now exposed to the legal institutions of the nation. While these first hearings did not produce a revolution, they did encourage Hawai'i's workers to increase their efforts to organize and put the employers on notice that their unlimited power could now be challenged openly.

    However, the NLRB decided to hold off from applying the law to the construction industry. On the national level, the Board decided that the special nature of construction work its temporary nature and high mobility meant that the usual rules of union organization would not apply. The Board adopted a largely hands off policy toward the construction industry from 1935 until 1947. For Hawaii's struggling craft unions, this meant that the help given industrial unions and those such as the I.L.W.U. was not available. Mainland carpenters could travel to other areas for jobs. Given the peculiar concentration of urban construction in Hawai'i, construction workers were at a disadvantage. The Board policy of allowing firms to negotiate area wide agreements with the construction unions, without regard to any particular job site, would cause considerable trouble when finally applied in Hawai'i.29

    NOTES:

    1. U.S. National Archives, File BS 202600, Bureau of Investigation, Papers 19O8 1922, Department of Justice Record Group 65, MF #46.
    2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Conditions in the Territory of Hawaii: 1929 1930 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1931) 118.
    3. Letter, Jardin to Morrison, August 14, 1928, Honolulu, T.H. Central Labor Council, IRC Mss Collection.
    4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Conditions, 1929 1930.
    5. John Fanning, Speech before 1963, Hawaii Employers Council/General Contractors Association Contract Files, MF #25.


     

    PART V: World War II and the Postwar Period

    The Union and the War

    By the end of the 1930s, preparations for American participation in the war in Europe brought dramatic changes in the Hawaiian labor movement. The urgency of the military build up between 1939 and 1942 brought many mainland contractors to Hawaii. Many of these brought key workers and supervisory personnel. The result was a rapid growth for all of the construction unions as mainland union members deposited their cards with the Hawai'i locals. Despite the drain of the military draft, the Hawaii locals experienced a tremendous growth.

    By 1942, there were approximately 1,300 members in Local 745. Many of these members were working on war installations in various Pacific locations. They would deposit their cards with the Hawai'i local and then go off to Palmyra, Johnston Island, or other Pacific bases. Many never appeared again on the Local's records. Some apparently went into military service. This wartime turnover was a common problem for all unions during the war.

    The day books of the local give eloquent testimony of the difficulty of collecting dues during this period with the old system of collection. The automatic dues check off, the union security clause, now so familiar to union members, only began in 1942 when the United States government agreed to permit the deduction of dues from the paycheck in exchange for a no strike pledge from the unions for the duration of the war. Hawaii, having no union contracts at this time, could not use this method. Members still met monthly to discuss issues and to collect the current dues. A monthly stamp was put in the membership book and a button issued, to be worn on the hat at the job site to show current membership. The day books of the Local reveal the hard time many had in paying their monthly dues, often because the member was working elsewhere in the Pacific. Frequently a name would appear with the notation "paid up arrears". Keeping the card current was important. Not only was it a matter of pride in belonging, but there were accident, death benefits, and pensions, through the national for members in good standing.

    Although the local had frequently paid accident benefits to its members, they were not reported as collecting death benefits from the International until 1920. Benefits were paid thereafter in almost every year in amounts of $250 to $300, reflecting the relatively small number of members.

    In Hawai'i, the war years were to bring into the union many of the Japanese carpenters who had long dominated the craft in numbers. The long campaign to exclude Asian workers from the American trade unions came to an end, paradoxically, with the war against Japan. The war experience not only validated the citizenship of the Japanese American, it also brought them into the modern labor movement. The building trade unions of Hawaii helped make the Japanese American craftsman a dominant force in the Hawaiian labor movement. Coupled with the militant campaign of the I.L.W.U. to end racial segregation in the plantation labor force, this change in the craft unions ended the discrimination against the worker of Asian descent.

    The wartime boom in membership quickly collapsed in 1945. The day books of Local 745 are filled with page after page of members dropped for non payment of dues, reflecting the dispersal of those workers who came to Hawaii to meet the wartime demands. It is difficult to tell from the records whether these members cleared up their status on return to the mainland or simply dropped out of the craft. Most unions throughout the country experienced similar problems.

    Demobilization at the end of the war brought other new problems for Local 745. Construction projects were no longer on a cost plus, rush basis. Wartime gains in wages and working conditions began to erode rapidly. In 1940, a carpenter in Hawaii was lucky to earn ninety five cents an hour. Actually, this was the mid point in the wage scale. Half of the construction companies paid less, half paid more. The higher wage rate represents primarily the scale for the large commercial builders firms such as E. E. Black, Hawaiian Dredging, and Pacific Construction. Under wartime conditions, the wage rate slowly crept to $1.35 an hour by 1945. Although this seems to be a very low wage, one old time member recalled that when Local 745 wages reached $1.25 during the early war years, many members stopped coming to union meetings. They concluded that wages could go no higher and, therefore, there was no longer any point to union meetings.30

    We often hear about the enormous gains made by workers during World War II and the great increases won by the unions during the stress of war. We seldom hear about the sharp increases in the cost of living which accompanied these wage increases. The cost of living index in Honolulu had reached 134.9 in 1945 (1940 as 100). The arithmetic behind these numbers shows that a carpenter in 1945 was earning, effectively, only seven cents an hour more than he had in 1940. When reduced to what the money would purchase for the worker and his family, the five year gain in earning capacity appears to have been very small. The further bad news was that inflation was relatively mild during the war years. The income withholding tax was introduced in 1942 as a "temporary wartime measure." Tax rates were increased and made to apply to most wage earners. The disposable income of the construction worker was sharply reduced. When price controls were removed in 1946, prices shot up sharply. By 1948, the consumer price index in Honolulu had reached 170.O. The effective purchasing power of the carpenter had been reduced to $1.22 per hour.

    These numbers leave out the great gains in productivity made in the construction industry through the use of new tools and new materials. Wartime technology began to be applied to the construction industry. Hydraulic equipment became commonplace on the job site, cutting the labor input sharply. Off site cement mixing permitted much more rapid construction. These technical changes resulted in greatly diminished work opportunities for carpenters. The wage figures should, to be fair, reflect at least a portion of this productivity gain. If one assumes that the net gain in productivity from both new techniques and new materials was approximately three percent a year in this period, then the wage of the carpenter would have been $2.01 per hour. Adjusting that figure for inflation, the carpenter should have been earning $2.40 per hour. Rather than a good wage increase, the worker was actually losing more than $1.05 per hour.

    All of this is clear to the economist. It is much clearer to the carpenter and his family. The wage loss showed up every day with the landlord, at the grocery store, the clothing store, with medical bills and the automobile. Those new tools which sharply increased productivity also cost the worker a great deal of lost income. They also sharpened the awareness of the need for a strong labor movement.

    The ILWU

    A new factor which changed the outlook for labor unions in Hawaii was the success of the ILWU in organizing the powerhouse sugar and pineapple companies. For the first time in Hawaii's history, workers had challenged the enormous wealth and power of the Big Five and succeeded in a sweeping, lightning like victory. Between 1944 and 1946, all but one of the Hawaiian sugar companies had been organized and industry wide bargaining with uniform job classifications had been established. The ILWU put an end to the age old practice of controlling the worker through such items as housing, medical benefits, and unilateral control over the assignment of work. By 1945 and the second contract, the ILWU had established modern collective bargaining practices in Hawai'i.

    This success was a major stimulus to the demands of the urban craft unions. It was no longer unthinkable to demand parity with the mainland, to demand industry wide bargaining and uniform job classification and pay scales. Fringe benefits were to be negotiated by collective bargaining instead of being dispensed as charity by management.

    It is important to note that the employers had clearly anticipated the impact of the war on union organizing in Hawai'i. In 1943, the Hawaii Employers Council was created to handle the labor negotiations of the member firms. A top notch negotiator from the West Coast was brought in at a salary of $40,000 per year. Just for comparison, the mid point of the carpenters' pay scale in 1943 was $1.32 and rigidly controlled by the military government in Hawai'i and by the War Labor Board guidelines in Washington.

    After the war, Hawai'i's unions were confronted with a new situation. Any gains would have to be won, not against single employers, but against a well organized Employers Council. The struggle for better pay and working conditions was to prove a long and difficult one.

    The success of the ILWU was marred by the most intense red baiting campaign ever seen in the United States. Government and management teamed up in an effort to eliminate the ILWU and to smash their organization, both in Hawai'i and on the mainland. The issue of labor unity was (and is) a difficult one. There are genuine differences in the goals and problems of each union, despite the brotherhood of the working class. Leaders and members occasionally fail to see the problems in clear perspective. It has frequently been the case for American labor that they have been confused about who the enemy was at any particular time.

    The National Construction Unions and the NLRB

    At the end of the war, the construction unions began a national drive to consolidate their gains and to organize new territory. From the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935 until 1947, many unions conducted a largely successful organizing campaign. For the mainland construction unions, the NLRB's non interference policy resulted in enormous gains. They were able to bring into membership thousands of construction workers. The practice of negotiating area wide agreements with construction firms without reference to any particular job site recognized the fact that large scale construction now represented the majority of building activities. By 1945, the carpenter was forced to share many of his traditional skills with new crafts and to utilize new materials. Some sixty five percent of a typical house was constructed by specialty trades other than carpentry. As one carpenter put it, the carpenter was more likely to be building forms down in an excavation than to be constructing a building.31

    The passage in 1947 of the Taft Hartley amendments to the Wagner Act drastically changed the conditions of organizing for construction unions. The NLRB began to interfere more directly in construction activities. Close behind N.L.R.B. intrusion came the federal courts. Despite a tradition of quite different union representation in the construction industry, the effect of Taft Hartley was to impose on the construction unions a pattern more suited to mass production industries. The federal courts failed to recognize the exceptional conditions in construction, such as the relatively short duration of a building project as compared to the relative permanency of industrial production.

    In an attempt to recognize the unique character of construction, the NLRB tried to fashion a pattern of representation elections that would meet the special needs of both the industry and labor. Based upon the notion of a "pool of labor" in each area, the Board held simultaneous craft elections for each so called pool of labor.32 Contracts were then negotiated with groups of employers in those areas. Given the large number of such areas and the number of local unions, it seemed a reasonable idea. The plan proved to be unworkable when the Board attempted to narrow the definition of the area pool of labor.

    For Hawai'i, the matter was important. Determined to match the national organizing drive, the construction unions attempted to organize along the lines indicated by the area pool notion. One significant difference in Hawai'i was to prove a handicap. There were only a handful of "large" companies compared to the mainland. In the first election scheduled in 1948 on the mainland, for example, there were over 100 employers and five unions. It proved to be impossible to coordinate the demands of so many groups. The small number of employers in Hawai'i, the constricted area, and the fact that there was only one craft union of each type, seemed to make the plan ideal for Hawai'i. The financial power of the handful of large construction firms in Hawai'i as compared to the weakness of the unions was a serious obstacle to any labor organizing. The pool of unorganized construction workers was still too large for such "consent" elections. Another problem was to emerge in Hawai'i. That problem was local autonomy versus national agreements reached on the mainland.

    Action on the urban labor scene was stimulated by the 1949 longshore strike. Spurred in part by the success of the ILWU in meeting the ferocious challenges of management, the American Federation of Labor unions were determined to move ahead and to win similar gains. The expulsion of the ILWU by the national CIO had almost eliminated the CIO organization from the Hawaiian scene. Instead of a unified labor movement, the craft unions continued to regard the ILWU as a rival to be defeated and replaced where possible. An important source of strength was thereby lost.

    The Mid Pac Agreement: First Modern Contract

    Although Local 745 had been active in Hawaii since its chartering in October of 1902, its coming of age as a modern labor union didn't happen until 1953. To a large degree this new era for the local can be credited to Stanley "Maui" Yanagi. Nick-named "Maui" in reference to the island of his birth, Stanley Yanagi came to Honolulu in 1938 when he was 29 and joined the Carpenters' union. Boyhood friends remember him as quiet but tough and recalled how he would not hesitate to fight neighborhood bullies twice his size, earning a reputation as "the protector."33

    Stanley
    Stanley "Maui" Yanagi, Local 745 Financial Secretary and Business Representative,1953-1977

    In 1953 the local was small and in danger of being over-powered by a new breed of large project contractors who were themselves beginning to organize into a general association.

    The first important gain for the local in this period was an agreement reached with the Contractors Mid Pac, an organization representing contractors doing work for the naval and marine bases. Signed on January 30, 1953, the agreement was a step toward the goals of the Local. Although weak on some important issues, the contract negotiated by Stanley Yanagi was a base from which later gains would be made. The contract offered only minimal protection and benefits. Steward access to the job required not only the permission of the Project manager, but compliance with the requirements of the Commanding Officer of the base. The contract did, however, raise the carpenters hourly wage from $1.75 to $2.00 and outline a grievance procedure and establish a Board of Arbitration. Another significant first step was the granting of a dues check off system, and the union was granted the right to be notified of job vacancies and had forty eight hours to refer a union member for the job, but with no guarantee of being hired.

    The first recorded strike of the local was to come just six months later as the union tried to extend the application of the Mid-Pac contract to a Navy housing project at Aliamanu Homes and a 281 lot program at Niu Subdivision being built by Western Builders.34 Eighty carpenters were out for six days before the contractor agreed to quit stalling and sign the contract they had already agreed to the week before. And two days later a D. R. McKay housing project on Bishop Estate land in Kailua was shut down when workmen refused to cross the Carpenters' picket line. The union had just won election as the bargaining agent on June 6th, but the company was resisting the standard union shop clause.35 Both of these early strikes were won by the union and established Stanley Yanagi's reputation as a respected union leader. At the same time they began to lay the foundation for the union's goal of negotiating its first multi-employer master agreement.

    The Effect of the Korean War

    The end of the Korean War in 1953 brought with it high unemployment in Hawai'i. The collapse of construction reduced the ranks of Local 745; dues paying membership dropped below 1,000. At times it was difficult to pay the office staff salaries and per capita tax. Larry Miyata, the Local's first Business Represenative and Financial Secretary from 1948 to 1953, frequently went without pay.36 The situation was summed up by a veteran carpenter: "We just didn't have the power. The contractors were in the driver's seat. If they knew you were a union member, you didn't get a job. They could push us around without any strain."37

    The difficulties facing the union were illustrated by a series of contract negotiations during 1953 1954. The mainland strategy of reaching agreements with the contractors without reference to a particular job site proved to be difficult to negotiate in Hawai'i. The General Contractors Association was determined to prevent any general master agreement. Hampered by federal court rulings and NLRB regulations, the Local resorted to the tactic of "informational picketing" to bring pressure on the related building trades to stop work at a job site. Taft Hartley had put a stop to secondary boycotts. The General Contractors Association was alert to this tactic and mobilized to defeat it.

    John O'Donnell, the representative sent by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners International to work on master agreements for Hawai'i, had his first partial victory in July 1954. The Building and Construction Trades Council demanded master agreements to cover three major construction projects: the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, the new Woolworth store on Fort Street, and the University of Hawaii Sinclair Library. Picket lines were authorized by the Council on June 28, 1954, at the Princess Kaiulani, a Pacific Construction Company project. With the aid of police, some workers for Pacific Construction crossed the picket line. Those of the subcontractors did not.

    The press treated the Princess Kaiulani picketing as an attempt to bring "Dave Beck style" organizing to Hawai'i. The picketing was interpreted as an effort to intimidate the employers into negotiating a "top down" or "sweetheart" contract. Since Art Rutledge was president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, this also seemed to the press an attempt to cripple the fledgling tourist industry.

    Pacific Construction replied to the pickets by demanding an election among the Local 745 carpenters to determine whether or not they wished to be represented. As the newspaper put it:

    "Chiefly at issue are the union shop, which has been kept out of most Hawaii labor contracts, and the technique of negotiating from the top down instead of through the rank and file."38
    The newspaper failed to explain what was wrong with picketing, and particularly, what was wrong with workers honoring the picket line. After many days of maneuvering, the Local reached an agreement with the General Contractors Association to withdraw the pickets in exchange for bargaining on the "idea of industry wide elections" with the 225 members of the Association.39 UBCJ organizer, John O'Donnell, had won a partial victory. Only the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) had previously won a master agreement type contract --in August 1948, ten firms had signed a master agreement with the IBEW. The carpenters would have to wait until 1960 before signing their first effective industry wide agreement. In 1954, Local 745 challenged the giant Hawaiian Dredging Company and lost. The union had again taken the approach of demanding a master agreement to cover all of the company's projects.40 For the union, the central issue was the demand for a union shop. The General Contractors Association mobilized their members to oppose this demand for a master agreement. They insisted on elections covering each job site or project, as allowed by the National Labor Relations Board. This tactic was clearly designed to exhaust the union's slender resources in endless representation elections.

    The Central Labor Council

    In 1953, the unions organized themselves into a new Central Labor Council to bring some sense of unity to the thirty eight AF of L unions.41 Local 745 was seen as one of the more important and "growing unions" in this new drive. A newly formed "unity council" of some fifteen American Federation of Labor unions, the Building and Construction Trades Council, felt confident that they could pressure the large contractors into granting a master agreement with a union shop. Under the leadership of Rutledge's Unity House, the aim was to unite the related unions in the drive against the large contractors.

    O'Donnell was reported to be willing to drop all demands for a union shop in exchange for a master agreement.42 He offered a five year agreement "with no change in the wage structure set up by the General Contractors Association."43 At one point, the union offered to drop the demand for an association agreement and instead offered company by company elections; at least O'Donnell was reported to have made such an offer.44

    The subsequent defeat of the Unity House Building and Construction Trades Council effort was due, in part, to the condition of the Hawaiian economy in 1954, and, in part, to diverse interests within the Council itself. By September, 1954, there were over 7,000 unemployed workers on Oahu and work in construction was slow. Despite the appearance of strength in the Unity House organization, the diverse interests and personality clashes weakened their efforts. Sueo Kawakami explained the problem:

    We had a Central Labor Council and a Building Trades Council, but I think we had too many personalities involved there and everybody was figuring his own kuleana. It was what you might call growing pains. ....Many of us just didn't know how to go about [organizing].45
    The union lost the representation election at Hawaiian Dredging. The loss encouraged the employers' strategy of demanding job by job bargaining. To further complicate the union's problems, the General Contractors Association began to utilize the services of the Hawaii Employers Council (H.E.C.) in their bargaining.46 The additional expertise thus brought to bear was an additional barrier to a decent contract.

    Although the issue was colored by the usual charges and counter charges, what was at stake in these negotiations was the recognition by the union of the fundamental changes which had taken place in the construction industry. Large, commercial projects were no longer the work of one company and a few crafts. Now the general contractor was more of a manager of construction, employing many specialty contractors. Each subcontractor was forced to work against a deadline of time and costs, shaving corners where possible, pushing to the utmost. The difficulty of dealing with the subcontractors was a new problem for the union. The change brought about by Taft Hartley had arrived in Hawai'i.

    Conditions were complicated by Taft Hartley rulings which hampered union efforts. Court decisions and the NLRB had created a situation which divorced the main contractor from the working conditions of the subcontractor. The subcontractors were ruled to be separate entities, not bound by the agreements of the general contractor with the union. Picketing and job action could only be used against the particular subcontractor with whom the dispute was occurring. Pickets were enjoined from shutting down the job site; "common situs" picketing was forbidden as a secondary boycott.

    Hopes were raised in 1955, when the long lasting split in the ranks of labor was ended by the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. A revived Central Labor Council was hailed as a promise of new labor militancy. Actually, the CIO had almost no presence in Hawai'i. There was little basis for any new unity derived from the merger even on the national level.

    The Organizing Drive of the 1950s

    An appeal to the International brought Charles Nichols to Hawai'i. Dispatched from California, Nichols arrived in July of 1956, promising a vigorous organizing drive. He saw a potential membership of 5,000 carpenters in Hawai'i.47 According to Nichols, there were only 225 dues paying members in the union. In addition to Hawai'i's high cost of living, Hawai'i's carpenters were at least seventy cents per hour under Coast conditions.48 The estimate was probably too low. The Davis Bacon wage for Hawai'i in 1956 was $2.20. For construction carpenters, the range was $1.33 to $2.24. Since there was only one contract in effect, it was most likely that the Hawai'i rate was not much over $2.00.49 In a 1957 interview for the Honolulu Advertiser Gordon Scruton, manager of the General Contractor's Association, admitted that the average construction worker in Hawai'i made thirteen percent less than was paid for comparable work on the mainland.50 And he was referring only to O'ahu wages which were the highest. At the same time that Scruton was quoting a $2.57 an hour wage, Local 745 representatives were on Kaua'i trying to organize workers who were earning between $1.25 and $1.50 an hour.51 Clearly, a major effort was required.

    The year 1956 seemed to be a turnaround year for Local 745. No less than four election victories in a row were marked up: two sash and door firms and two small general contractors. By the end of the year, however, only one contract had been signed, providing five cents an hour raise and no change in benefits. One gain during this time was the establishment of a job classification system.

    In 1957, the Hawaii Employers Council sounded the alarm in a news story:

    During the second half of last year [1956], the Carpenters, the 'mud crafts' and the painters organized rapidly and without much opposition. That this cannot continue was demonstrated last week when the carpenters union lost its first representation election in five attempts when Pacific Construction voted 38 to 24 against the union.52
    The news story graphically illustrated the difficulty of organizing job by job. The resources of the Local were stretched thin by this organizing effort.

    From 1953 until 1959, the Local relied on the UBCJ to direct and finance organizing campaigns. In 1953 and 1955, the national organization forwarded money, and waived per capita taxes to assist the organizer who accompanied the funds. With a team of local organizers led by Stanley "Maui" Yanagi, the Local began organizing. They opened an office in the McCandless Building on the corner of King and Bethel Streets, where a number of the buliding trades unions as well as the Central Labor Council were also setting up shop. It was furnished with $50.00 worth of furniture supplied by Yanagi and Nichols. The membership base was less than 200.53

    McCandless Bldg.
    McCandless Building at 935 Bethel Street, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Local 745's Main Office from 1954-1958

    Encouraged by a resurgence of construction work, Local 745 began to tackle the large contractors. The joint effort by the International and the Local was an important step in the development of the union. There were to be many obstacles, however, before the effort would be effective. Looking back at this drive, Yanagi expressed the "almost" quality of the organizing drive.

    We even had the general contractors on the verge of signing a master contract with us. If this contract had been signed, we would have been on our way.54
    What happened to that progress is an important lesson in the importance of trade union unity, the effects of racial intolerance and personal ambition in the labor movement.

    The Unity House approach developed by Art Rutledge broke down in 1957, as the constituent unions matured. Local 745 had achieved two contracts which granted little more than recognition, a grievance procedure, and union security (the check off). The first large scale military housing project strained the always tenuous Unity House alliance. This Schofield Capehart Housing project was the largest construction job to develop in Hawaii since World War II, and was valued at $21.5 million dollars.55

    The Building and Construction Trades Council faced new problems. The mainland contractors who won the bid for the project were accustomed to dealing with the national construction unions at the top level, rather than at the local level. In this case, the local Council attempted to negotiate a master agreement, including a union shop, which would cover all fourteen unions who made up the Council.56 Local 745 had by 1958 actually moved its headquarters into Unity House offices.

    The first evidence of growing differences with the Unity House approach came when the Building and Construction Trades Council pulled out of the Unity Pact. Apparently sensing that a master agreement with these mainland contractors would be difficult to negotiate through Unity House, the Council withdrew.57 They pledged themselves to offer whatever mutual assistance the Unity House unions might need, but they would no longer be an integral part of the Unity House group of unions. At issue, apparently, was a concern on the part of Nichols and the International that a new master agreement would be blocked by the diverse interests represented in Unity House.58 When the master agreement was announced by Nichols, there was an immediate uproar. Local 745 leaders, Charles Yamamoto and Stanley Yanagi, denounced Nichols.59 They detailed their complaint to General President Hutchinson: "Nichols has absolutely refused to give President Yamamoto and the Board of Directors a copy of the alleged contract agreement with the Contractors Association."60

    At a meeting of the Local on March 4, 1959, the membership voted to reject the contract offered by Nichols. Local President Yamamoto urged Hutchinson to come to Honolulu to remedy the situation and to prevent a split.

    We further pray that you would remedy the situation immediately and then come to Honolulu to restore the confidence of every member of our Local Union in continued membership in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.61
    This letter produced an immediate threat of trusteeship.62 The history of labor is filled with threats and counter threats. Frequently, the issues are resolved in practical, working terms. President Yamamoto and several of the officers of the Local immediately formed the Hawaii State Construction Union as an answer to the threat of trusteeship. They attempted to function as an independent construction union, based largely on the resentment toward Nichols and the International. Joe Cambiano from the California Council of Carpenters, began working to restore unity and bring most of the dissidents back into the International.63

    By June 12, 1959, a majority of the old officers of Local 745, led by Stanley Yanagi, left the newly created union and returned as officers of the UBCJ, Local 745.64 They moved the Honolulu headquarters of the local out of the Unity House building at 1956 Ala Moana and into a new office at 949 McCully. The tactic of resigning and forming a new group produced the required concessions. The Hawaii local had grown in sophistication and strength. The affidavit they signed clearly expresses the strength of the local officers:

    Each is a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 745, AFL/CIO, and an officer thereof. . . . Each was at the same time a member and an officer of the Hawaii State Construction Union but before the date of this affidavit, each resigned from both his membership and office in such organization.65
    The rank and file had made their point. The issue was local autonomy, rather than an issue of power.

    The uproar in Local 745 over the issue of local autonomy, the Capehart Schofield dispute, and dissatisfaction with the structure of the Building Trades Council, led to a sweeping reorganization. Rutledge was removed as Council President, largely to give the new Council a more definitive building trades image.66 The obstacles to labor unity created by media hostility were apparent in the press treatment of this reorganization. The occasion was the appointment of Jack Reynolds as Territorial Representative for the Building Trades Council. A long time veteran of the construction trades and a strong union leader, Reynolds had served for three years as the International Business Representative. His appointment as Territorial Representative was seen as a move to enhance local autonomy. A barrage of publicity in the local press was unleashed, featuring lurid stories about Reynolds' past police record. Much of that record had resulted from his long career as a trade unionist.67 Pressure was brought to bear on the A.F. of L. National Building Trades Council to oust Reynolds. Reynolds quietly resigned his post. He remained active in the Council, however, as business agent for the Roofers' Union and the Lathers' Union.

    The reorganization was completed by the appointment of Walters Eli of the IBEW as Council President. With a much more clearly focussed image as a building trades organization, the new Council set out to improve the lot of Hawai'i's construction unions.

    By the end of 1958, despite the occasional representation election victory, Local 745 had only two contracts in force: one with a small construction firm, and one with a sash and door company. The local had won other representation elections, but had not been able to negotiate contracts. Winning representation elections was one step; negotiating agreements was another matter.

    The meager resources of the Local, in both financial and negotiating skills, were under constant, heavy pressure. The Hawaii Employers Council and the General Contractors Association were formidable and affluent foes. The old Hawai'i tactic of management sharing of expenses incurred in fighting organizing drives and strike losses made life difficult for the unions. This tactic, borrowed from the Hawai'i sugar industry, had been used since 1909 to control labor struggles. The ability to control the media to give the public the employer viewpoint was one of the more important aspects of this employer unity.

    A major organizing need in the construction industry has been to achieve basic wage and working conditions. Multiple wage rates and varying work conditions allow the employer to manipulate the situation to the disadvantage of the worker. When labor is united, group or industry wide bargaining can produce important gains and prevent the exploitation of individual workers. Above all else, such bargaining can produce uniform job classifications, wage rates and benefits. The experience of the ILWU in Hawai'i was perhaps the best example of the gains to be made from industry wide bargaining. The Carpenters Union in 1958 had not yet reached the required level of strength.

    Yanagi hired Balloon Okamura and Sleepy Hokumura as organizers to help Larry Shigeura. Together they spent months and months trying to sign up Carpenters at different job sites. The work was hard and often reaped little success. They would carry cases of beer on their shoulders and hike up hills trying to catch workers at the end of their shifts and tell them about the union, only to see the men run away at their approach for fear of losing their jobs if they were caught talking to them.68 The union organizing effort increased membership to approximately 1,500 that year, but there was still no master contract.


    Left to right: Harry Fukuyama, Larry Shigeura, Stanley Yanagi, Robert Higashino, and Yoshio "sleepy" Hokama, c.1960

    NOTES:

    1. Interview, S.K., May 28, 1981.
    2. Reckman, "The Carpenter," 98 99.
    3. Fanning, Speech, 2.
    4. Hawaii Carpenter, August 24, 1977.
    5. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 16, 1953.
    6. Ibid. June 18, 1953.
    7. Interview, B.T., May 15, 1981.
    8. Ibid.
    9. Honolulu Advertiser, July 10, 1954.
    10. Ibid., July 16, 1954; Hawaii Employers Council, Memo, July 19, 1954,:HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    11. Honolulu Advertiser, July 1O, l954.
    12. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 6, 1953.
    13. Hawaii Employers Council, Memo, July 19, 1954, HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    14. Honolulu Advertiser, July 10, 1954.
    15. Hawaii Employers Council, Notes on GCA Contract Negotiations, HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    16. Interview, S.K., May 28, 1981. The word kuleana is a Hawaiian term meaning roughly the same thing as the modern slang "turf" -i.e. jurisdiction; specialty; constituency.
    17. Hawaii Employers Council, Memo, July 19, 1954, HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    18. 745 Reporter, October, 1967.
    19. Honolulu Advertiser, July 13, 1956.
    20. George Remington, "Why Do Capehart Houses Cost More in Hawaii?" Honolulu Advertiser, February 17, 1957.
    21. Hawaii Labor News, April 1, 1957.
    22. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Survey 1956, (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1957); Hawaii Employers Council, Wage Survey #30, January 1956.
    23. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 14, 1957.
    24. Hawaii Carpenter, June 22, 1973; 745 Reporter, October 1967.
    25. 745 Reporter, October 1967.
    26. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 17, 1957.
    27. Honolulu Advertiser, October 22, 1957.
    28. Ibid., November 13, 1957; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 13, 1957.
    29. Interview, Carl Levey, August 25, 1981.
    30. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 25, 1957; Honolulu Advertiser, November 26, 1957.
    31. Board of Directors, Local 745, to Maurice Hutchinson, General President, U.B.C.J., March 4, 1959, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Archives.
    32. Ibid.
    33. Telegram, Hutchinson to Local 745, March 19, 1959, U.B.C.J. Archives, xerox copy.
    34. Hawaii Carpenter, August 24, 1977.
    35. Affidavit, June 12, 1959, U.B.C.J. Archives; Hawaii Carpenter, Yanagi column, May 12, 1969.
    36. Affidavit, June 12, 1959.
    37. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 29, 1959; June 5, 1959.
    38. Honolulu Advertiser, September 24, 1958; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 17, 1958, "Ex-con Stays on Isles Job, Gray Declares."
    39. Hawaii Carpenter, February 26, 1972.


     

    Part VI: Local Autonomy and Maturity

    The First Industry Wide Contract

    The turmoil of the 1950's was a prelude to the achievement of the first industry wide, multiple union agreement in July 196O. The Labor and Industrial Relations Committee of the General Contractors Association met with the Building Trades Council Committee and presented a three year agreement on July 29, 1960. The Council team, headed by Walter Eli, consisted of Stanley Yanagi for the Carpenters, Hal Lewis for the Operating Engineers, Elmo Samson of the General Laborers, and Walter Whitcomb of the Plasterers Union.69

    The agreement [see appendix A] provided for a modified union shop. Old employees were not required to join; new employees were required to join within eight days. A rather weak and vague grievance procedure was a distinctly negative feature, but the union had the right to appoint stewards who were guaranteed reasonable access to job sites. An important gain was the introduction of a medical plan, with a joint union management committee, which in the final two years would include full family coverage. Eight paid holidays, wage increases from $3.00 to $3.70 over the three years, and overtime at one and one half times the rate after eight hours or forty hours for the week and for all holidays, completed the package.

    This was an important, precedent setting contract, not so much for the terms as for the procedure in negotiating. Involving the four basic construction unions and the employers in an industry wide agreement did much to reduce labor management conflicts. The high cost, both in organizational effort and money, is sharply reduced by such contracts. Employer resistance to labor's demands is no less, and labor still has to struggle to win its goals. The difference was largely in the fact that it was no longer necessary for each union to constantly re fight the battle for each gain.

    The decade of the 1960's marked a significant change in the construction industry. The boom which came with statehood seemed to fade in 1962. Construction employment which had reached a high of 18,619 in July 1960, fell to 15,233 by May 1962, and was predicted to fall further.70 Housing starts declined by approximately thirty percent between 1960 and 1962.

    New Legal Problems

    By the early 1960s, Supreme Court interpretations of the National Labor Relations Act, particularly the Taft Hartley Amendments, created many new difficulties for the construction trade unions. Three key decisions established the categories of "primary and secondary" employees. The secondary employees, those employed by contractors not involved in the dispute, were declared to be "neutral employees". Historically, the strike has been accompanied by the picket line. These court decisions created a problem as to the site of picketing. The court created fiction of the neutral employee effectively prohibited the picketing of subcontractors on a construction site.71

    Given the fragmentation of skills and the introduction of new, non wood construction materials, contractors were able to effectively inhibit organizational activities through the threat of secondary boycott charges.72 The construction unions responded to these new legal obstacles to organizing and efforts to protect working conditions, by engaging in a tactic known as "informational picketing". The unions simply proclaimed that this job site included non union conditions, unfair employers and/or scab workers. These "picket lines" recognized the fact that the traditional reluctance to cross a picket line had to be modified in line with the legal realities imposed by the National Labor Relations Act and its amendments.

    An example of "informational picketing" occurred during the 1962 expansion of Honolulu Airport. An insulation and floor subcontractor was picketed by the asbestos workers. This had the effect of slowing other work, as the member unions of the Council put the contract machinery into operation. The industry wide contract contained a clause requiring the submission of such situations to a joint committee made up of three chosen by the union and three by the employers. The move was seen by the contractors "as an obvious effort to organize by the device of informational picketing. This first outbreak must be stopped."73 Despite the outburst, the issue was resolved through the contract machinery, demonstrating the utility of trying to recognize the realities modern construction methods and the need for worker security. Both sides were developing a greater sophistication in their tactics.

    Pensions and Mechanization

    Another important breakthrough for construction labor also came in 1962 when the I.B.E.W. Local 1186 negotiated a new contract calling for a wage increase to $4.50 per hour. More important, this contract provided for the first pension plan in the construction industry. It was estimated that the plan would provide a pension of approximately $300 per month on retirement at age fifty five. Included in this agreement, was a novel plan to deal with automation and new technology. A training fund was established for new and old workers. The negotiator for Local 1186 declared that the "emphasis on non wage items is in itself a revolutionary switch in the thinking of construction union negotiators."74

    These gains were not unnoticed by the employers. An analysis of construction labor was requested of the Hawaii Employers Council. This study reached some interesting, if somewhat strange, conclusions. According to the H.E.C., the I.B.E.W. contract just concluded was subverting the historic function of wages. They argued that the function of wages was not to reward the worker for his labor, but rather wages were intended to bring about a distribution of labor geographically; that is, to induce labor mobility. The H.E.C. study might well have concluded that unions were equally subversive. They went on to say that no further wage increases in the construction industry could be tolerated. Any further wage increases would result in a contraction of the building industry and thus reduce employment.

    We do not need further wage increases in the construction industry. The excessive demands of the construction unions are receiving national and even presidential attention.75
    Aside from the out dated economic theories presented, the memorandum reflected the growing tendency to blame wage increases for the increasing rate of inflation. President Kennedy had called for a national policy of wage restraint. No one, not the H.E.C. nor anyone on the national level, was asking questions about the relative shares of construction costs. Land costs, financing, materials costs all of which are major contributors to cost inflation were not discussed. As usual, wages were trailing behind the other costs of construction. And nowhere was any account taken of the enormous increase in labor productivity.

    It is difficult to grasp the extent of the technological changes in the construction industry. The proliferation of new materials and techniques in the 1960's brought many new workers to the construction site. Dry wall workers, floor and linoleum layers, ceiling and asbestos workers, all became construction workers. Specialty workers, doing limited jobs on each site, they were difficult to organize. "The carpenters, having fewer things to make, lost both craft skill and trade security." 76

    These facts did not alter the campaign to attack wage rates as the principal source of inflation. Although inflation of prices is a complex phenomenon, the media tends to reflect the industry argument that wages are the principal cause of price increases. When the I.L.W.U. won wage increases for the bakery workers in 1962, there was much lamenting about how "bread prices will soar." The wages denounced began at $2.31 per hour and would advance, by 1966, to $3.565 per hour.77   No newspaper story covered the incredible mechanization occurring in the baking industry. The sharp increase in the concentration of ownership in many industries, construction included, with a corresponding decline in competition was seldom mentioned as a factor in price inflation. All of these same arguments were marshalled against the building trades' demands for a living wage and job security.

    By focusing on wage rates, the industry was diverting attention from the significant technological changes in the industry. Wage rates were going up. New tools, new materials, and new industry organization were rapidly lowering the labor cost of a building. Not only were fewer construction workers creating more structures, they were doing it in less time. Even in 1969, carpenter wages accounted for only seven percent of total building cost.78

    The Hawaii Employers Council proved to be a formidable obstacle to labor gains. In the Hawaiian construction industry, those employers utilizing H.E.C. bargaining were able to establish smaller settlements than non Council members. The H.E.C. negotiated an average wage increase of eleven cents per hour as compared to fourteen cents per hour for non Council settlements.79 Any gains for labor came out of hard bargaining and labor unity.

    The 1963 Contract

    Several months before negotiations on the new contract, Jack Reynolds announced that the construction unions were being asked to contribute to a strike fund. Reynolds claimed that the H.E.C. "had taken over the General Contractors Association, and the adoption of the former's hard labor policy makes a strike inevitable when the master contract expires September 1."80   Despite the fact that the G.C.A. negotiator was a former H.E.C. employee and a member of the G.C.A. Labor Committee, Philip Maxwell, H.E.C. president, insisted that the Employers Council was not negotiating for the G.C.A. Reynolds called for a strike fund and urged members to begin to lay in a store of canned goods. Bargaining was to begin in May.81   The second industry wide agreement promised to be a tough one to secure.

    With the expiration of the first industry contract, the unions put forward a new list of demands that represented a long step toward a strong contract that would offer decent wages and good working conditions. These demands, as presented to the General Contractors Association, included: a straight union shop, respect for authorized picket lines, travel time, a hiring hall referral system, a rate for high rise construction, a jointly administered health and welfare fund, an apprentice training fund, and limiting subcontractors to signatories. The employers rejected all of the demands, some more strongly than others. For example, they rejected the demand for limiting subcontractors with no dissent. The demand for a hiring hall was turned down by a two to one margin.82

    Bargaining on this contract was complicated by the lack of unity among the members of the Building and Construction Trades Council. The Carpenters and the General Laborers Union had decided to negotiate their own, separate, contracts. The headquarters of the Local were moved from McCully to Room 308 at 904 Kohou Street on Kapalama Stream in the same building with Local 368 of the Laborers union. The Council was negotiating for the remaining twelve craft unions. On the other side, there was a total of fifty nine general contractors and twelve home builders. These contractors employed some 4,481 construction workers in the various crafts. The Building and Construction Trades Council showed the following employment: Carpenters, 1,462; Laborers, 1,104; Operating Engineers, 770; other trades, 1,025. To these basic tradesmen could be added another 3,054 workers in the auxiliary crafts, such as iron workers, roofers, lathers, plumbers, and plasterers.83

    The construction unions had clearly arrived at a position of strength. A strike in September would paralyze the construction industry on Oahu. One estimate placed the value at $200 million.

    In August, Local 745 voted, some 3,000 strong, to strike if contract negotiations failed by August 31. They were joined by the 1,500 member General Laborers. The carpenters were demanding an increase of $1.55 per hour. Management countered with an offer of 0.78 cents. Beyond this meager wage offer, Reynolds said the employers were discussing "only the weather, tourism and land. They have made no meaningful offer." Stanley Yanagi urged the members to make the strike vote to bring up Hawaii's wages to mainland standards. He said, "This year we are determined to make certain we win parity with the mainland."84

    The negotiations were interrupted when the Laborers Union, angered by non union subcontractors at the Queen Emma and Kuhio Park Terrace projects, put up picket lines. Negotiations broke off immediately.85   Subcontracting was an issue of growing importance. As the size of buildings increased, more and more work was being shifted to sub contractors. Non union workers, high pressure speed up tactics, sub standard wages and frequently poor safety conditions, characterized many subcontractors. The carpenters had made union subcontractors a high priority issue in this contract. The breaking off of negotiations produced a new element in bargaining. Fearing a complete shutdown of the vital construction industry, Governor John Burns formed a team and offered to mediate. William Norwood, aide to the Governor, Robert K. Hasegawa, Deputy Labor Director, and Attorney General Bert Kobayashi, sat in on the negotiations.86

    Long, difficult sessions brought an agreement on the Queen Emma project between the four unions and the fifty member General Contractors Association. Burns expressed the hope that contract negotiations could be resumed immediately so as to avert a total shutdown.

    Negotiations were resumed. A ray of hope appeared when the Plumbers and the Electricians Union reached agreement with the G.C.A. The four basic crafts agreed to extend the old contract on a day to day basis as long as progress toward an agreement continued. There was a general feeling that both sides wanted to avert a walkout.87   The terms won by the plumbers and electricians was a harbinger of good fortune for the others. A union shop, good increases in the pension fund, health and welfare, and a meaningful training fund were established.

    An agreement was rumored on September 14. Before meetings could be held, Art Rutledge jumped into the negotiations, demanding a role for Teamsters who drove for the members of the G.C.A. Rutledge's challenge was reinforced by an agreement between Teamsters Local 996 and the Operating Engineers Local 3. Such an alliance could effectively stop almost any construction project. A complicating factor was that when the Laborers' put up their picket lines at the Queen Emma project in July, the Operating Engineers crossed the lines, claiming a contract forced their move.88   The Building and Construction Trades Council voted to endorse the Teamster demand.

    The Governor's team and federal mediator William Hillenbrand worked through the conflict and presented a settlement acceptable to both sides on September 24. The compromise terms offered were 90 cents per hour over three years; ten cents per hour for pensions, and a union shop. On this point, old employees were given until the end of 1963 to join the union. New hires were given eight days to join.

    An important gain for the union was the adoption of a new job security clause. Whereas the employer had always been the sole judge of competence and had unlimited dismissal rights, this contract specified that dismissal could only be for just cause and prohibited assignment of work outside the craft except where qualified workers were not available.89

    The role of the Governor's office was important to the settlement of the contract. Neither side wanted to contest the strength of Governor Burns. It was generally conceded that he was playing an impartial role, seeking to avoid the disastrous strike which could have hampered the developing boom in the Hawaiian economy.

    The 1963 contract was an important milestone in the development of Local 745. Organizer Larry Shigeura later wrote an article for the monthly newsletter, entitled, "We've Come a Long Way." Looking back to the time when he joined the union in April, 1941, as a helper, he briefly sketched the drastic changes in working conditions, wages, and, above all, the change from a weak union representing a large transient population of mainland carpenters to a union representing a majority of the craft and already beginning to move to the outer islands.90

    After the 1963 contact, efforts to organize the construction industry on the Neighbor Islands picked up in earnest. As part of their drive in sugar and pineapple, the I.L.W.U. succeeded in signing up approximately 150 carpenters on Maui and a handful on the Big Island. An organizing effort in 1959 by the Building Trades council on Maui resulted in a four and a half month strike, involving some 160 building trades workers. Although an agreement was reached with the contractors, a majority of the workers had by then moved to Oahu.91

    The 1967 Contract

    The new found strength and maturity of the Local were put to a severe test in the bargaining for the 1967 contract. As an evidence of the dramatically changed circumstances of 1967, the Local was negotiating with two groups, the Home Builders Association and the General Contractors' Association. The sixty Home Builders employed some 1,400 carpenters and the fifty member G.C.A. only 1,100.92   Despite this fundamental change, the early bargaining on the new contract seemed to be a replay of the 1963 bargaining. The union asked for a three year contract and a wage increase that would effectively end the disparity between wages in Hawaii and craft wages on the mainland. Stanley Yanagi explained that the carpenters had been falling behind the mainland and would require a $1.55 per hour increase, over three years, to end that colonial wage situation.

    Yanagi called for a strike assessment to bolster the union's bargaining position. The resulting vote on the assessment passed. However, the turnout was surprisingly low. The vote was 207 to 115 for the assessment. The leadership decided to make the assessment voluntary in view of the U.B.C.J. constitutional provision for a two thirds majority on such votes. A $15.00 per week voluntary payment was called for in July.93

    The contractors responded to the union demands with an offer of 78 cents per hour spread over five years.94   With the contract ending on August 31, round the clock bargaining was initiated by Governor Burns, just as he had done in 1963. On September 5, 1967, negotiations were broken off at 3:30 a.m. in a deadlock.95

    Yanagi announced that the union had signed with Home Builders' Association and some non G.C.A. contractors. Picket lines were to be set up on a selective basis. The G.C.A. responded with a lockout at all G.C.A. projects, including the new State Capitol Building. This threatened the planned opening of the new building in January, 1968. Both sides began to move from their previous positions. The union's final position was $1.44 over three years and the G.C.A. had come up to $1.10 over five years.

    The Contractors admitted that the carpenter wage was behind other crafts, but they insisted that a five year contract was the most essential need of the industry. Yanagi showed that the gap between the carpenters and the iron workers was more than $1.00 per hour. The agreement with the Home Builders was for a $1.30 package divided between 95 cents for wages and 35 cents for fringe benefits, including contributions to a new training fund.96   This raise would produce an hourly wage of $5.50 by 1970. The Local ratified the Home Builders agreement by a vote of 642 to 158.

    The Home Builders agreement did not end the difficulty. The situation was complicated at this point by the announcement of a Laborers' strike against G.C.A. which would have to be settled before a general return to work. This development put an additional pressure on the negotiating team to reach a basic agreement which would enable subsidiary craft agreements to be reached.

    The eleven day Carpenters' strike was finally resolved when Governor Burns announced a settlement on September 14. The gains were significant. The five year contract gave a $1.83 wage package. Significant boosts in health and welfare and pensions were achieved. A two cent per hour assessment for a joint training fund was established.

    Local 745's newsletter carried a banner headline: "The Best Contract in 745 History." In his monthly column, "Shavings," Yanagi looked back over his years as Financial Secretary and Business Representative, and concluded, "now we have finally come of age." He announced that strikers and those doing picket duty would be paid $6.00 per day, a maximum of $42 for the short strike. Conversely, those working during the strike would contribute an equal amount.97

    The most significant part of this agreement was the final achievement of the three elements necessary for job security: the union shop, the hiring hall, and a "just cause only" dismissal clause. Without these three clauses, the worker is at the complete mercy of the employer, regardless of his skill or performance. Now the competent, conscientious worker had reasonable protection against arbitrary dismissal. These provisions, coupled with an elected shop steward, provided the worker with significant job security.98


    745 Reporter, October 1967

    For many of the members of Local 745, introduction to the craft had come either as an apprentice to a cottage builder or as a worker on one of the plantations. Most of these employers had no pension plans. Many carpenters faced a bleak future at retirement age. The pension plan of the 1967 contract was a first long step toward correcting this inequity problem.

    In January, 1968, the first member to qualify under the Carpenters' Pension Fund was Noburo Yamashita. He had begun work in Hilo in 1920 and then moved to plantation work for many years.

    I was paid $3 a day when I started. I went to work on the plantation at $40 per month, working 48 hours a week. Then I came to Honolulu and worked for contractor Nakamoto for $2.75 per eight hour day. There were no such things as time a half, pensions or medical. Now the carpenters earn more in a day than what it took us a month to earn.99
    Yamashita was only the first of a steadily growing number of old timers who qualified. Some, like Zenichi Hashimoto, second longest in membership, became the fifteenth to qualify for a pension. Although most of his career as a carpenter was spent in Hilo, then a non union town, Hashimoto faithfully maintained his membership in Local 745. The local finally brought him to Honolulu so he could work under a union contract and qualify for pension benefits.100

    Although not a part of the contract, the 1967 strike saw a new development in the community. Tired of hearing from the press and employers about the greed of unions, Local 745 leaders provided an example of the carpenter from a different perspective. Harry Kiyota, Stanley Ito, Carl Levey, Charles Okamura, and Danny Kamiya restored the Moiliili Community Center, repairing and building new staircases, repairing windows and doors, and generally shaping up the heavily used, but aged, community center. As the Union paper put it: "It proves to the community at large that we carpenters are good solid citizens of the community where we and our families work, live, and play."101

    In another significant development after the 1967 contract, Local 745 reached an agreement in 1968 to absorb I.L.W.U. carpenter members on Maui. Walter Kupau, newly appointed administrative assistant to the Financial Secretary, met with Jack Hall, Regional Director of the I.L.W.U. to work out an agreement to shift all the carpenters into Local 745. Also involved in these discussions were Elmo Samson of the Laborers Union, Jack Reynolds of the Building and Construction Trades Council, and Blackie Fujikawa of the State Federation. Kupau and Hall agreed that all the carpenters should be in one union to prevent rivalry which would weaken labor. After some persuasion, the others, including the Maui I.L.W.U., agreed. In exchange for an agreement not to raid or interfere with building materials firms and cabinet shops organized by the I.L.W.U., the transfer was made. The transfer terms included a far reaching agreement on cooperation and support for the organizing activities of both unions.102   An important voice on Maui that helped make this agreement possible for the Carpenters was their star island organizer, Mamoru "Mamo" Okuda. He was not only the Business Agent and chief organizer for the Local but also headed the jointly operated offices of the Building Trades Council on that island.103

    At the same time that the agreement was reached with the I.L.W.U., the Maui members of Local 745, tiring of the foot dragging tactics of the contractors in their negotiations, took a strike vote. They voted unanimously to strike unless the contractors agreed to the same terms and conditions existing in Honolulu. The show of unity apparently convinced the contractors. Once and for all, the Local put an end to "second class" conditions on the Neighbor Islands.

    Meanwhile, Stanley Yanagi appointed three new organizers to deal with non union carpenters throughout the state. Stanley Ito, Wilbert Morikawa and Ronald Yang were selected to head an organizing drive.104   Membership began to grow and reached significant levels in a few years: Maui, 900; Kauai, 600; and Hawaii, 650.

    In Honolulu, the Local scored again after a short strike in early 1968 at Hicks Homes. After repeated demands for changes in the standard contract, the workers got tired of waiting and struck. The Company quickly signed a satisfactory agreement.105

    The Apprentice Training Program

    The training fund established in the 1967 contract was quickly implemented. In November 1968, Robert C. Knight, Executive Secretary of the State Federation of Labor, was selected to head the apprentice training program. Former Local 745 President, Carl Levey, was appointed to represent the local and to assist in the training. The program initiated by these two men was a unique blend of education and hands on training. The initial program was to train 600 new apprentices. Later, a program for re training and up grading journeymen carpenters was to be undertaken.106

    No longer could apprentices hand in contractors' timesheets as evidence of training. Levey had experience in the old training program run by the State, serving as President of the Apprenticeship Board for three years. He also shared instructional duties in the program with Sueo Kawakami, long time member of the union and an instructor in the vocational program at Honolulu Technical School.

    The apprentice training program, under Bob Knight's leadership and supported by employer contributions, took a new direction. Classroom instruction was combined with "hands on training".

    Each kid would have to go through a continuous program from the time he took up a hammer, learned how to saw, use a chisel, set doors, box or hang doors we innovated all that. They had to learn to use the framing square and they were graded on all of that.107
    Levey measured the success of the program by the fact that in one chance visit to a lumber yard, he met five former apprentices who were now independent contractors.

    Faced with a potential shortage of skilled workers, the training program was an important addition to local employment opportunities. Without the program, it would have been necessary to again import workers from the mainland. At its peak, the program graduated 300 apprentices every six weeks. These apprentices worked on the job under journeymen supervision for three years before being admitted to full craftsmen status in the union.

    An important feature of the training program was the journeyman training offered. Working carpenters were offered the opportunity to acquire new skills and to deal with the rapidly changing technology of construction. New materials now in common use and new high rise techniques were essential for journeymen if they were to maintain their skill level and job security. The comprehensive nature of the training insured that those emerging from the program would be able to hold their own on the job as journeymen carpenters.

    Prior to this joint labor management training program, there was only an indifferently administered apprenticeship program under territorial/state administration, and the more effective vocational school programs. These latter programs turned out a limited number of students each year. At Honolulu Technical School, later Honolulu Community College, Sueo Kawakami introduced his students to the skills of carpentry and to the fact of the union and its role in the industry. Coming out of a long apprenticeship as a "cottage builder", Kawakami first became aware of the Carpenters Union when he joined the rapid expansion of Pearl Harbor in 1941. As soon as he became aware of the union, he joined and remained an active member. From 1959 until the establishment of the joint training fund, his program was the only one offering O'ahu youth an opportunity to learn a craft and to learn about the union movement. Trained in the traditional Japanese methods of construction and continuing to work summers on construction jobs, Kawakami confronted the problem of rapidly changing techniques. During his work career, concrete forms changed radically from ship lap forms to resin treated plywood and metal forms. These changing technologies and new materials made the apprentice training program a matter of great importance. No longer would young men come into the craft without knowing about the union, and forced to acquire skills on a catch as catch can basis.

    An early effort to insure that succeeding generations of carpenters would have the necessary training and experience to carry on the craft. Walter Kupau, president of the State Federation, took the unusual step of setting up a pre apprenticeship program in Waimanalo. The youth of this community had long been the subject of ridicule and abuse. Initially, the program signed up nineteen youths in an eight week program. Aided by the State Department of Labor, trainees were paid $50 per week, provided a set of tools to use during the course. On completion of the course, the trainees could enroll in the regular apprenticeship program. The program was marked by a simplicity lacking in other state and federal programs. Robert Knight, Director of the apprentice program, said, "Labor and government moved faster than they ever could under any federal program."108

    Alcan L.S.I.

    As land and financing costs rose in the United States, many areas turned to mobile homes and prefabricated houses. Built on assembly lines by largely unskilled workers, this form of housing cut sharply into the carpenter job pool. These came to Hawaii in 1969. Local 745 Administrative Assistant Walter Kupau quickly pointed to the illusory quality of these "homes". When land and financing costs were added, these prefabs equalled or exceeded the construction costs of the traditional small home. A one bedroom duplex unit was priced at approximately $15,000, delivered to the site. Kupau explained, "...you can get an adequate, three bedroom house built right here and now for $15,000. Houses in Waipahu were being built for $13,100, "but the price to the buyer is $25,000."109   The difference was in the cost of the land, development costs, and financing.

    The following year, a mainland conglomerate, Alcan Lear Sigler Industries (Alcan LSI) arrived in Hawaii, announcing that their Hawaii factory would build homes to sell for $13,000. Newly elected State Federation of Labor President Walter Kupau once again denounced the misleading figures, as did the AFL CIO Building Trades Council Executive Secretary Jack Reynolds. Their press conference showed the price of the Alcan LSI house to be at least $27,000 when all costs were considered. Kupau calculated that such factory built homes would result in a loss of 6,500 building trades workers. The unions quickly pointed out that the State could release more land for homesites and develop low interest financing for workers as a real solution to Hawaii's housing problem.110

    The Local negotiated a contract with Alcan LSI in 1971, covering 750 factory workers. A total of 4,000 homes were planned. The contract provided a top pay of $6.13, plus fringe benefits of medical, dental, and life insurance. This brought the factory workers to the level of the carpenters' basic contract.111

    Recession Times, 1970s

    A new complication in the union struggle to win decent wages and working conditions surfaced in 1971. The deteriorating economic condition of the United States economy led President Nixon to proclaim a wage freeze and to suspended the Davis Bacon act covering federal construction projects. The impact of the escalating costs of the war in Vietnam were responsible for this move. Once again Hawaii's workers were under federal pay constraints. Further complicating the picture was the sharp downturn in construction. The 43 day longshore strike had dried up the supply of building materials and the construction boom of 1969 70 was coming to an end.112   The federal Pay Board finally approved the remaining terms of the 1970 contract which cleared the way for a 25cent raise due on August 31. The year was ending better than it began.

    Local 745 was now the largest carpenter local in the United States. The great strides made in the 1967 contract were up for renegotiation in 1972. Construction industry employment had declined somewhat. The union was confident, however, and made plans for vigorous bargaining. A strike fund assessment of $5 per month was levied in May.

    In the midst of these preparations, the union squared off for another of its hotly contested leadership elections. Long time financial secretary and business representative, Stanley Yanagi, was challenged by former president, Charles Yamamoto. In a close contest, Yanagi defeated Yamamoto by 424 votes.113   A critic of the union leadership for many years, Yamamoto had led the revolt against domination by the International officers in 1959. That dispute resulted in the removal of International representative, Charles Nichols. Yamamoto and a group of dissidents left the U.B.C.J. and formed an independent union. Within a few months, the International had patched up the dispute and restored local control to the Union.

    As the expiration date of the contract drew near, the local took a strike vote. The members authorized a strike, 1,864 to 107, should negotiations fail.

    In the past, contract negotiations were conducted by groups -the four basic craft unions, the subsidiary construction crafts, home builders, and cabinet makers.114   Industry now proposed a joint negotiation process: industry meeting with all fourteen craft unions.

    In October, the leadership brought a contract to the membership that was described as "revolutionary". It would bring Hawaii's carpenters from a rank of fourteenth in wages and benefits in the construction industry, to the rank of fourth. The contract provisions designed by Walter Kupau, Administrative Assistant, were to deal with the fact that the carpenters had fallen seriously behind the other building trades unions. Limited by the Johnson administration's Wage Board policies of trying to confine wage increases to six percent, the wage portion met that requirement. The great change was the novel method of "adjustment".

    Three adjustments, beginning in 1975 and continuing to 1977, were planned. The first would give one third of the difference of the average between the top five scales and the carpenters' scale. In March, 1976, one half of the difference of the average, and in March, 1977, a final adjustment, would bring the wage and benefit package to $11.84 per hour. Other new features were double time for all overtime and holidays, an additional paid holiday making nine all together, a vacation holiday fund, and a working foreman pay base of $7.13 plus fringe benefits.

    Despite the rapid changes in the Hawaiian economy and the great expansion of the construction industry, Local 745's governing structure remained remarkably stable. The presidency frequently changed hands, as did some of the other eleven elected positions in hotly contested elections. The one exception was the position of the Financial Secretary. This office was sometimes combined with that of the Business Representative. From 1953 until his death in 1977, the Financial Secretary was Stanley S. Yanagi.

    Despite this long term leadership, by the 1970's the rate of retirement was bringing substantial changes. Larry Shigeura, who with Yasuo "Sleepy" Hokama and Stanley Ito, had done much of the critical organizing in the decade of the 1960's, retired. From his days as a carpenter's helper in 1941 to his final job as organizer and editor of the Local's newsletter, Shigeura had participated in all of the struggles of building the union. He saw it grow from a small, ineffective organization to a union with twelve units covering the state, including drywall, lathers, and factory workers.

    The union now had to hold an annual meeting to bring the diverse members together for policy decisions. The first of these meetings was held on August 18, 1972, at the Ilikai Hotel. This two day convention was to become a regular part of the Local's activities. Recalling the days when Yanagi had to furnish the union office out of his own pocket and there was frequently no money to pay staff, Shigeura concluded the Local had come a long way.115   Now, industry leaders and state officials came to the conventions as guest speakers.

    Shortly after the first annual meeting in 1972, the Local moved into a new and spacious building of its own. Dedicated as the Stanley S. Yanagi Building, in honor of his long service to the Local, the occasion brought together many participants in the Local's history. Among them were Charles Nichols and General President William Sidell of the International.116


    Dedication of the Carpenters' Building, May 19, 1973. From left to right: Charles E. Nichols, General Treasurer of the International; Mrs Stanley Yanagi; Stanlet "Maui" Yanagi, Financial Secretary and Business Representative of the local; and William Sidell, President of the International. Hawaii Carpenter, June 22, 1973


    Local 745's Honolulu Headquarters since 1973 at 1311 Houghtailing Street, Honolulu, Hawai'i

    As the time for the 1975 union elections drew near, there was speculation that Stanley Yanagi would step down. nearing age sixty five and having held the position for twenty one years, he toyed with the notion of retiring. Yamamoto announced he would try a third time for the position. Another candidate was Administrative Assistant Walter Kupau. He had held his position for seven and half years and had been President of the State Federation of Labor for five years. Kupau was quickly removed from his key administrative position, and demoted to organizer.117   Yanagi later charged that the State Federation of Labor was unduly biased and was interfering in the internal affairs of the local. The Executive Board of Local 745 voted to leave the State Federation. Yanagi swept to another victory, 2,959 to 1,031 over Kupau. Subsequent complaints of unfair election tactics were dismissed.118   Yanagi later charged that the State Federation of Labor was unduly biased and was interfering in the internal affairs of the Local. The Executive oard of Local 745 voted to leave the State Federation.119

    As the 1972 contract drew to a close, the carpenters' pension, receiving the second adjustment, went from a maximum of $450 per month to $600. This was exceeded only by the I.B.E.W. pension, long the highest in the industry. This good news was accompanied by the bad news that some 600 carpenters were unemployed in the 7,000 man local.

    Over the years construction workers have had to suffer from bust-boom employment cycles which would often mean forced overtime during boom periods and lay-offs or "sitting on the bench" as its called during low periods. Failing to understand the unpredictable nature of construction work, the public has rarely had any sympathy for the workers' attempts to improve their wages and benefits. Learning what the hourly wage of a Carpenter is, the average person commonly multiplies it times 40 hours a week and assumes, quite mistakenly, that's what a Carpenter is likely to make in a week, and that times 52 is the Carpenter's annual salary. Few realize that the average Carpenter in any given year may only have had that kind if work for twenty or thirty weeks.

    In the 1970s Construction workers faced a new problem which threatened to reduce even more the few months in a year they were likely to find work. Reflecting on the great changes that the state and particularly Honolulu had undergone in the 60s, new movements rose up in the community opposing further development and seeking to bring a complete halt to construction. The Council of the City and County of Honolulu went so far as to propose a moratorium in 1976. On December 3rd, thousands of members of Local 745 together with even more members of the other Building Trades unions marched on City Hall in protest.


    The Union March to City Hall on Friday, December 3, 1976, Honolulu, Hawai'i

    The politicians had made the mistake of assuming that the pleas of the union leaders they had heard did not represent a truly public interest. On December 3, according to press estimates, 5000 workers marched down Kapi'olani Boulevard from the Blaisdell Center to City Hall in order to demonstrate that they were tax-paying, voting members of the public as much as anyone else.120

    Walter Kupau:

    Despite Stanley Yanagi's overwhelming victory in 1975 over his former administrative aid, Walter Kupau, it was clear Yanagi's health was flagging and change was inevitable. Kupau was just as clearly the most able leader in the local. The son of an Army officer, he was born in Kalihi in 1937. Growing up in that poorer and notoriously rough-neck part of Honolulu, Kupau is one of an ever decreasing minority of indigenous Hawaiians, who have been struggling without much success for cultural identity in the state's American institutions.121   Though his family was able to send him to a local parochial high school for a time, like many Native Hawaiians he had difficulty adjusting to formal education. Eventually his family sent him to live with relatives in San Francisco.122   He graduated from high school there and spent three years in the Army Corps of Engineers. After that, he returned to Hawaii and started working first as a construction laborer then, in the early 60s, he worked his way through the union apprenticeship program and began work as a union carpenter.

    In 1965 he was elected job steward for the workers at the Lagoon Towers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and began a rapid rise through the union's leadership. He quickly developed a reputation as a "go for broke" union organizer, but he was also an avid supporter of community associations and projects that focused on the improvement of poor Hawaiian community in the Kalihi-Palama neighborhood of downtown Honolulu. He organized the Palama Athletic Association to raise money for uniforms and playing equipment and helped Palama Settlement build a new boxing ring. In the late 60s with help from Governor Burns, he set up a training program for delinquent teen-agers in Waimanalo's 77-acre "Sherwood Forest" into the Carpenters' apprenticeship program.123

    From the beginning, Kupau became well known for his bold political endorsements. When the State Federation of Labor's COPE (Committee on Political Education) endorsed a city council slate opposed to then councilman Matsuo Takabuki, Kupau broke the Carpenters away from the federation and campaigned vigorously for Takabuki and against Mayoral candidate Frank Fasi. The following year, he was elected President of the Hawaii State AFL-CIO in what turned out to be a referendum to support Governor Burns' for re-election over those in the federation who supported the bid being made by Lt. Governor Thomas Gill.124   In the 80s and 90s Kupau would become a major supporter of Mayor Fasi and disaffected with Burns' democratic successors, Governors Ariyoshi and Waihee, despite totally opposite endorsement trends in the rest of the State AFL-CIO.125

    President of the State AFL-CIO from 1969 to 1984, he was in the early 70s serving as the Administrative Assistant to the former Financial Secretary of the Carpenters' local, Stanley Yanagi. He ran against Yanagi in 1975 for that position and lost, though he won re-election as president of the State AFL-CIO.

    Walter Kupau
    Local 745's Financial Secretary and Business Representative, 1979-1999
    Reprinted by permission
    Honolulu Advertiser, October 6, 1977

    In 1977 Kupau launched a campaign to stop what he believed was organized crime's attempt to gain control of the state's key construction unions, naming Henry Huihui and Wilfred "Nappy" Pulawa as the two most notorious criminal figures in that effort.126   Then in 1978, almost a year after Stanley Yanagi passed away, Walter Kupau won election in a hotly contested race against Yanagi's hand-picked successor. In a rare example of intervention, the president of the union's International office in Washington D.C. moved to disqualify Kupau. A Federal Judge finally ordered his installation over the objections of the mainland officers. The International's role in this dispute would, of course, leave a deep breach between Walter Kupau and the mainland officials.

    The Turbulent Year: 1977

    Easily the most confusing and turbulent year in the history of the Hawaiian construction trades, 1977 featured the longest industry strike ever. The ironworkers struck for almost five months, effectively shutting down all major construction projects. Without the ironworkers "re bar" work, there is no concrete construction. Although workers continued for a time, using the "free" gate imposed by the N.L.R.B., this soon came to an end without the reinforcing bars in place. Whenever iron moved onto a site, the ironworkers promptly picketed the entire site. Despite the construction slump then affecting Hawaii, the Ironworkers, 850 strong, were militant. They rejected two successive contract proposals.

    In October, the Carpenters quietly reached a three year agreement which provided raises of sixty five, seventy and seventy five cents in successive years. Just prior to this agreement, Stanley Yanagi passed away on August 7, 1977. He was succeeded by Masayuki Yamamoto, who would serve until the next scheduled election in May 1978.

    Perhaps reflecting the turbulence and uncertainty affecting labor negotiations in that year, the rank and file rejected the $2.10 package in October, 1977.127   A new agreement was subsequently presented which gave a wage package of $2.40 per hour, including $1.00 per hour for vacation pay.

    The three year agreement raised the wage package from $13.47 to $15.87 by 1980. A tenth paid holiday was added. The industry added a new feature. Two cents per hour was established for "Industrial Improvement." This fund was ear marked for education, market development, safety, pollution control, public relations and research in the industry.128   The contract also carried a provision that there would be no restrictions imposed on the use of tools or equipment and "no rules, customs, or practices", which would limit production or increase work time or the number of employees.129

    Clearly, the gains in the two decades since the first industry wide contract had come at the cost of fully admitting new technology and new materials. The respectable wages and benefits were accompanied by an enormous increase in worker productivity.130   As it had in sugar, pineapple, and longshore industries, construction work had become highly mechanized. Many journeymen carpenters now had little opportunity to use the traditional kit of wood working tools. In 1953, the contract with the military contractors contained a list of the tools each carpenter was required to bring to the job. The list was made of thirty hand tools. These tools, with the possible exception of the "yankee drill", the hack saw, and the tin snips, could have been in any carpenter's tool box of one hundred years ago. They were the basic wood working tools.

    Technical advances in building techniques were far reaching in this decade. New tools and new materials required new training. In 1978, the Local was offering courses to journeymen in the use of metal studs and beams. A carpenter would need about forty hours of welding training to qualify to use these beams in construction. By May, 1979, one large contractor was building the Waipio Gentry tract using metal beams instead of wood studs. As the Newsletter editor remarked, "As a matter of fact, there isn't any wood in the project except for cabinets and doors and some trim."131

    Beverly Allen
    Local 745's first woman
    Journeyman,
    Hawaii Carpenter, May 25, 1979

    Another important change in the union came with the admission of the first group of women to the apprenticeship program. In April of 1979 Beverly Allen became the first woman "journeyman" admitted to the local.132   Women had been members of the local since the war years. Elsie Chong, for instance, was the first woman to retire from the local in 1975, and she had joined the union in an organizing drive dating back to 1941. Though not a journeyman carpenter she came in as a "Sash and door" worker and remained with the union's bargaining unit even as she moved on to the company's book keeping.133   Similarly in the late sixties the local accepted eight women shop helpers hired by Commercial Consultants and Constructors, Inc. which had the contract to make office furniture for the new state capitol. Hired without the long apprenticeship training required of journeymen carpenters were Mary Molina, Mabel Kong, Lillian Takaesu, Karen Koga, Marjorie Perreira, Pahukoa Morse, Shirley Torres, Patsy Zukemura, and Eleanor Reizer.134

    Despite the internal confusion in Local 745, the contenders kept their eye on the main issue: improving the wages, hours, and working conditions of the members. Tired of hearing the complaints about the high cost of union labor, the leadership began a campaign against shoddy contracting. Recognizing that the craftsman does not select the building materials and does not participate in the drafting of plans, the local's public campaign drew attention to shoddy contracting. Kona, on the island of Hawaii, was singled out as an example of poor quality. Non union contractors, paying only half the union scale, were selling their "jerry built" structures for high prices.135

    NOTES:

    1. HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    2. Thomas K. Hitch, Economic Indicators (Bank of Hawaii, April 1962).
    3. Moore Drydock, 92 N.L.R.B. 541, 19.
    4. Fanning, Speech, 4; HEC/GCA Contract Files, June 12, 1962, MF #25.
    5. HEC, Memo, April 12, 1962, HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    6. Honolulu Advertiser, July 5, 1962.
    7. HEC, Memo, June 29, 1962, HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    8. Reckman, "The Carpenter," 87.
    9. HEC, Memo, June 6, 1962, HEC/GCA Contract Files, MF #25.
    10. Reckman, "The Carpenter," 96.
    11. Hawaii Employers Council, "Wage Summary: Construction Industry, 1947 1961" (Honolulu: April 1962`): Table 1.
    12. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 7, 1963.
    13. Ibid.
    14. HEC/GCA, Negotiations, 1963 contract, MF #25.
    15. Walters Eli, "Report on Medical Coverage," HEC/GCA Contract Files, July 1, 1963, MF #25.
    16. Honolulu Advertiser, August 9, 1963.
    17. Hawaii Times, July 25, 1963.
    18. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 20, 1963.
    19. Ibid., August 31, 1963.
    20. Ibid., September 20, 1963.
    21. HEC/GCA Contract Files, 1945 1967, MF #25.
    22. Shigeura correspondence, November 1, 1967; 745 Reporter, October 1967.
    23. Honolulu Advertiser, December 16, l969.
    24. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 5, 1967.
    25. 745 Reporter, Ju1y 17, 1967.
    26. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 23, 1967.
    27. Ibid., September 5, 1967.
    28. Ibid., September 7, 1963.
    29. 745 Reporter, October 1967.
    30. Honolulu Star-Bu1letin, September 18, 1967.
    31. 745 Reporter, January 1968.
    32. Hawaii Carpenter, June 16, 1969.
    33. 745 Reporter, October 1967.
    34. Interview, Walter Kupau, August 23, 1981; 745 Reporter, February 1968.
    35. Hawaii Carpenter, February 23, l973.
    36. 745 Reporter, January 1968.
    37. Ibid., February 1968.
    38. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 19, 1968; Interview, Carl Levey, August 26, 1981.
    39. Interview, Carl Levey, August 26, 1981.
    40. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 6, 1969.
    41. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 7, 1969; ; see also Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 20, 1970 and Honolulu Advertiser, March 25, 1970.
    42. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 7, August 23, 1969; Honolulu Advertiser, March 3, 1970; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 30, 31, 1970.
    43. Honolulu Advertiser, May 28, 1971.
    44. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 12, 1971.
    45. Hawaii Carpenter, July 21, 1977; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 28, 1972.
    46. Hawaii Carpenter, September 22, 1972.
    47. Ibid., January 22, 1972; March 25, 1972; August 18, 1972.
    48. Ibid., June 22, 1973.
    49. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 16, 1975.
    50. Ibid., March 17, 1975.
    51. Ibid., June 24, 1975.
    52. "Construction Protest Ties Traffic Up," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 3, l976.
    53. Russ Lynch, "It's a Rough Road for Young Leader of Labor Group," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 13, 1969.
    54. Victor Lipman, "Interview with Walter Kupau," Honolulu Magazine February 1985: 33.
    55. Honolulu Advertiser, February 23, 1973.
    56. Lynch
    57. Honolulu Advertiser, October 8, 1982.
    58. Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 18, 1977.
    59. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 31, 1977.
    60. HEC/GCA Contract Files, Contracts 1977 1980, MF #25.
    61. 1977 Contract, p. 15.
    62. Reckman, "The Carpenter," 90 92.
    63. Hawaii Carpenter, February 24, 1978.
    64. Ibid., January 20, 1976. May 26, 1979.
    65. Ibid., 1975
    66. Ibid., February 1969; Hawaii State AFL-CIO News, February 1969.
    67. Hawaii Carpenter, February 19, 1980.


     

    Part VII: New Foes and New Problems: The 1980s

    As the Local emerged into the 1980s showing great strength and gains, both as a union and as a community force, new attacks confronted the union.136

    Walter Kupau had already earned a reputation as a colorful, but aggressive union activist, unafraid to speak up for labor, or to express his own opinions in a local style of oratory that, in the 60s, the press originally found refreshing and entertaining if not sympathetic copy. But had at the same time had made for him a long list of powerful adversaries.

    In February of 1980 Kupau led the local back into active membership in the Hawaii State AFL-CIO. Since 1969, Walter Kupau had been the President of the state federation of AFL-CIO affiliates. A local's membership in the state federation does not automatically follow its international affiliation with the AFL-CIO. State federations operate independently and member locals must pay a separate per-capita dues to belong. When Kupau challenged Stanley Yanagi for the leadership of the local in 1975, Yanagi stopped paying per-capitas to the federation in protest and kept the local out until Kupau was able to secure enough support to bring it back into the fold five years later.137

    Kupau's avowed goal in both the 1975 and 1978 union elections was to double the union's membership and increase unionization of the state's building contractors. In 1980 his leadership was put to the test. In a not uncommon scenario, the employers association was preparing to test the mettle of new leader in the up-coming negotiations for the local's master agreement.138

    In the summer of 1979, for instance, the W.R. Hamilton Construction Company of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island (the island of Hawai`i) was trying to build a 76-unit condominium at Waikoloa. To add insult to injury, Hamilton had actually applied for and received a $916,000 loan partially financing the project from the Carpenters Union's own pension fund.139


    Local 745's Kona Business Agent, Taka Fujitani (left) speaking to W.R. Hamilton, General Contractor of the Paniolo Club Condominium project at Waikoloa, Hawaii Carpenter, Setember 21, 1979

    Local 745's Kona Business Agent, Taka Fujitani set up an Area Standards picket line on the project on August 13, protesting the fact that Hamilton was paying substandard wages. The project was completely shut down. On August 22, Mr. Hamilton called Walter Kupau and indicated his interest in signing a union contract.

    The 1980 Contract

    Negotiations for the 1980 contract took a new turn. Preparation began early in the year. The membership was bluntly told: "Each member has the responsibility of making sure that he will be able to stand the economic pressure of going without a paycheck." 140   Strike strategy committees were set up to advise unit members and to assist them in preparing themselves for a strike, if that should be necessary. At the same time, members were asked to express themselves on the important issues to be negotiated in the contract.

    In the midst of these preparations, the union received news that Hawaii Employers Council alone would conduct the negotiations for the General Contractors Association. In prior negotiations, the H.E.C. had always acted only in an advisory capacity, albeit a very important advisory capacity.141   The union countered this move by pointing out that it was not necessary for the members of the G.C.A. and the Home Builders Association to surrender their organizational rights. They could retain their membership in their trade associations despite any possible disagreement with H.E.C. tactics.

    A strike vote by the units returned a ninety two percent margin in favor of calling a strike should negotiations fail. A strike workshop was established to prepare shop stewards to carry out the Local's strategy. Community Service Committees were set up to deal with member problems of unemployment compensation, food stamps, and problems of welfare assistance. All of these steps were designed to convince the employers that any strike would be solid and as long lasting as required. The Local was determined to bring the membership to as high a pitch of efficiency as they could manage.

    When negotiations broke down on September 2, a policy of shutting down the major projects began. Targeting the larger contractors and projects was meant to put pressure for an early settlement. These steps of union solidarity and a successful shutdown of the major projects convinced the employers to reach a settlement. They came back to the table on September 19 and reached a settlement that same day.

    The settlement was an outstanding victory for the Local. A wage gain of forty seven percent over four years was only part of the victory. By the end of the contract in 1984, the journeyman pay rate would be $17.40 per hour. This wage gain brought the carpenters up to the level of the highest paid craft unions, the Operating Engineers and the Electricians, a long sought goal. Considering that this was the first strike for the Local since 1967, it was an impressive showing.

    An important development was the requirement that any discharged member be given the reasons for the discharge in writing within twenty four hours. Added to the "just cause only" dismissal clause, carpenters now had a reasonable protection against arbitrary dismissal.142   The union also won the point of having each contractor sign the contract individually, to prevent H.E.C. domination.

    At the same time, the strike drove a bitter wedge between the Carpenters and some of the more conservative unions in the Building Trades Council that resulted in three of the major unions crossing the Carpenters' picket lines during the latter half of the strike.143   The problem of other crafts doing the work of carpenters was reduced somewhat when the Local absorbed the Lathers Union, Local 491 L. As Unit 12, the Lathers were added to the Drywall Unit, the Factory Unit, and the more traditional sectors of the trade. In December, 1980, after the merger, the Lathers concluded their best ever contract. The Drywall agreement, negotiated earlier that month was also a significant step forward, including significant improvement in the contract language and a hefty forty eight percent pay increase over four years.144

    For the first time in several elections, Local 745's officers carried off their 1981 campaigns in a spirited, but union oriented manner. Four candidates vied for the post of Financial Secretary: Stanley Ito, Masayuki Yamamoto, George Mochizuki and Walter Kupau. For the first time in many years, there were no challenges to the validity of the rank and file decision. The new slate of officers, headed by Walter Kupau, was installed within one week of the voting.

    As a mark of maturity, the Local was the subject of a two part television documentary on the Public Broadcasting Channel 11 program, Rice and Roses. Entitled "The Carpenters Union in Action", it was an in depth probe of the workings of the union and the day to day experiences of the journeyman carpenter. This, too, was "the mark of a good union."145

    In 1981 the mill workers were faced with a serious strike. The fifteen companies refused to pay the wage increases negotiated for the last contract. Management insisted that the contract called for percentage increases in only certain areas and not across the board. This resulted in a six week strike, with the issue submitted to arbitration. Through the efforts of Federal mediator Gayle Wineriter, an agreement was reached which provided an across the board increase of $1.25 while a decision was reached as to whether to use the percentage formula of management.146

    These difficulties were a prelude to a downturn in the construction industry. Pension increases due in 1982 raised the issue of the number of pensioners and the extent of the unfunded vested liability. Pensioners who retired before November 1, 1981 received a 20% increase in their pension. Future pensioners would receive a maximum of $900 per month. Management rejected no less than seven proposals put forward by the union, finally agreeing to accept the best proposal if the union would assist in eliminating the unfunded vested liability over a period of ten years. The union agreed to raise the pension contribution 5 cents in 1983 84 to help pay for the increases.147

    In April, 1982, the Union voted to increase dues. The rate was set at 2.2 times the hourly journeyman rate, plus the International per capita. This meant $33.50 per month, instead of 32.00. Apprentice dues were raised from $24.00 to $25.00. Similar increases were levied on millworkers, retired, and out of trade members.

    The construction industry was hard hit by the Reagan administration policy of high interest rates as a means of curbing inflation. The unemployment effect was especially severe in the construction field. With a large number of members unemployed, the union began to consider the problem of a dues reduction. Bound by International rules on delinquency, the Executive Board agreed to raise the issue at the Bi annual meeting. The concept of lesser dues for unemployed or a working dues was a possibility. The Health and Welfare Trust Fund removed some of the pain of the dues increase with the announcement of a major new benefit for members a far reaching dental plan, offering full dental service for a flat fee of $2.00 per visit.

    The tight money problems of the economy were reflected in increasing pressure from employers for wage concessions. As contracts were opened in the construction industry, management was demanding give backs and "work recovery programs". This term was used to mean lower wage rates and reductions in fringe benefits on the smaller building contracts.

    In May 1982, Walter Kupau was elected president of the AFL CIO Building and Construction Trades Council. Kupau was also President of the State Federation of Labor. He urged an expansion of service and training programs, along with a more vigorous organizing effort. Labor had allowed non union companies to go unchallenged. Organizing efforts had declined markedly in the decade. In 1975, Hawaii unions filed 184 certification petitions. In 1982, only 53 petitions were filed. Of the resulting 41 elections, unions won only nine. All were small units, the largest being only 37 employees. These numbers reflected the shift in the economy to service sector activities and white collar work.148

    The year 1983 saw a sharp increase in the demands for "work recovery programs" in the construction industry. Three of the four basic construction unions had agreed to such demands: laborers, operating engineers, and the masons. These did not include wage cuts as such, but focussed on work categories, starting times, overtime. The building industry journal said, "Work recovery programs initiated in this year's [1983] contracts, in general, allow certain small sized private construction jobs to be performed by union workers at less than union pay scales."149

    These conditions were reflected in the fall in membership numbers. In 1972, Local 745 had 7,000 members. In 1983, the number had dropped to 5,600. The recorded work hours for the four basic construction unions dropped from 17.8 million hours in 1980 to 10.5 million in 1982, a decrease of over 40%. Against these doleful figures, it is important to remember the progress of the Union. When Stanley Yanagi negotiated the Mid Pacific contract in 1953 with the first modified union shop and union security clause, the union had only 200 members. Master agreements were not reached until the end of the 1950s. In 1960, union carpenters had reached a wage level of $3.70 per hour and the union's first medical plan.150

    Accompanying these significant wage and benefit gains, however, were equally significant technological changes in construction techniques. These could have spelled disaster for the carpenters had the Union not moved aggressively to protect the building tradesman. The Union met this challenge with aggressive organizing, bringing in drywall workers, ceiling and asbestos and floor workers. This helped to reduce the old tactic of playing one group of workers against another.

    A New Threat

    The Reagan recession of 1981 82 reached Hawai'i with a vengeance in 1983. Unions were giving large concessions, as for example, the I.L.W.U. in sugar and pineapple. The Operating Engineers had 30% unemployment among its members. Worse, by June 1983, about one fourth of all construction in Hawaii was non union. The union smashing which began with the Air Traffic Controllers quickly spread to other fields, encouraged by the National Labor Relations Board and the poor economic conditions.

    The union baiting soon came to Local 745. Trying to meet the rise of non union construction with more vigorous organizing, the Local fell victim to a legal trap in June 1981 when a contractor filed unfair labor practices charges against the union.

    The National Labor Relations Act, with its Taft Hartley amendments, poses many obstacles to organizing, placing legal barriers in the way of normal or traditional organizing methods. These barriers include rules for organizing which do not recognize the employment characteristics of the construction industry. For many years after the formation of the N.L.R.B., they held off formulating rules for the construction industry. The law does not permit picketing for purely organizing purposes. It does permit so called "informational picketing" in which the union may proclaim through its pickets that this particular job is non union, paying substandard wages, or engaging in other non union activities.151   The union obviously wants the particular job to become union. The informational picketing is designed to use public pressure and exposure to bring the contractor around.

    The Local picketed a non union site on Maui. The contractor met with the two organizers and secretly taped conversations. It was later charged that the organizers threatened to torch the non union constructions. This charge, although repeatedly displayed by the press, was ultimately dropped because the tapes contained no such threats. The two organizers instead were charged in 1983 with perjury: they lied when they said that they were not conducting an organizational picket line. Their conviction turned on strange interpretations of the local dialect, pidgin. The courts refused to permit linguists to testify for the defense. The organizers were convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment.

    The attack then moved to the head of the union, Walter Kupau. He was charged with seven counts of perjury and again secretly taped phone conversations were used in evidence. None showed any of the charges of terroristic threatening that was featured prominently in the Honolulu Advertiser, in headline after headline. A dispute involving a construction foreman at Mililani Town resulted in felony charges being filed against Kupau. His only role was as the driver of the van which took the organizers to the site. The charges were dropped in court but continued to be used in the press. Kupau was convicted on six counts of perjury and sentenced to two years in prison.

    Both trials revealed the deep bias of the metropolitan press against labor. Anything the defendants did to prove their innocence was reported in the Advertiser as demonstrating their guilt. One example will suffice. A Freedom of Information Act request was portrayed as an evidence of guilt since, the newspaper alleged, only criminals asked for such materials. This guilt by association characterized the whole episode.

    Clearly designed to smash the Local, the effort extended to attempts to remove Kupau from his post as President of the State Federation of Labor. Forced out of that position by the AFL CIO, the Local resisted efforts of the I.B.C.J. executives to force Kupau to resigned as Financial Secretary. William Puette's study concluded:

    From the beginning, Kupau had insisted that this case was engineered by the federal government in order to stop the spread of union organizing in Hawaii's construction industry. Without question, Walter Kupau's administration of the Carpenters' local had distinguished itself in the labor community as the most active and aggressive union organizers. Yet at no time did the any of the Hawai'i press ever give serious consideration to Kupau's charges.152
    Despite the intense flurry of national publicity by the National Right To Work Committee, the assault on the union resulted in little more than inflicting prison sentences of two organizers and Walter Kupau. The rank and file members rallied around their union and President Samson Mamizuka. Kupau returned from six months imprisonment in December 1986 to resume the leadership of Local 745. He was re elected to a fourth term without opposition in the June 1987 election, along with Samson Mamizuka as President.

    The 1987 contract negotiations ran up to the October 1 strike deadline authorized by the members. The union proposed changes to preserve work jurisdiction, job security and the ability to service members more effectively. The contractors ignored these issues, focussing on "cost" items, once again asserting that the major factor in construction costs was union wages and benefits, rather than land, material, and financial costs. The settlement reached on September 30 called for five year contract that would raise wages from $19.05 to $21.25 in 1991. Including fringe benefits, the wages settlement would amount to $32.50 per hour in September, 1991. An important gain was the increase in tool reimbursement to $500, reflecting the technological changes in the field.

    Far reaching changes were added to the Union's programs in 1988 89. A dental program for families, extended life insurance, an added weekly benefit of $270 for non industrial disabilities, a dollar per hour contributed to a personal Vacation Trust Fund which could add up to $2,000 per year to the Fund which is distributed every December. Perhaps the most startling change was in the pension plan. A member working 1,600 hours per year from age 20 to 65 could have a pension fund of $1,300,000 (at 1989 interest rates) on retirement. The Union also instituted a legal services plan, a funeral service plan for members, as well as active representation for workers' compensation, Hawaii's Temporary Disabiity Insurance, and unemployment claims.

    Most significantly, the local tore down a time-honored craft union tradition of charging substantial initiation fees to keep all but the fully committed from entering the union ranks. High initiation fees on the one hand have been used as barriers to protect a stable but limited pool of work from being flooded over time, but in the 1980s more and more work throughout the United States was going non-union. In such a time, high initiation fees not only prevent union growth, they may hasten the union decline and encourage the growth of non-union shops. In October 1988 Local 745, in an unprecedented move, reduced its initiation fee from $250 to $50. And In 1991 it was again reduced to just $15, the lowest of the skilled trades in Hawai'i.

    Teaming For Tomorrow

    Growing out of the informational picketing case, the union determined to deal directly with the negative images propagated by the media. A Union Public Image Program was launched in 1989 to present the Local in a more positive light to the community. Lectures, news features, slide shows and a media campaign were launched and have done much to improve not just the public image of the Carpenters union but the labor movement in general.153

    One of Kupau's most inspired choices was his decision back in August of 1972 to hire Ron Taketa, a graduate of the University of Hawaii's Ethnic Studies Program. At first hired to be the union's full-time Workers' Compensation aide, back when Kupau was Stanley Yanagi's Administrative Assistant, Taketa soon revealed a flare for a wide variety of administrative details. Openly supportive of Kupau's bid for election, Taketa was fired in 1975 at which point he picked up invaluable experience in grievance handling and contract administration working with the United Public Workers union under Henry Epstein.154   When he was rehired by Walter Kupau in 1978, he became an integral part of an administration which developed programs centering on effective representation, membership services, and a progressive program of education for job stewards and union field agents to create a new model of construction industry organizing.

    Though not himself a rank-in-file carpenter, Ron Taketa's work as the Local's Community Services and Education Director over the years have proven to be of inestimable value.

    Kupau also expanded the union's apprentice program through Hawaii's community college system on each island. About 1,000 students throughout the state are enrolled in this program. Journeyman improvement courses and foreman training were made available throughout the year by the Apprenticeship and Training Office. An important aspect of the apprentice program was the special effort to reach out to women and minorities. Two Union apprentices spoke at winter career conferences. They conducted high school girls to job sites and walked them around to acquaint them with the job of the carpenter. This "Teaming for Tomorrow" campaign originated in a 1987 community study which identified the under employment of women in Hawaii as an area in need of change.156

    Ron Taketa
    Local 745 Education and
    Community Services Director

    Another lesson learned from the trials of 1983 was the need for better trained organizers. Organizing was made the highest priority. "Instead of organizing with baseball bats, we organize with pencils now. We used to go one on one but now we're using a business approach." For years, it has been the custom in the building trades unions that the Business Agents, as key, full-time union staff, were both contact administrators and union organizers. Walter Kupau decided to separate the responsibilities of union organizers from field agents and cultivated a completely new cadre of trained organizers who could focus all their energies and attention to organizing.

    An evidence of the new approach to organizing was seen in the informational picketing of such sites as the remodelling of the Sheraton Waikiki and Moana Surfrider hotels where non union contractors were used. The solidarity of the community with Local 745 was evident in the cancellations of several conventions scheduled for these hotels. The hotel firm came up with the unique argument that to use only union contractors would violate federal antitrust laws.157

    The construction boom of 1988 produced the claim that were not enough workers in Hawai'i. Through a vigorous advertising campaign, the Union was able to recruit non union carpenters and increase the apprenticeship program to insure a steady stream of qualified workers. The Union resisted efforts to recruit mainland workers. In November 1990, the union had 300 journeymen carpenters "on the bench" in Honolulu (500 statewide) and about 600 apprentices.158


     

    CONCLUSION

    The Carpenters In Hawai'i

    Local 745's history parallels that of the International in many ways. Just as the parent union was formed to defend against the rapid erosion of the carpenter's craft in 1881, so too Hawaii's carpenters banded together to protect the skill from the growing power of Hawaii's plantation community which dominated the economic life of the new Territory. Merely surviving as a functioning local from 1901 through World War II was a considerable feat of determination and skill. The post World War I era saw the virtual demise of the American trade union movement. Legislation and brute force were used in the decade of the 1920s to reduce the trade union movement to a mere fragment. In Hawaii criminal syndicalism and trespass laws attempted to make strikes and picketing impossible. In 1924, sixteen sugar workers and four police were killed at Hanapepe. Perhaps the low point was reached in 1927 when the Local had to pull out of the Honolulu Central Labor Council because it could not afford the dues. There were no contract in force in the construction industry.

    Local 745 weathered the storm. The turning point for the union came with World War II. Hundreds of defense workers poured into and through Hawaii, building military facilities throughout the Pacific. Depositing their cards at the Local, they brought new life and enthusiasm to the hardy band of survivors.

    Building on this revitalization, local carpenters entered the 1950s determined to win master contracts and bring their wage level up to their skill level. It was not only the concentrated economic and political power of Hawaii's Big Five that confronted the carpenters. The decade brought a veritable revolution in construction technology. New materials and new techniques placed a heavy burden on the union. To protect both the craft jurisdiction and the skill level of the craft, the union worked through apprentice training programs and vigorous organizing, despite the obstacles of legislation such as the Taft Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Acts. Small, yet important construction crafts such as Drywall and Lathers have been brought into the union. Although the position of the union in 1990 was strong, reinforced by a good contract and a solid membership, conditions change. The Carpenters' Union would have to continue to organize the unorganized workers in the community. And not just carpenters, but any construction worker on the job site who is not a union member. Kupau laid down the policy:

    ... when I go on a job site and there's nobody organizing them, I take that craft in my union too.... If they're not with organized workers in a union, I'm going to put them in my union.159  
    A key element in the success of Local 745 has been its deep involvement in the community. Solidly rooted in the local community, the Union has participated in the democratization of Hawai'i's politics led by the late Jack Burns, chairman of the post world war II Democratic Party. The Local has never tied itself to any political faction simply out of loyalty. As the difficulties over control of the pension fund in 1990 demonstrate, the welfare of the Union and its members must always be the key element in any political activity.

    Reflecting the community base of the Union is the extensive program of benefits, ranging from a good pension program to health protection for members and their families to legal assistance programs. Literally, the Union protects the members and their families from cradle to grave.

    Building A Better Hawai'i

    From the small note book containing the names of the founding members in 1901 to the present Master Contract Agreement with over 400 General Contractors Labor Association has been a long and difficult journey. The Union has put into place a far reaching mechanism for the protection of the craft and, more importantly, the welfare of the members and their families. Whatever new struggles lie ahead, Local 745 is better equipped in 1991 to meet these challenges.

    NOTES:

    1. See Russ Lynch's "Profile: It's a Rough Road for Young Leader of Labor Group," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 13, 1969; Tom Coffman, Honolulu Star-Bulletin "Kupau Wants Labor Unified," September 22, 1969; and "Firebrand Takes Key Labor Post," October 2, 1969.
    2. Honolulu Advertiser, February 27, 1980.
    3. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 2, 1980.
    4. Hawaii Carpenter, September 21, 1979; Phil Mayer, "Non-Union Workers Paid from Union Fund," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 10, 1979.
    5. Hawaii Carpenter, March 19, 198O.
    6. Ibid., June 25, 1980; August 28, 198O.
    7. Ibid., October 28, 1980.
    8. Honolulu Advertiser, September 16, l980; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 16, l980.
    9. Hawaii Carpenter, December 23, 198O.
    10. Ibid., July 1, 1981.
    11. Honolulu Advertiser, September 17; October 9; October 24, 1981.
    12. Hawaii Carpenter, April, 1982.
    13. Walter Kupau Interview, Hawaii Business, October, 1983.
    14. Building Industry Digest, December, 1983, p. 23.
    15. Ibid., p. 30.
    16. This section is drawn from William J. Puette: Media Portrayals of Organized Labor: The Limits of American Liberalism, Ph D dissertation, Univ. of Hawaii, 1989, Chapter VI, pp 198 234 (published in 1992 by Cornell's ILR Press as Through Jaundiced Eyes: How the Media View Organized Labor).
    17. Puette, p. 226.
    18. Honolulu Advertiser, February 16, 1990.
    19. Interview with R.T., September 1, 1992.
    20. Hawaii Carpenter, September, 1989, State of the Union column.
    21. Honolulu Advertiser, February 16, 1990.
    22. Honolulu Advertiser, November 10, 1990.
    23. Hawaii Building Industry, November, 1990, p. 87.
    24. Ibid., p. 94.


     

    APPENDIX A
    Early Officers of Local 745

    Early Officers of Local 745

    November 1940

    Martin Higgins
    Secretary

    September 1941

    Martin Higgins
    Secretary

    October 1943

    Larry Nishino
    Secretary

    April 1944

    Vernon Edwards
    Business Manager

    August 1944

    Jack S. Takemori
    Recording Secretary

    August 1945

    Robert L. Cooper
    Business Representative

    March 1946

    Goichi Kobayashi
    Agent

    March 1947

    Goro Yoshioka
    Business Agent

    September 1948

    Larry Miyata
    Business Representative

    January 1949

    Ira M. Dull
    President

    March 1949

    Edward L. Sanderson
    Vice President

    Satoshi Mizumoto
    Recording Secretary

    Larry Miyata
    Business Agent

    September 1949

    Sueo Kawakami
    President

    March 1950

    Goichi Kobayashi
    Vice President

    September 1950

    Satoshi Mizumoto
    Recording Secretary

    March 1951

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Larry Miyata
    Business Agent
    Financial Secretary

    September 1952

    Walliam Kaleo
    President

    Masasuke Toma
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Secretary

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Larry Miyata
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    September 1953

    Steve T. Tamura
    President

    Masasuke Toma
    Vice President

    Thomas C. Hardy
    Recording Secretary

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Stanely S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1955

    Jerry Watanabe
    President

    Masasuke Toma
    Vice President

    Thomas Hokushin
    Recording Secretary

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Stanely S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1956

    Thomas C. Hardy
    President

    Steve T. Tamura
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Recording Secretary

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    September 1956

    Charles T. Yamamoto
    President

    Jerry S. Watanabe
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Recording Secretary

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1958

    Harold Yahiku
    President

    Jerry S. Watanabe
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Recording Secretary

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1961

    Steve T. Tamura
    President

    Masayuki Yamamoto
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Recording Secretary

    Robert Ouchi
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1962

    Myron F. Porter
    President

    Masayuki Yamamoto
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Recording Secretary,

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1963

    Masajiro Ishihara
    President

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Vice President

    Byron Devonsih
    Recording Secretary

    Robert Matsuda
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1965

    Steve Tamura
    President

    Byron Devonsih
    Vice President

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Recording Secretary

    Robert Matsuda
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    March 1966

    Carl Levey
    President

    September 1967

    Masayuki Yamamoto, Vice President

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Recording Secretary

    Isamu Nakamura
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary

    September 1969

    Masayuki Yamamoto
    President

    Charles Tatemichi
    Vice President

    Hatsunori Miyamoto
    Recording Secretary

    Thomas T. Kimura
    Treasurer

    Stanley S. Yanagi
    Business Representative
    Financial Secretary


    Editor’s Note: The list was compiled from Territorial and State Labor Department directories. The dates listed refer to publication dates of the directories and not necessarily to dates of election or terms of office. In 1969 the State stopped publishing this data for about eight years.


     

    APPENDIX B

    First Master Building Trades Agreement 1960

    A G R E E M E N T

         WHEREAS, it is desirous that the employees of the employers signatory hereto under and subject to this agreement be represented on a joint basis with the Unions signatory hereto; and

         WHEREAS,the Unions signatory hereto have presented satisfactory proof of representation of employees of the employers signatory hereto and within the construction industry; and

         WHEREAS, it is desirous to have uniform collective bargaining agreements covering the employees of the employers signatory hereto and negotiated on an Association basis as an Association agreement of those employers signatory hereto, and equally binding upon the employers initially signatory hereto and employers who may hereafter during the term hereof execute said agreement as a member of the labor association of employers party hereto; and, therefore, under the agreement, whenever the word "Contractor" is used, it shall signify each employer member of said Association whose employees are covered hereby, and whenever the word "Union" is used, it shall signify each Union signatory hereto with employees covered by this agreement within the respective trade or craft of said Unions signatory hereto;

         NOW, THEREFORE, it is agreed as follows:

    Section 1
    DURATION
         This agreement shall be binding upon the respective parties effective September 1, 1960, to and including September 1, 1963, and shall be considered as renewed from year to year thereafter unless either party hereto shall give written notice to the other of its desire to modify, amend, or terminate the same. Any such notice must be given by the party desiring to modify, amend, or terminate the agreement, at least 120 days prior to the expiration date, but not more than 150 days prior to the expiration date. In the event such notice is given, and only in such event, negotiations for a new agreement shall commence within ten days after the date on which such notice is received by the other party hereto. If such notice shall not be given, the agreement shall be deemed to be renewed for the succeeding year.

    Section 2
    COVERAGE
         The employees covered by this agreement are those employees of the Contractor employed in the State of Hawaii in the classifications set forth in the job classification and wage schedule which is attached hereto and marked EXHIBIT "A" except for office clerical employees, confidential employees, professional employees, watchmen and supervisors as defined in the National Labor Relations Act, as amended.

    Section 3
    UNION RECOGNITION
         The Contractor shall recognize the Union as the sole collective bargaining representative for all employees covered by this agreement.

    Section 4
    UNION SECURITY
         (1) Each present regular employee covered by this agreement who is a member of the Union on the effective date of this agreement shall continue to remain a member of the Union as a condition of employment during the term of this agreement.

         (2) Each present employee who is not a member of the Union on the effective date of this agreement but who may become a member of the Union any time after the effective date of this agreement shall thereafter continue to remain a member of the union as a condition of employment during the term of this agreement.

         (3) Each new employee who is not a member of the Union at the time of employment shall become a member of the Union not later than the eighth day of his employment and shall thereafter continue to remain a member of the Union as a condition of employment during the term of this agreement. In no event, however, shall any such new employee be required, as a condition of employment, to become a member of the Union sooner than eight days after the date of his employment.

         (4) Any present regular employee who, on the effective date of this agreement, is not a member of the Union, shall not be required to become a member of the Union as a condition of continued employment. Any such employee, however, who, during the term of this agreement, joins the Union must thereafter maintain his membership in the same manner as provided for regular employees who are members of the Union on the effective date of this agreement.

    Section 5
    APPRENTICESHIP
         The parties hereto agree to establish a Joint Apprenticeship Committee composed of equal representation from the Employer and Union to program and operate a system of apprentice training in conformance with State and Federal laws. Such committee shall have the authority to act for and on behalf of the Employer and the Union.

    Section 6
    ACCESS TO COMPANY PREMISES
         The Business Representatives of the Union shall have access to the Contractor's premises and job projects for the purposes of investigating grievances that have arisen and ascertaining whether or not this agreement is being observed, by applying for permission through the office. Permission to enter shall be exercised reasonably and shall not interfere with the conduct of the Contractor's operations or cause employees to neglect their work.

         A Shop Steward may be selected by the Union and shall be given reasonable time during regular working hours to contact employees affected by this agreement.

    Section 7
    DISCHARGE
         Employees shall be subject to discharge for insubordination, dishonesty, drunkenness, incompetence, violation of the terms of this agreement, failure to perform work as required or failure to observe safety rules and regulations of the Contractor's policies, which shall be conspicuously posted.

         A probationary period of thirty days shall be established for all new employees and such new employees may be summarily discharged.

         Any discharged employee, upon request, shall be furnished the reason for his discharge in writing.

    Section 8
    NO STRIKE OR LOCKOUT
         The parties hereto agree that during the term of this agreement, any past, existing or future custom or practice of the Contractor or the Union to the contrary notwithstanding, there shall be no lockout by the Contractor, nor any strike, sitdown, refusal to work, stoppage of work, slowdown, retardation of production or picketing of the Contractor on the part of the Union or its representatives or on the part of any employee covered by the terms of this agreement.

         In the event of a threat of a picket line by any other union not a party to this agreement, the Unions party hereto and the Association agree that the Joint Committee provided for in Exhibit "B" attached hereto, shall immediately proceed to investigate the matter in an effort to assure continuance of work. There shall be no stoppage of work on the part of employees covered hereby unless (1) after investigation by the Joint Committee of Association and Union members pursuant to Exhibit "B", such threatened picket line is determined to be a legitimate picket line, and the Joint Committee is unable to effect any solution with respect thereto; and (2) any such threatened picket line established has further been authorized by the Honolulu Building and Construction Trades Council.

    Section 9
    TEMPORARY TRANSFER
         When any employee is required to work temporarily on a job of a higher classification, he shall receive the pay of the higher classification.

         When an employee is required to work temporarily on a job of a lower classification, he shall receive the pay of his regular wage classification unless such change is made permanent.

         A transfer made for the convenience of an employee shall not be deemed a temporary transfer, irrespective of the duration of the transfer.

    Section 10
    WAGES
         Attached hereto marked Exhibit "A" and made a part of this agreement is a wage schedule setting forth the wage rates that shall be effective for the term of this agreement.

    Section 11
    AUTHORIZED DEDUCTIONS
         The Contractor agrees to deduct from the wages of such of its employees as shall so request in writing all dues hereafter becoming due from such employees to the Union, and initiation fees, and to transmit the money so deducted to the Union as hereafter provided. Any employee desiring to have his Union dues deducted shall sign a proper dues assignment form, which is attached hereto and made a part hereof as Exhibit "C", requesting such deduction from his pay and such request for deduction will if voluntarily made, upon filing with the Contractor, be honored in accordance with its terms. Such deductions shall be made not oftener than once a month.

         In case any employee does not have the total amount of any deduction, or more, due him on any payroll from which deductions are made in respect to other such employees, the deduction shall be made out of the next succeeding payroll upon which such employee has the total amount, or more, due. It is agreed that authorized deductions for government taxes and for the purpose of paying indebtedness to the Contractor, garnishments and deduction required by law to be made by the Contractor shall have priority over deductions for Union dues.

         The total amount of any deduction shall be promptly transmitted by the Contractor to the Union by check drawn to the order of the Union. Upon the issue of such check and the transmission of same to said Union, all responsibility on the part of the Contractor shall cease with respect to any amount so deducted. The Contractor shall not be bound in any manner to see to the application of the proceeds of any such check, nor to investigate the authority of any designated officer of said Union to sign any request, to accept any such check, or to collect the same. The Union hereby undertakes to indemnify and hold blameless the Contractor from any claim that may be made upon it for or on account of any such deduction from the wages of any employee.

    Section 12
    MODIFICATION OF AGREEMENT
         This agreement shall not be modified except by a written document signed by the parties hereto.

    Section 13
    MINIMUM TIME
         Employees or qualified applicants ordered to report for work at job site for whom no employment is provided shall be entitled to two (2) hours' pay unless prevented from working for reason beyond the control of the Employer (including such factors as inclement weather, or breakdown causing discontinuance) during which time workmen are not required or requested to remain on the job by the Employer.

    Section 14
    TOOLS
         The individual Contractor shall provide on each job site a reasonably secure place where his employees may keep their tools. If an individual employee's tool kit of working tools is lost by reason of fire or theft involving forcible entry while in the individual Contractor's care, the individual Contractor shall reimburse the employee for such loss up to a maximum of One Hundred Twenty-Five Dollars ($125.00).

    Section 15
    TRANSPORTATION
         For job projects for which public utility transportation is not conveniently available, the Employer will provide, as a convenience to employees, suitable transportation which employees may accept or refuse at designated pick-up spots in sufficient time to permit transportation to arrive at the site in time for the employees to start work at the normal starting time.

    Section 16
    GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
         When any employee covered by this agreement believes, or when the Union believes that the Contractor has violated the express terms and conditions thereof and that by reason of such violation his or its rights arising out of this agreement have been affected adversely, he or it, as the case may be, shall be required to follow the procedure hereinafter set forth in presenting the grievance and having the grievance investigated and the merits thereof determined. Jurisdictional disputes shall be processed in accordance with the provisions of Section 18. "JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTES."

         First: The grievance shall be presented in the first instance to the Foreman within five days of the alleged breach of the express terms and conditions of this agreement. Failure to so present such grievance shall be deemed a waiver of remedy under this provision. Due diligence shall be exercised by both parties in adjusting the grievance to the mutual satisfaction of the complainant and the Contractor, and such adjustment shall be made within a reasonable period of time.

         Second: If such Foreman does not adjust the grievance to the complainant's satisfaction within a reasonable time, the complainant or a representative of the Union shall then present the grievance to the Manager.

         Third: If the Manager does not adjust the grievance to the complainant's satisfaction within a reasonable time, the complainant or a representative of the Union shall then present the grievance as previously set forth in writing to the Board of Arbitration as hereinafter provided.

         Board of Arbitration: A Board of Arbitration shall be appointed consisting of three persons: One representative shall be designated by the Contractor and one representative shall be designated by the Union. The third member of said Board shall be appointed jointly by the two chosen representatives of the parties hereto. All decisions of the Board of Arbitration shall be by majority vote and shall be limited expressly to the terms and provisions of this agreement, and in no event may the terms of this agreement be altered, amended, or modified by the Board of Arbitration. All decisions of the Board of Arbitration shall be final and binding upon the parties hereto. All fees and expenses of the third member of the Board of Arbitration shall be borne equally by the Union and the Contractor. Each party hereto shall bear the expenses of the presentation of its own case, as well as the fee and expenses for the representative designated as a member of the Board of Arbitration. The complainant in every hearing before the Board of Arbitration shall have the burden of proving his or its case by a preponderance of the competent evidence.

    Section 17
    HOURS AND OVERTIME
         All work performed
       (1) in excess of eight (8) hours in any one day;
       (2) in excess of forty (40) hours in any one week; and
       (3) on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays as specified in Section 20
    shall constitute overtime.

         Where shift work is employed, the first shift shall consist of eight (8) hours (exclusive of lunch periods) with eight (8) hours pay; the second shift shall consist of seven and one-half (7 1/2) hours (exclusive of lunch periods) with eight (8) hours pay; the third shift shall consist of seven (7) hours (exclusive of lunch periods) with eight (8) hours pay.

         Overtime shall be paid for at one and one-half times the employee's regular straight time rate of pay. Whenever two or more overtime rates are applicable to the same hour or hours worked, there shall be no pyramiding or adding together of such rates and only the higher of the applicable rates shall be applied.

    Section 18
    JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTES
         All jurisdictional disputes shall be settled in accordance with the established procedures of the National Joint Board for the settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes without interruption of work or delay to the job.

    Section 19
    HIRING AND REFERRAL PROCEDURE
         (1) In the hiring of employees covered by this agreement, and provided competency, efficiency, skill and ability are equal (of which Contractor shall be the sole judge, subject only to (6) below), the Contractor shall give preference in notification and consideration to former employees who are available for rehire.

         (2) Should the Contractor's requirements not be filled by former employees, applicants for employment who may be satisfactory to the Contractor shall be obtained as follows: The Contractor shall notify such sources of labor as it desires, and at the same time it notifies any other labor source, it shall also notify the Union of the qualifications of the man, or men, required.

         (3) Whenever possible the notice required by (2) above shall be given forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the time at which the Contractor desires the man to report for work.

         (4) The Contractor shall give preference in employment to applicants experienced in work similar to that for which job openings exist whose experience was gained and who currently reside in the locality.

         (5) The Union shall refer applicants for employment who appear to meet the qualifications stated by the Contractor in the order of the amount of experience they evidence in the type of work for which the job openings exist; provided that such "industry seniority" determination of preferred referral may, after due notice to the Contractor, in the future be further defined by posted regulations governing the operation of the non-discriminatory employment offices maintained by the Union. Referrals by the Union will be made on a non-discriminatory basis without regard to Union membership or lack of membership.

         (6) The Contractor shall notify the Union by telephone or card at the time of employment of the name and date of employment of a new or recalled employee so that the employment office may issue the employee a confirmation of the date of commencement of his employment for presentation to the Contractor, to the end that the Contractor and the employment office records with respect to the date on which employment commences will be the same, and possible disputes with respect to the report pay, union security and other provisions of this agreement thereby avoided.

         (7) The Contractor will not discriminate in favor of or against any applicant because of his membership or non-membership, or activities in behalf of or in opposition to, the Union or any other labor organization.

         (8) The Union will conduct the registration facilities of, and will operate its employment offices without discrimination, either in favor of or against any person by reason of membership or non-membership in any union, or by reason of acting on behalf of or in opposition to any union. The provisions of this paragraph shall govern over any conflicting provision or requirement of the constitution, by-laws, working rules or other rules of the Union, and selection of applicants for employment for referral to the Contractor shall be on a non-discriminatory basis and shall not be based on, or in any way affected by, union membership, by-laws, regulations, constitutional provisions, or any other aspect or obligation of union membership, policies, or requirements.

         (9) Any individual workman aggrieved by the operation of these hiring procedures, including any posted regulations subsequently adopted, shall have the right to submit his grievance through either party hereto to the Board of Arbitration created in Section 16 hereof, provided such submission is made in writing within ten (10) days after the occurrence of the grievance. Said Board shall have full power to adjust the grievance and its decision thereon shall be final and binding upon the individual grievant and all other parties hereto.

         (10) The Contractor and the Union shall post the hiring provisions of this agreement on the bulletin board where notices to employees and applicants for employment are posted, and the Union shall supplement the posting of the regulations governing the operation of its employment offices by posting a copy of the hiring provisions of this agreement if such regulations are subsequently adopted.

    Section 20
    HOLIDAYS
         The following days shall be considered holidays, and work performed on such days shall be compensated for at one and one-half the straight-time hourly rate of pay:

    New Year's Day           Labor Day
    President's Day     Kamehameha Day
    Memorial Day     Thanksgiving Day
    Fourth of July     Christmas Day

    In the event any of the above holidays falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be considered the holiday. No work shall be performed on Labor Day except in case of emergency.

    Section 21
    MEDICAL PLAN
         Attached herewith as Exhibit "D" is the agreement of the parties pertaining to the installation of a Medial Plan.

    Section 22
    DOCUMENT CONTAINS ENTIRE AGREEMENT
         This document contains the entire agreement of the parties and neither party has made any representations to the other which are not contained herein.

         IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto, through their duly authorized representatives, have executed this agreement on this 29th day of July, 1960.

    GENERAL CONTRACTORS
    SIGNATORY TO LABOR
    ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT:
    HONOLULU BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION
    TRADES COUNCIL
    By: /s/ Walters K. Eli

    SPECIAL SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE
    LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELA-
    TIONS COMMITTEE OF THE
    GENERAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIA-        
    TION OF HONOLULU, HAWAII
    THE UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF
    CARPENTERS AND JOINER OF
    AMERICA, LOCAL 745, AFL-CIO
    By: /s/ Stanley S. Yanagi

    By: /s/ Max W. Moody
    By: /s/ Frank N. Rothwell
    By: /s/ Harry Y.K. Chock
    By: /s/ Richard M. Gray
    By: /s/ Clark J. Hastert
    By: /s/ M. Yamaguchi
    THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF
    OPERATING ENGINEERS, LOCAL 3,
    AFL-CIO
    By: /s/ Harold Lewis


     

      THE CONSTRUCTION AND GENERAL
    LABORERS' UNION, LOCAL 368, OF
    THE INTERNATIONAL HOD CARRIERS,
    BUILDING AND COMMON LABORERS'
    UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, AFL-CIO
    By: /s/ Elmo Samson


     

      OPERATIVE PLASTERERS' & CEMENT
    FINISHERS' INTERNATIONAL
    ASSOCIATION, Local Union #630
    AFL-CIO
    By: /s/ W.E. Whitcomb

    EXHIBIT "D" MEDICAL PLAN I. Medical Plan

    1. Interim Period - Contract date through June 30, 1961.
      1. Employer's Contribution
        1. At least the total cost of each employee's medical plan. (Not including family plan) for single employees or employees not desiring to cover family.
        2. Or, 1/2 of the cost of employee's family plan type coverage.
      2. Conditions, Employers.
        1. Employer shall be solely responsible for administration of medical plan.
        2. Employer will be allowed to keep existing medical plans in effect, i.e., HMSA, insurance companies, etc.
        3. Employers without present medical plan to immediately institute and put into effect within 30 days of contract date, Medical Plan No. 9, HMSA or its equivalent.
        4. Furnish to Joint Committee (shown under Paragraph B.2.a.) the necessary medical history cards and other pertinent data required by 1 February 1961.
      3. Eligibility
        1. Any employee on employer's rolls as of date of contract is eligible.
        2. New hires.
          (a) All new employees of the employer who are presently under a medical plan at the time they are employed shall be continued with medical coverage pursuant to the plan of the employer.
          (b) All other new employees will be eligible for coverage following 30 days of employment with the employer.
        3. Any employee who is in arrears in his payment prior to employment shall be individually responsible for such payments.
    2. Period from July 1, 1961 through June 30, 1963.
      1. Employer's contribution.
        1. Entire cost of medical plan including family coverage.
      2. Conditions.
        1. Joint Committee to be established with ten (10) members, five (5) representing Unions, at least one from each craft, and five (5) representing Management. Committee to have full power to negotiate for the most favorable plan after receiving information covered under Paragraph A.2.d.
        2. Committee to contract for a plan with full family coverage and with benefits not less than those contained under Plan 9, HMSA, with major medical coverage.


     

    APPENDIX C
    Hourly Wages and Fringes for Journeymen Carpenters
    UBCJ Local 745, Honolulu

    1960-1996

    1960 Master Agreement        
    Wage Effective
    $3.20 09/01/60
    $3.30 03/01/61
    $3.40 09/01/61
    $3.50 03/01/62
    $3.60 09/01/62
    $3.70 03/01/63

    1963 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $3.85 09/02/63
    $3.95 03/02/64
    $4.05 08/31/65
    $4.20 03/01/65
    $4.30 08/30/65
    $4.40 + $.05 02/28/66
    $4.60 + $.10 02/27/67

    1967 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $4.80 + $.21 09/02/67
    $4.80 + $.31 12/01/67
    $4.90 + $.31 03/04/68
    $5.10 + $.42 09/02/68
    $5.10 + $.45 12/02/68
    $5.20 + $.45 03/03/69
    $5.45 + $.55 09/01/69
    $5.55 + $.55 03/02/70
    $5.80 + $.62 08/31/70
    $5.95 + $.62 03/01/71
    $6.20 + $.62 08/30/71
    $6.43 + $.62 02/28/72

    1972 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $6.63 + $.73 09/04/72
    $6.83 + $.89 09/03/73
    $7.03 + $1.39 09/02/74
    $7.43+$1.85 03/03/75
    $7.84 + $1.94 09/01/75
    $8.24 + $2.82 03/01/76
    $8.64 + $2.95 08/30/76
    $9.65 + $3.82 02/28/77

    1977 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $10.15 + $3.92 01/09/78
    $10.50 + $4.17 09/04/78
    $10.75 + $4.52 09/04/79
    $11.00 + $4.87 03/03/80


    1980 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $12.00 + $4.82 09/02/80
    $12.75 + $5.08 03/02/81
    $13.75 + $5.08 08/31/81
    $14.50 + $5.33 03/01/82
    $15.40 + $5.33 08/30/82
    $16.40 + $5.33 09/05/83
    $17.40 + $5.33 03/01/84

    1984 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $18.05 + $5.68 09/01/84
    $18.55 + $6.33 09/02/85
    $19.05 + $6.80 09/01/86

    1987 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $19.55 + $7.55 08/31/87
    $20.05 + $8.30 08/29/88
    $20.35 + $9.00 09/04/89
    $21.80 + $9.10 09/03/90
    $22.65 + $9.65 09/02/91


    1992 Master Agreement        
    Wage + fringe Effective
    $23.35 + $10.45 08/31/92
    $24.05 + $11.25 08/30/93
    $24.80 + $12.00 08/29/94
    $25.55 + $12.85 08/28/95
    $26.35 + $13.65 08/26/96


     

    APPENDIX D