Center for Labor Education & Research
University of Hawai‘i - West O‘ahu

91-1001 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, HI 96707

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Rutledge Unionism
Labor Relations in the Honolulu Transit Industry

by Bernard W. Stern


book cover
click on cover for the online version

Published in 1986 with careful attention to the underlying economic issues, this history of the transit industry's labor relations sheds considerable light on the emergence of one of Hawaii's most controversial labor leaders.

From the time he first arrived in the islands in 1938, Art Rutledge has been one of the most significant figures in the history of the Hawaiian labor movement. Best known for the boldness of his confrontational style as the leader of Hawai'i's Teamsters and long time Business Manager of the hotel workers' union, Rutledge has had a definite impact on a number of different unions.

Though Stern's work does not attempt a definitive biographical treatment, this relatively short study of Art Rutledge's leadership of the transit workers' union accomplishes what many weightier books tend to miss. Stern shows us simply and directly the evolution of a leadership style and the building of a distinctive strategy for union representation that he describes as Rutledge Unionism. [147 pages]

The late Bernard (Bernie) W. Stern was involved in labor relations work for over 50 years-as a labor economist with the NLRB in Washington, as a union researcher and negotiator, as a consultant to both labor and management on benefit plans, and as a mediator in several disputes. From 1962-1965 he served as assistant to Art Rutledge. After twenty years as a consultant and mediator to Hawaii's labor community, he retired and began writing labor history. He died May 4, 1988, shortly after completing work on The Aloha Trade, his study of labor in Hawai'i's hotel industry.

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