Report of Elwyn J. Eagen on the Hawaiian Islands|
(From Special House Committee Hearings, 76th Congress
on the National Labor Relations Act
pursuant to H. Res. 258, 12-11-39)
May 3, 1940
V 22, Exhibit 1283, pp. 4598-4624
Pursuant to your request, I have attempted to prepare a report on the industrial set-up in the Hawaiian Islands. You must bear in mind that much of this report is prepared from memory and that there may be certain discrepancies in names and places. Also, some of the material herein contained obviously could not be obtained by personal investigation due to the short time that I was in the Territory. I am confident, however, that the facts stated in this report are substantially true and correct, and that most of the information which I have received has come from thoroughly reliable sources. It is my purpose to relate the facts fairly and impartially.
If the reader finds this picture of the Islands too drab, it is well for him to bear in mind that this impression of Hawaii has undoubtedly been gained from sources which are desirous of building up the tourist business--one of the most lucrative in the Islands. One who studies this report should endeavor, also, to judge it in the light of the viewpoint which is held by the individuals who are interested in the Hawaiian sugar industry. These industrialists should not be too severely criticized because of the situation which exists there; rather, one should be amazed that conditions are not worse. Their absolute control and domination of the lives and welfare of virtually every individual in the Islands is such that, had not their actions been somewhat tempered by some regard for the rights of human beings, the picture would be far darker. It is possible, of course, that this restraint in the exercise of their power to the fullest degree may have resulted from their fear that if they went too far public reaction would cause a Congressional investigation.
The Hawaiian industrialist is usually a man with a charming personality; a genial host and a fluent talker. Furthermore, I believe that he conscientiously believes that the system of which he is a part is the only one that can prevail in the Islands, and permit the sugar interests to stay in business. As individuals, these industrialists are fine men; collectively--well! They contribute generously to public charities; they erect grand club houses and furnish athletic equipment, perhaps for the purpose of keeping their employees from thinking too much about every-day problems; they bestow paternalistic hospitalization, housing, etc., perhaps because they wish such things to be also under their control--but regardless of their motive, they seem to conscientiously believe they are doing things in the proper way. They have become imbued with the idea that paternalism will answer their industrial difficulties. Even now, they do not realize that they must eventually permit their employees to exercise some choice and control over their own individual lives, permit them to deal and negotiate concerning their wages and hours, allow them to choose their own dwellings, to select their own doctors, to form their own clubs, and to create their own entertainment. While the industrialists of Hawaii will brag about the fact that they have had comparatively few industrial disturbances, they forget that this may be the result of complete subjugation of the laboring classes and is not due to any real satisfaction of the employees with their working conditions.
It is impossible to understand the labor situation in the Hawaiian Islands unless one knows something about the various types of control exercised by the sugar interests. For that reason I have devoted a considerable portion of my report to that phase of the industrial situation in the Territory.
REPORT ON THE HAWAIIAN SITUATION
Virtually every business of any importance is owned or controlled by the so-called Big Five, that is, American Factors, C. Brewer & Co., Ltd., Alexander Baldwin, Castle and Cook, Ltd. [sic], and T. H. Davies & Co. Ltd., These companies have interlocking directorships. This method of obtaining joint action extends not only to the companies named but also to various subsidiary corporations. To gain a better picture of the corporate set-up of the Hawaiian Islands, please refer to a map which was introduced in our hearing involving Castle and Cook Co., Ltd. Refer also to the testimony of Frank C. Atherton.
Most of the land in the Islands is owned or controlled by the same group which manage the affairs of the Big Five. The Bishop Trust alone is reputed to own 20% of the most fertile and valuable land in the territory. It refuses to sell the land which it owns. Only short term leases are given to those whom it desires to have such leases. S. H. Kress & Company which operates a large store in Honolulu had to secure ground for a store through a third party. It is the purpose of the Big Five to keep out competition. I had reports to the effect that some employers had informed their employees that they would be discharged if they were found in Kress store.
There are no independent banks on the Islands. All of the banks are controlled by virtually the same people who are interested in the Big Five. By controlling loans, the officers of the Big Five are able to keep semi-independent business men from engaging in activities hostile to their interests. They are also able to know the financial condition of all the inhabitants of the Islands. Persons who do not comply with the wishes of the Big Five are refused loans or extension and are forced out of business.
The Matson Navigation Company, which is more or less closely connected with the Big Five through Castle & Cook, Ltd., has a virtual strangle hold on the Islands. Practically everything that is raised in the Islands is shipped out via Matson. A very large proportion of the materials which are consumed in the Islands are shipped in via Matson. Consequently, there is hardly a person in the territory who does not pay tribute to Matson in either one form or another. The Dollar Steamship Company has some kind of working agreement with the Matson Company. The Interisland Steamship Navigation Company is a subsidiary of the Matson Company. The rates on this line are very high. It prevents free communication between the Islands and discourages the production of fruits and vegetables on other Islands which might be transported to Honolulu.
All of the transportation facilities are more or less controlled by the Big Five interests. By a territorial license law, busses operated by the Traction Company are not required to pay a license fee. A competitor, Rosenkrantz, is required to pay a very substantial fee for the operation of the busses.
Control of Purchases and Sales
Practically every item purchased or sold in the Islands is handled by the Big Five who act as factors and agents. All of the sugar and pineapples are sold through these companies. Virtually all imports are made through them. Because of their large purchasing power, they are able to get agencies for various mainland products. If some outsider comes into the territory representing an American firm and begins doing a substantial business, efforts are made to secure the agency for that company. Having control of purchases and sales, it is a simple matter to control the transportation of materials.
The Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels on the Islands [sic] of Oahu are the best hotels on the Islands. They are owned and controlled by the Matson Navigation Company. The Alexander Young Hotel is closely affiliated with the Big Five. On the Island of Hawaii, Kona Inn is operated by the Interisland Steamship Navigation Company.
If one takes a bus or a taxi from one of the controlled hotels, he pays a further tribute to the same interests.
The Mutual Telephone Company is controlled by the same interests which operate the Big Five. Wireless communications between the various islands are also under control of this same company.
The Police Department of the City and County of Honolulu is under the control of the Police Commission, some of whose members are closely identified with the Big Five. A witness testified during the hearing that Frank E. Thompson, attorney for the Matson Navigation Company, said that he told Chief of Police Gabrielson what to do. The Castle & Cook record is full of instances showing that the Big Five does, in fact, control the Police Department and uses it for anti-union purposes.
The majority of the members of the Legislature are under the domination of the Big Five. For instance, the Speaker of the House is the chief counsel for the Sugar Planters Association and also Alexander Baldwin. The control of the legislature is best shown by the acts which it has passed. I am attaching a copy of the anti-picketing bill. There is also an anti-trespassing act which prohibits freedom of access to most of the plantation workers who live on company property.
While the Governor of the Territory is appointed by the President, he also is subject to the domination of the Big Five. It is generally rumored that Thompson makes the selections for the Governor's appointments. I was informed that when the President visited the Islands, Mr. Thompsons two daughters were escorted by the President's sons. The Governor pays lip service to Congress and the President.
Former Governor Judd, who proceeded the present Governor, was called as a witness in the Castle & Cook hearing. He admitted he was manager of the Hawaiian Industrial Association. He testified that the books of this company had disappeared a few days before our subpoena was served and that the bookkeeper had gone to China. This Association, like similar associations on the mainland, is engaged in espionage and anti-labor activity. One of its agents, B.F. Johnson, was assigned to watch me.
The same Frank E. Thompson is alleged to have secured the appointment of most of those persons in the Islands holding judicial positions. He is reputed to have a blackmail system which keeps those men under control.
The Federal District Court Judges do not seem to be quite so much under the control of the Big Five although their sympathies are contrary to those of the Democratic Party. One of them made a remark to the effect that he could think of nothing better than that Lewis and Green should get into a pistol duel and both of the shoot at the same time. Judge Watson whose courtroom we used for our hearing stated very frankly that he did not like to have his courtroom used for labor hearings. He objected to men appearing without coats or shoes. He apparently did not realize why many of these men did not have proper clothing.
The Prosecuting Attorney who receives $7,500 per year is also reputed to act as attorney for various insurance companies controlled by the Big Five. Kelly, the Prosecutor, made a statement to the affect that the National Labor Relations Act was just a joke. It is claimed that he is under the domination of the same Frank E. Thompson. His connection with Thompson and the cooperation of the courts from the lowest to the highest, with Thompson, is well exemplified in the testimony of Burum who appeared as a witness in the Castle & Cook hearing.
I will not attempt to discuss this testimony in detail as the Boards decision will probably cover the matter thoroughly. Burum stated he first contacted Thompson at the suggestion of an army intelligence officer. Thompson later requested him to make reports on all union activities. Burum is acting as manager of a Seamans Institute which is supported by public contributions. Thompson ordered Burum to arrange a beatup of a union agent by the name of Wisebarth. Burum did not carry out Thompsons plans but was convicted nevertheless because he failed to appear and testify on the advice of an attorney hired by Thompson. Thompson paid Burums fine and attorney's fee.
The Grand Jury voted three to one to investigate the Burum incident. Judge Stafford who had charge of the Grand Jury, with the help of Assistant Prosecutor Cassidy, prevented the investigation. Stafford was formerly an attorney for the sugar interests and followed union leaders around during a plantation strike making notes for company use. The investigation the Grand Jury had voted would have involved Judge Stafford and the Prosecutors Office, yet these two people were in charge of the Grand Jury and were able to prevent its investigation. I was tipped off that a number of the Grand Jurors were attempting to find some way whereby I could be appointed special prosecutor. Although the facts disclosed at our hearing would certainly warrant a disbarment investigation of two attorneys, the Attorney General took no steps to make an investigation.
A former Assistant Attorney General, Winn, appeared as counsel for Castle & Cook during our hearings. Just prior to his resignation from the Attorney General's office, he lost a big tax case which meant a great deal of money to the sugar interests. He immediately became a partner of the legal firm representing the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association.
In another instance the Prosecuting Attorney failed to take any steps to prosecute until the Statute of Limitations had run. This matter involved the Bishop Trust and Walter Dillingham.
The Big Five are very much afraid that Congress will assume closer control over the Islands. For that reason they sometimes insist that someone be arrested and convicted irrespective of the merits of the case. A prominent mainland attorney and capitalist was killed by a man during a drunken brawl. One of the jurors in this case held out for acquittal. He was arrested and severely beaten by the Prosecuting Attorney. Other members of the jury intimidated other jurors. The Big Five usually has enough persons on any jury to control it.
Because the Big Five wanted a conviction in the Massey case the Chief of detectives drove the suspect's car to the place where Mrs. Massey claimed she was attacked and then had the Police Department take pictures of the tire marks.
Two Federal Judges would make the Supreme Court look like a bunch of youngsters. Both of them are badly paralyzed. Judge Banks on the Supreme Court, a recent appointee, is very old and a buddy of Frank E. Thompson. There are several magistrates who operate in lower district courts. The plantation managers have these men under absolute control and tell them what fines or jail sentences are to be imposed.
An attorney who takes a case against the interests of the Big Five soon learns that he cannot stay in business. Even attorneys who have had the audacity to file on the Democratic ticket have been cut off by the Big Five.
Malihinis (strangers) are not liked. Therefore, one coming from the mainland has a difficult time being admitted to the bar. If Justice Van devanter wished to practice law in Hawaii he would have to give two months notice of his intention to do so and would then be required to pass an examination.
The University is controlled by the same interests. Its President, Crawford, was listed as one of the incorporators of the Hawaiian Industrial Association (maybe he expected labor troubles at the University).
Army and Navy Control
The testimony during the hearing showed there was very close cooperation between the Army and Navy Intelligence units and the Big Five. The testimony showed that free passage was given to certain army and navy officers for the purpose of making trips to the west coast to investigate labor leaders and that reports of that investigation were submitted to the representatives of the Big Five.
Some army and navy officers are extensively entertained and put under obligation to the powers that be. In fairness to those officers, I do not believe that many of them are influenced by such entertainment. However, some of them maybe misled by the great show of patriotism by those who owe mare allegiance to the Union Jack than to the Stars and Stripes and who have despoiled the Islands and created what military hazard there is, by a desire for cheap alien labor.
To show you the loyalty of those who pose as such loyal friends of the military officials, let me quote the following from the files of one ofthe plantations: A campaign is being conducted on the mainland at this time, as you are fully aware, to buy at home. In the Territory every effort is being made to discourage patronizing American concerns like Sears, Roebuck & Co., Montgomery Ward & Co., etc., and right here in Waialua, in our own store, we are purchasing an enormous amount of our supplies, even the necessities of life, from alien Japan. Many people, including army folks are continually commenting on this fact.
Another quotation gives further help: On January 5 of this year (1933), we hired an alien Japanese, Chinsaka Sekiguihi [sic], and gave jobs at the same time to his 18 year old son and his 19 year old daughter. With thousands unemployed in the Territory, and with many actually destitute, it looks to me like a mistake to give a job to a girl where there are two men working in the family already.
Bryant H. Wells, retired United States Army General, is now Secretary of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association. General Wells appears to be a very kindly old gentleman whose years of discerning have passed. Apparently to add dignity to certain nefarious practices and to prevent him from telling what he knew about the situation in Hawaii, he was given a job at a very handsome salary. Were his prestige and his silence sold for a mess of pottage?
A very decided effort is now being made to flatter Major Hugh Drum who will return to the States shortly. His picture, or some write-up, appears in nearly every issue of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. I was invited to a party in his honor at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel but did not attend.
Am Army intelligence officer sat in the jury box during most of our hearings at Honolulu. Army officials here in Seattle were checking on me while I was in Hawaii. (So were several steamship lines and one man purporting to be a longshoreman. Cables were sent to various other people requesting information concerning me.) It might be interesting to learn who ordered the army officials to become interested in my activities and to determine what, if any, part General Wells played.
Judging from the testimony produced at the hearing, the sugar interests believe that anyone who engages in union activities is an undesirable person and they very cautiously impart their information to the Army and Navy Intelligence units. If there is a truer picture of Fascism anywhere in the world than in the Hawaiian Islands, than I do not know the definition of it. I hope it is not the belief of a few misguided army officers that one who opposes such a system is acting in an un-American fashion. The close cooperation between the Army and the Navy Intelligence units and the "Big Five" was certainly surprising. Surely, a so-called defense arm of the Government would not lend its aid to support practices which are wholly un-American. If that is the case, then that branch of the Government, and not I, should be spied upon, followed, and investigated.
General Perry M. Smoot, Commander of the National Guard, is very friendly with, if not absolutely under the control of the Big Five. It is reported his name appeared prominently during a senatorial investigation relating to the sale and distribution of arms and ammunitions. Many of those holding high commands in the National Guard are employees of the Big Five or their affiliates.
United States Department of Justice and Richardsons Report
Seth Richardsons report for the Attorney General, copy of which was included by reference in our Castle & Cooke hearing, indicates a great laxity in the enforcement of laws in the territory. I suggest that his report be read in conjunction with the material contained herein. Attention should be called to the fact that his report was prepared a few years ago and that some changes have taken place.
The present District Attorney appears sincere although perhaps lacking in a little courage. One who knows the situation could not blame a man for being a little careful when has to earn his livelihood in the Territory. One of the Assistant District Attorneys, McLaughlin, who has been in the Islands only a short time, apparently has no fear of the trust. The other Assistant, Moore, is rumored to have played a part in the framing some time ago of Pablo Manlapit. I believe he is a holdover from previous administrations.
W. P. A. and P. W. A. Control
It is reported that the pay for relief workers was fixed at 25¢ on the insistence of the Big Five in order that the rate of pay would not be raised above the standard in the Islands. During the harvest season such workers have been forced to take plantation jobs at 15¢ per hour in the fields of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Some of the workers were forced to work on a private contract job at Port Weaver for a smaller salary, longer hours and no transportation expenses under the leadership of H. A. Mountain who is now employed by Castle and Cook. Ridiculous prices have been paid for the rental of trucks and the purchase of materials. Ten relief workers were employed under John Hamilton to work in the Chamber of Commerce In the preparation of a directory of all businesses in Hawaii. A report on housing was also prepared for the Chamber of Commerce.
Two relief workers have been doing work for the Bureau of Governmental Research. This is a private bureau operated by the Big Five for the purpose of studying taxes and similar matters. Two men formerly employed by the W. P. A. now hold important positions in this Bureau. Charges have been made that P. W. A. and W. P. A. workers were used as strike breakers.
Loocey, the present head of the W. P. A., has made considerable improvements but he is also reputed to be under the domination of Frank Thompson. I believe he is trying to do his best and is making definite progress.
Many of those who are under the domination of Thompson are not in that status because of their own choice. The use of frame-ups and blackmail methods are so common that many people get in his clutches involuntarily. A high governmental official, not Loocey, called me into his office and expressed his appreciation for what we were trying to do. He stated he was holding his job through Thompson, that be had been framed up by Thompson several years ago and had been paying tribute to him ever since. He was personally opposed to everything that was being done but that his lips were sealed. He further stated that he sat outside of Thompsons office and heard Thompson and the then Chief of Detectives and others arranging to frame Manlapit.
To give you an example of Thompsons power, not as an individual but as a mouthpiece and chief conspirator for the system which he serves: Thompson was disbarred several years ago because of conversion of funds from an estate. It is impossible to find this case indexed in the official reports of the Supreme Court.
Incidentally, the Big Five through its henchman, are now endeavoring to secure the appointment of their men to two judicial vacancies in the Islands. (Residential requirements make it impossible to get new blood.)
Walter Dillingham who is one of the wealthiest men in the Islands, purports to be friendly to the New Deal. He acts no if lobbyist for the Island interests. He secures many governmental contracts. His name appears on several Boards of Directors of the Big Five and their subsidiaries.
To give you an example of how Dillingham works, I met Mrs. Claude Porter, wife of the Inter-State Commerce Commissioner on the boat going to Hawaii. She and one of her daughters happened to be returning on the same boat that I did. While making her table reservations, Mrs. Porter asked the steward whether or not I had made a table reservation. He looked at his card and told her that Walter Dillingham had made a reservation for me. Four days later I received a note asking me to call Mr. Dillingham. I did so and he invited me down to his cabin for the purpose of getting acquainted, as he explained it. When I arrived he told that he had just learned that I was on board. He gave me to understand that plantations would not tolerate any unions among the Filipinos and gave a long explanation about the problems on the plantations. I believe he was trying to feel me out and find out just where I stood. He also explained to me a system of bonuses which obviously was adopted to prevent men from joining the union. My impression of Dillingham is that he is a very
crafty individual. He and his secretary were on their way to Washington, D. C.
The Big Five is able through its henchmen to control elections in the Islands. To give you one example, during the 1st general election, in a race for delegate to Congress, a man by the name of Harold Fujimoto who runs a general store in Wailea, Hawaii, supported Loy McCandless against Sam King. Because of that support he was not permitted to make deliveries to customers of the Hakiau Plantation.
On election day last November the Republican Party (Big Five) leased a radio station for the day and evening. The announcer kept stating that Landon was piling up substantial leads all over the country. He was deliberately misquoting the returns and making these announcements when the Republican leaders had conceded the election. The purpose of so doing was to influence the local elections, because of the difference in time, the polls in Hawaii had not closed. Their efforts were successful-Maine, Vermont and Hawaii!
The newspaper are all owned and controlled by the same interests who control the Big Five. However, due to the fact that the editors of these papers have a high regard for newspaper ethics, the newspapers report the news more or less favorably although local news is frequently killed or played down. The conduct of the newspapers at least at the present time and during our bearing, was the most wholesome thing about the Islands.
However, a reporter by the name of Pat Brown was fired from the Honolulu Advertiser because he reported that Frank C. Atherton, while testifying, stated in effect that the Big Five were all one in that they all had interlocking Directors. This was a substantially true report of Athertons testimony. Atherton called the City Editor and also the News Editor and instructed them to fire Brown. Atherton caused the paper to publish a retraction of the above report on the day following its appearance in the newspapers.
Through the Hawaiian Board of Missions which is financed by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, or in other words, the Big Five, money is given to Protestant Filipino ministers on the plantation although virtually no one attends their churches. These ministers have access to the houses of employees at all times. They are required to attend all meetings of Filipinos and to give
reports on all activities to the plantation mangers. In other words, they act as the chief stool pigeons for the plantations. Filipino interpreters, also employed by the plantations, not in the same capacity.
Some of the ministers located in Honolulu have attempted to preach social justice. Because of their attitude their contributions from individuals high in the Big Five have been cut down or entirely eliminated.
Certain white slave prosecutions have recently taken place in San Francisco arising out of the Hawaiian situation. All of the houses are leased, I am informed, through one central agency. By such centralized control, collection are well systemized. The information that I have is to the effect that the only police officer getting a cut is the Chief. The rest of the profits are divided among the powers that be.
Because of the fact that there are few Filipino women in the Islands, the proportion being about 10 to 1, the Filipinos are unable to live a normal social life and consequently become a prey for this type of business. The large number of soldiers and sailors in the Islands also furnishes a large part of the dividends derived from this occupation. Many of these places are located in residential sections where there are many children. One of them is located on land adjoining school grounds. They are reputed to be well regulated.
One of the most treacherous things existing in the Islands is the overabundance of hospitality. For the unsuspecting, it acts as a drug or sleeping potion. Instead of seeing conditions as they actually are, after having imbibed in such hospitality one is apt to visualize a paradise of grand people who will do anything to entertain and to make ones stay enjoyable. So subtly is the work performed that one does not realize what is happening. He is apt to see only what glitters and to think that it is gold clear through. One who has accepted such entertainment can hardly have the heart to do anything that would embarrass a genial host. It is so ingenious that a person becomes infected without knowing that he is contracting a disease. So cleverly is the other mans viewpoint and propaganda instilled into one that in a short time he can conscientiously see things through rose colored glasses.
Cayetano Ligot was sent to the Islands by the Filipino Government as a Labor Commissioner. He was royally entertained, forgot his mission, became a tool for the sugar interests and accepted pay from the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association. His wife tried to get into the plantations to sell pictures which is one of the worst rackets used to fleece the poor Filipinos.
The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association and Plantation Conditions
The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association is a voluntary association of 30 of the 40 sugar plantations in the Territory of Hawaii. It was originally organized under the name of the Planters Labor and supply Company for the purpose of importing alien labor to work on the plantations. Chinese were first imported in 1852; the Japanese in 1886; South Sea Islands, 1878; Portugese, 1878; Germans, 1871; Spaniards, 1903; Filipinos, 1906; Porto Ricans, 1901. Thirty-seven of the forty plantations are controlled by American Factors; C. Brewer & Company, Ltd., Alexander Baldwin; Castle & Cook; and T.H. Davies & Co., Ltd. One-third of the population of the Islands lives on the plantations, seventy per cent of the people are directly dependent on the plantation. The Big Five, I believe, acts as factors or agents for all the plantations.
In 1933, over 48,000 men were employed on the plantation. Of these, nearly 32,000 were Filipinos and 10,000 Japanese. The Filipinos constitute 61% and the Japanese 21%. Because most of the Filipinos are unmarried they have only 45% of the total population and the Japanese have 41%. Most of the Filipinos purchase their supplies from plantation stores on credit. Filed workers are assumed to work 8 or 9 hours per day but are actually away from home 10 or 12 hours. They get up at 3:00 oclock in the morning and pack their breakfast and lunch. The first whistle blows at 5:00 oclock warning the workers to be at the railroad crossing. Another whistle blows at 5:30 at which time assignments are made for the day. Workers are then taken to the filed by bus or train and begin work at 6:00 oclock. They eat breakfast shortly before 8:00 oclock in the morning. Mill workers on some plantations are on a 12 hour basis and others on an 8 hour basis. They start at 6:00 a. m. Some workers have worked as high as 90 hours per week. Some wages have been as low as 9 ¢ per hour. The base pay for plantation workers is still $1 per day. Plantation operators claim that the workers get much more. This is due to the fact that on one or more days per week an employee may work on a short term contract basis or piece -work basis. On that particular day he may earn more than the base pay of $1. Because of the speed-up system, a plantation which formerly employed 2,300 men has been able to reduce its employees 1,660 without granting pay increases.
The proportion of male citizen employees on the plantation is 21%. Most of the citizens are not employed in then actual growing of cane. For instance, the heart of the industry is the cutting and loading of cane. On one plantation, only 7 citizens were cutting cane and 52 loading it.
One of the highest paid plantation workers on a plantation which was surveyed were two mill laborers earning $756 and $766. This same survey showed that family incomes range from $243.85 to $1,597.00 with half of the families earning less than $627. The difference between the family incomes was due largely to the number of people in the family who were working. The earnings of the husbands in the families having the highest income amounted to only $494. The long-term payment contracts during the year ranged from $172 to $343, an average of $249.99. When the contract pay is added to the income received monthly by contract workers, their average annual income amounts to $436. Non-contract workers have an average income of $508. Long-term contractors generally earn less than non-contract workers. The average annual plantation earnings of all husbands in the 101 families studied was $474.
The Plantation operators make a great play on paternalistic gratuities which they call pre-requisites. Each plantation workers family covered by the survey was furnished with a house, running water, kerosene for cooking, and medical unit hospital service. The Industrial Accident Board found that the cost of the pre-requisite rather than the value to the employee should be considered and fixed the value of the pre-requisite at $2.75 per week.
73 of the families studied in the survey ended the year with either unpaid bills, loans payable or saving withdrawn. Net figures showed that 42 families spent $99 less than their income, and 48 spent on the average of $114 more than their income. In 11 families the income and expenditures balanced. For the 101 families there was an average deficit of $12.87.
41 of the families reported no savings during the time they were in the territory; 80 reported savings. The average savings for all families during the time they were in the territory was $169. 34 stated they had sent money to the Philippines; 21 of them to support relatives; and 15 to invest in land; one to make house repairs. Those who sent money to the Philippines for relatives averaged $66: those investing in land, $324. 76 families owe amounts ranging from $2.50 to $446,-averaging $104, on debts accumulated since they came to the territory.
A budget prepared by Elizabeth Bergstrom of the Social Service Bureau in Honolulu fixed a budget of $1,017 for white persons and $830 for oriental families. Of the 101 Filipino families studied; 99 spent less than the amount allowed for personal supplies. 94 families spent less than the budget for fuel, light, operating expense. 78 families lived in quarters more crowded than proposed in the budget. 80 spent less for transportation. 72 spent less on clothing. 70 spent less on gifts and taxes. 45 spent less on food. 23 spent less on recreation. 14 spent less on education. Because of expenditures on items not included in the budget, only 41 families spent n total less than $213.00 per adult male, the total amount of the budget suggested for oriental families. The Social Service Bureau in Honolulu provides food allowance for families on relief of $6.85 per week for a family of five, or $104 per adult male. In addition, bread is issued to the families. 75 of the Filipino families spent less on food than $104 per adult male, provided by the Social Service Bureau.
4 out of the 15 families own automobiles but had no beds. 6 had no chairs. Only 3 had washing machines. All 15 had electric irons-all but one had a sewing machine. Of 12 families having sewing machines, 4 did not have chairs. 1 family had no beds. Many of them had large framed photographs on the walls-pictures usually of relatives or funerals. 49 had attractive victorias. Most of the living rooms had two wooden benches and a rough wooden table. Only half of the houses have chairs in the living rooms. Less than 1/5 of the families have easy chairs. The walls of the houses are of wide, rough boards. 30% of the homes have no beds. They have sleeping mats rolled up on the floor, piled with bedding. The mats are of straw, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Each accommodates two members of the family. There are no clothes closets in the homes. 21 of the families had neither beds nor chairs. 29 families had beds but no chairs. 8 families had chairs but no beds. 43 families had both chairs and beds.
It is well to bear in mind that the survey above referred to was made on one of the best plantations in the territory. I am supplementing this report on the plantation situation by a copy of an article prepared by a man who was engaged as a welfare worker on one of the plantations.
These are the conditions which the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association is determined to keep. It will spare no effort or money to prevent the organization of its employees to obtain better wages and working conditions.
There have been two general Filipino strikes in the Islands. Thirteen Filipinos were killed in the first strike. The Japanese plantation workers also went on a strike which was a very vicious one. Filipino workers were imported to break this strike. By playing the Japanese against the Filipinos a strong racial prejudice has been built up. Let me quote from a confidential report made on one of the dances held at a Plantation Club House.
Saturday evening, the 15th, I attended the dance given by the Continuation School at their Club House. I found the music good, the crowd orderly and the party generally as well conducted as any held in that building.
One feature of the gathering is worthy of note. The girls, Japanese and Portugese women, refused to dance with the Filipino men who were present by virtue of having purchased tickets from some of these very girls and on the few occasions when there were tag dances, there was a noticeable arrangement among the other racial group where one of their number was on the spot to tag any Filipino the moment he started to dance with one of their girls.
It was not wholesome to see a large group of Filipino men occupying one complete side of the building, throughout the evening, glum and discouraged, and pondering these things in their hearts, possibly for future action. There have been racial fights at these mixed dances at our Club House during the year, and there will be more in the future unless preventive action is taken. Possibly a City and County Policeman should be present at all such affairs.
The Filipinos are ultra-nationalistic and very touchy, and representing 53 per cent of our male personnel, cannot he publicly humiliated with impunity. Any program to unite the race which does not place emphasis on such a large percentage of our population has potential danger.
Here is another gem from a Plantation report, referring to a Christmas Tree Benefit Dance. This party, given by a church crowd, was attended by too much drunkenness and fighting. The City and County police should be at all such functions.
The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association brags about what the plantations did during the depression. On one plantation there were, in March, 1931, 1479 Filipinos. By July, 1934, there were 427 less. Referring to this fact, a report to the company reads in part as follows:
Personally, I am not as enthusiastic over the increase in the Japanese personnel in the last three years--102 -as I am concerned over the decrease in Filipino personnel during the same period-427- on the ground that I have a suspicion that many of your young citizens of Japanese ancestry are going to leave us as soon as financial conditions improve.
Not a single Filipino has been added to the payroll since March of this year, and only 11 have been taken on since last year. Sixty-eight Filipinos have been dropped this year, and a great many more will leave at the end of the harvest.
Not being very enthusiastic about being able to get our harvesting done by the citizen product of our Territorial Schools, I feel that special attention should be given to the question of adding, and certainly retaining, hard working Filipinos.
Incidentally, in this connection, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that the plantations are now faced with a very serious situation. The Filipino Repatriation Act provided that Filipinos might be moved back to their native land from the mainland but because of the sugar lobby, an exemption was made as to the Hawaiian Islands. Due to the publicity given in the Islands about our investigation, there is little hope that the plantations can induce many more Filipinos to go to Hawaii under the glowing false promises which were made to them in the past.
There are about 1,000 Filipinos on strike on the Island of Maui at time present time, who demand that they either be given higher wages or be taken back to their native land.
The Japanese who worked on the Plantations more or less as coolie laborers are doing everything possible to educate their children so that they will not have to put up with the same conditions. These parents are making a great sacrifice so that their offspring will not have to live as they have lived. They do not want their children to be plantation coolies. For that reason there is developing an absolute shortage of plantation workers. The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association is at last realizing that its supply of cheap alien labor is cut off and that the offspring which they counted on so heavily to carry on will not, because of their education and American environment, go on doing the things which their forefathers did. For this reason, efforts have been and are being made to better the conditions of the Japanese colonies so as to attract young Japanese. Large ads advertising the joys of plantation life are appearing in various papers in the Islands. Great efforts are being made to stir up interest in athletics so as to attract young Japanese citizens to the plantation.
All the paternalism, however, does not seem to be accomplishing the desired results. Only when the plantations finally realize that their workers must be given freedom and independence as well as better wages, can they hope to attract American citizens, even of Oriental descendants.
Judgment from what I learned from personal contact and interviews with various people in the educational field, most of the young Japanese are loyal to our country and if given an opportunity to live as Americans should, they would not create any dangerous military hazard. There are nearly 150,000 Japanese in the Territory whose total population is 393,000. There are 53,000 Filipinos and 57,000 Whites.
The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association dictates the labor policy of its members and has a Labor Bureau through which employees are engaged. It maintains a blacklist, has a widespread espionage system, headed by a man by the name of MacDuffy who was formerly Chief of Detectives for the Honolulu Police Department, but was kicked off because he was too crooked.
In this espionage system, the Filipino churches, supported by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, play a key part. It has a Press Bureau known as the Pacific Press Bureau which sends out propaganda and arranges to secure all reports on all organizational activities. The Association arranges for the employment of armed guards and detectives, dictates to the various governmental agencies, secures the passage of various anti-labor laws, and is the key to the whole industrial setup in the Hawaiian Islands.
To give you an idea of some of the tactics employed by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association. which outwardly purports to be so interested in protecting its workers from graft, Butler, the former manager of the Association, issued passes to a man by the name of Valentino, one of the H. S. P. A. employees, so that he could go to the Plantations and sell large pictures at a great profit.
The Filipino workers who have signed contracts to work three years are entitled to free transportation back to the Islands. Many of them are refused this transportation, or if they do get it, have to contribute $25 to the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association officials in order to get fixed up.
The Association sends out confidential lists which it directs the plantation manager to read and destroy, to the effect that such and such men have left a given plantation because of union activities-do not employ under any conditions. Every union organizer appeared on a black list. In order to avoid the black list many of the employees formerly changed their names. However, one cannot secure work now unless he shows a work record for three months previous so that there is no advantage in changing names. To give you a further example of the type of control exercised over the plantations by the Association. I call your attention to an exhibit attached hereto which was a letter written on March 24, 1932, by one of the Hawaiian officials in the Big Five. Because this letter was written confidentially and came from a source which I cannot conscientiously disclose, I have eliminated the beading and signature.
This will acknowledge receipt of your favor of November 23, on the subject of the twelve hour shift In the mill, and urging that with the present unemployment problem Waialua adopt the eight hour shift in the factory.
This matter has been given very careful consideration by both the Trustees of the Association and the management. Last year a Committee of managers worked on this problem throughout the year and submitted a report to the Executive Committee meeting where the subject was discussed at considerable length.
There were only a few managers and trustees who felt that it would be advisable to make the change. Practically all the managers reported they had no difficulty in getting workers in the mill and that many of their employees preferred this work to field work. Furthermore, they did not feel with the present low price of sugar that it would be economically possible to make the change. Such a change would entail a considerable large expense on the plantations and at the present time there is hardly a plantation but what is losing money, and consequently it would hardly be fair to the stockholders to cause additional losses when there is ample labor ready and willing to work under the present condition.
It would be impossible for Waialua to make the changes above. I am much in sympathy with your views, but I am in a small minority and accordingly it is possible for me to make this change. Consequently, I do not feel that it would be advisable for you to agitate this matter at the present time as it would do more harm than good.
Kindly treat the above information as confidential.
Maui Plantation Strike
Antonio Fagel began organizing the Filipino plantation workers on the Island of Maui early in April, 1937.
For convenience sake, I quote from my letter to you of April 7, 1937, relative to certain efforts to organize the Filipino laborers:
Pablo Manlapit, a Filipino Lawyer, led a strike of the Plantation workers in 1924. The strike was very far-reaching. Charges were framed up against Manlapit, and I quote the following from an editorial appearing in the Hawaiian Hochi.
Manlapit was sentenced to serve from two to ten years for conspiracy in connection with the Filipino strike. This paper is convinced that he is a victim of an unfortunate miscarriage of justice. Many of the prominent lawyers in Honolulu are firmly convinced that he was convicted on a frame-up charge and railroaded to prison merely to get him out of the way so that the strike could be more easily broken. Many believed that if there was a conspiracy, Manlapit was the victim of it.
Later Manlapit was paroled on the condition that he leave the Territory. He went to California where he met Fagel. Fagel had gone to California in 1917, had completed his high school course by 1927. Through his acquaintance with Manlapit, he became interested in the Filipino labor situation. When the term of Manlapits banishment had expired, he and Manlapit came to Hawaii.
On May 8, 1932, a meeting was held at Aala Park, Honolulu, at which thousands of Filipinos welcomed the return of Manlapit. Shortly thereafter, Manlapit, Fagel and E. A. Tack, organized the Filipino Labor Union. On June 19,1932, at a meeting in the same park, the organization was publicly announced. During the early part of July in that year the three above mentioned persons campaigned in the Island of Oahu. They then went to the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai. While on the latter Island, Fagel was arrested for trespassing. In July or August, 1933, he was sentenced to banishment to Honolulu for a period of thirteen months. He appealed and his sentence was then reduced to a banishment of three months. In February, 1934, Fagel returned to Honolulu to spend the period of his banishment.
The three organizers them continued their efforts in and about Honolulu until Tack was arrested for gross cheat. He was arrested of taking a five dollar membership fee to the Union on false representations. He was convicted and sentenced. He appealed and the lower Court was reversed on September 14, 1935.
Shortly following Tacks arrest, Manlapit was arrested and convicted of charging more than the ordinary fee and getting a bonus for a Filipino. This was approximately in October, 1935. The Secretary of the Federal Labor Union was the chief witness against him. This same man was also the chief witness against Manlapit in his first conviction and banishment. Manlapit was exiled again after his second conviction, and I understand, is now head of the labor unions in the Philippine Islands. The Secretary undoubtedly was a stool pigeon of the worst type.
After Tack was arrested the three organizers decided to change their name and disguise their purpose. They adopted the name appearing in the Charge. Very little work was done in this new organization at that time.
Fagel, after Manlapit and Tack became enmeshed in legal difficulties, started working as a bus boy in the Young Hotel. Apparently the word got around that he was the same man who had been connected with the Filipino Union, and he was fired for smoking. As a matter of fact this man has never smoked in his life. After that he secured work with the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. When the pineapple season closed, he worked as an extra bus boy at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach. The Treasurer of his organization, Estevan Cavanda, wrote him requesting that he come over to the Island of Maui, which he did on November 12, 1935, and began again to carry on his organizational activities. He was severely beaten on two occasions, only one of which is described in the Charge. Filipino spies followed him everywhere he went.
Mr. Toland.. Mr. Chairman, the balance of the report is exhibits.
The Chairman. Just let them be printed..
Mr. Toland. I would like to proceed, because of the length of the exhibit, and it can be spread on the record and printed.
(That portion of Exhibit 1283 not read and ordered spread on the record follows:)
I do not believe that Fagel intended to call a strike on the plantations. He planned to create his organization and then attempt to negotiate with the management in order to better the workers conditions. Either due to the fact that so much resentment had been built up among the laborers over a long period or due to the work of an agent provacator, the men quit spontaneously when one of the company officials, Ward Walkers, refused to talk to them about a wage increase. This occurred about April 20, 1937. The strike spread until at the present time there are about 1,000 to 1,200 workers out of work. Referring to this matter I quote from my letter to you of May 14, 1937:
A strike has been in progress at this plantation since April 20th. The strike affected only the Filipino field workers and factory workers. I consulted with the union and was informed by Mr. Bailey, who was acting as an adviser to the union, that the organization was very weak and that he feared most of the men would go back to work within a short time as their morale was getting low. All Filipino strikes to date have been broken. He felt that the same fate was in store for this strike. He stated that the committee of Filipinos, especially the leader, Fagel. had had no experience with labor organizations, and was very emotional. Mr. Bailey thought that if any kind of a proposition could be worked out which would permit the men to go back to work and let them build up their organization, it should be accepted by the strikers. The Company had refused to meet the union committee, and had taken a position which indicated that it intended to starve the strikers into submission. I contacted the company manager, and his two lawyers, on Monday morning, went over the demands of the union, and secured from the manager the first written proposition that has ever been made by a plantation relative to a Filipino strike. It was far from satisfactory, but I thought it my duty to submit the matter to the union committee without approving or disapproving. A mass meeting was later held by the union and the companys proposition rejected.
The sent of the trouble does not lie in this particular plantation. The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association dictates the policies of all the associations. There is, in fact, really just one big sugar trust which controls the whole industrial set-up of the Islands. In my judgment any hearing involving the plantations would serve little purpose unless the entire set-up of the Association was thoroughly gone into. That would be a tremendous task. I refer you to my previous correspondence, particularly my last letter relative to this subject. I am enclosing a charge against the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association which is self-explanatory and gives you some idea of the ramifications a hearing could have to take.
You have received a copy of the charges but for convenience sake I am attaching an additional copy. The allegations therein are very interesting, and, to the best of my knowledge true and correct. The averments in the charge were so broad and comprehensive that they would permit investigation of the entire industrial set-up in the Islands. In my judgment an investigation of the charges should not be attempted by one man but rather by a well-equipped staff. The job is too big to be tackled single-handed and without adequate help. I feel confident that if Congress knew the facts relative to the situation in the Islands it would take some action to assure a more democratic administration there. Untold good can he accomplished if some plan could be worked out whereby a Congressional Investigation could be carried on jointly or in conjunction with our hearing on the present charges. By so doing, many of the things not pertinent to our case could be developed.
Such an investigation, followed by a public hearing and order of the Board, should break the backbone of the entire anti-labor set-up and the anti-democratic policies now existing in the Islands. That accomplished, there would probably be very little desire on the part of the Sugar Trust or its affiliates to violate the provision of our Act. It will, no doubt, be necessary to keep a representative in the Islands, at least part of the time, to watch them so that they would not step out of line. Perhaps infrequently it might be necessary to hold a minor hearing involving some discrimination.
I am attaching as exhibits copies of two statements referring to the Maui situation, one by William Bailey and one by Edward Berman.
The following press dispatch was received from Manila relative to this matter:
Manila, May 17-API-Hawaii Strikers.
A strike involving Filipino laborers on a sugar plantation in Hawaii was called to the attention of the Philippine Government today by a group of Manila labor leaders who requested the Commonwealth to intervene.
Jorge B. Vargas, Secretary to President Manuel Quezon, informed the labor delegation that the Commonwealth would not intervene directly. He said if striking Filipino laborers in Hawaii want to submit a bill of particulars to the Commonwealth describing their grievances, he will consider sending it to President Quezon for the Presidents information or any action Quezon may deem necessary.
Vargas told the Delegation that unless Washington officials were first consulted he did not believe it would be proper to send a Philippine labor observer to Hawaii.
Suggesting Filipino labor should have lodged any complaint with the Philippine Resident Commissioner in Washington, Vargas said, We must presume Filipino laborers on strike in Hawaii will be dealt with fairly and justly. At least we have the right to expect and hope they will be given such treatment.
If we have reasons to believe strikers are being mistreated, then the Commonwealth Government through its authorized representatives will take a hand, at this time we have no means of knowing what the situation really is.
The labor leaders had intended to call on High Commissioner Paul V. McNutt but he was in Baguio. Those visiting Vargas included Pablo Manlapit, former Filipino labor leader in Hawaii.
I was informed by the Company that the workers were getting $2.50 and $3.50 per day. I asked one of the employees to bring me in his pay envelope. He did so. This envelope showed that he received $7.45 cash for a months work. The items on the envelope read as follows:
In view of the filing of the new charges against the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association and the Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company, Ltd., the charges previously filed against Punene Plantation Company were withdrawn per letter of May 14, 1937, signed by Antonio A. Fagel. A copy of this letter is attached as an exhibit.
I also call your attention to two letters signed by Stanley, Vitousek, Pratt and Winn, dated April 19th, which have been previously forwarded to you relating to the charges against the Punene Plantation.
On May 18, 1937, six Filipino members of the union were arrested for picking up a camp leader who stated he was going back to work. They brought him into the union office, tied him up, and made him sign a statement that he was not going to go back to work. He was not otherwise harmed.
As I stated previously, the union apparently did not intend to call a strike. There was some suspicion that the camp leader mentioned acted as an agent provacator in causing the strike.
On the same day that these six men were arrested, Roy Vitousek. Speaker of the House and Chief Counsel for the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, flew to Maui.
On May 20, 1937, four more Filipinos who were members of the union and who were present in the hall were arrested in connection with the incident of the camp leader. Among these four was Antonio Fagel, president of the union.
All ten of these men were then charged with conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment. The trial date was set at June 2, 1937. I have not been informed as to the outcome of this trial.
General Labor Situation
Labor unions had been unable to make any headway in the Hawaiian Islands prior to time of the Castle and Cooke hearing. Not of single employer had entered into a contract with a labor union. Subsequent to our hearing, above referred to, the first employer, C. Brewer and Company, Ltd., recognized the Hilo Longshoremens Association as the exclusive bargaining agency for its waterfront employees. Various efforts from time to time have been made to organize workers. These attempts have been defeated by the firing of the leaders and most of those who joined the labor movement. Many of those who participated in labor movements have been unable to obtain regular jobs since then. Those who were too persistent in their efforts for labor found themselves faced with criminal charges add were, in many instances, banished from the Islands.
Laundry employees in the city of Hilo called a strike demanding higher wages. They were receiving 13¢ per hour and settled for 17¢. This is not an unusual situation. Young girls are employed long hours in various textile enterprises at very low wages. Their products then compete with articles made by higher priced labor on the mainland. Girls are employed long hours in barber shops, stores, bars and cafes at exceedingly low wages. Child labor appears in many industries, especially on the plantations during vacation time. Very small wages are paid to these children compared to the amount of work they do.
Labor as a whole in the Islands presents a very sorry picture. A number of the laborers are more like slaves than free people. I have seen them remove their hats when officers of the Big Five pass. They live from hand to mouth. Surrounded by 2,000 miles of water, they have no chance to change their jobs or to get away from their present environment. They speak and mumble in undertones.
Plantation workers get their houses, such as they are, rent free, but the cost of food makes it almost impossible to obtain a sufficient diet to enable them to do hard manual labor. The price of milk runs as high as 21¢ per quart. Most of the plantation workers purchase their food at plantation stores where the prices are very high. Very little food, even ordinary garden vegetables, is raised in the Islands. Because of low wage rates and the high cost of living, the laboring classes are hardly able to maintain an American standard of living. It does not seem reasonable to assume that it is a matter of preference that they eat fish-eyes instead of pork, seaweed instead of spinach, or poi and rice instead of bread, butter, salad, potatoes and meat. That labor in the Territory desires to organize and will do so if it feels that it will not be intimidated and discriminated against for so doing, it exemplified by what transpired subsequent to our Castle and Cooke hearing. Men began to flock into the Longshoremens Union. Organizations began to appear in various other industries-laundries, newspapers, radio, plantations, and electrical businesses. Unless the Board is able to have a representative in the Islands a substantial period of time during each year, these organizational efforts will be futile and the leaders will be discharged.