• Successful Essays From The Past

    Kapolei High School
    University of Hawai`i, Manoa

    “What was the most important accomplishment of ILWU Local 142 in Hawaii?”

    Upon learning the extensive and deeply rich history of ILWU Local 142, the most significant accomplishment in my eyes is truly the multitude of ways in which the union came to shape labor rights and conditions for all citizens of Hawaii, not merely those who were paying members. One such event in ILWU Local 142 history that remains an important accomplishment to this day, is the May 1, 1949 Dock Strike, which lasted a total of 177 days in efforts to officially challenge the longstanding colonial wages here in Hawaii.

    These colonial wages forced Hawaii longshore workers into receiving disproportionately lower pay than longshore workers of the same time period located along the West Coast of the United States. ILWU Local 142 members set forth to close this wage gap by seeking a pay increase from $1.40/hour, to match the $1.82/hour which was being paid to workers of the same trade in the West Coast region.
    Damien Memorial School
    University of Hawai`i, Manoa

    “What was the most important accomplishment of ILWU Local 142 in Hawaii?”

    Learning about the ILWU Local 142 was very interesting and served a huge purpose for the workers of Hawaii. Before ILWU Local 142, the Territory of Hawaii consisted of five big companies known as the “Big Five.”

    These companies took majority of the land and job systems in Hawaii. Ruining the economy in Hawaii, the “Big Five” would have its workers live in company housing and work the plantations. Workers would face long, harsh hours as well as very low wages and poor working conditions. This group dominated the territorial government of Hawaii and its economic, political, and cultural life. Though there were many protests by the workers, employers had no sympathy and allowed this to continue.

    Finally, ILWU Local 142 was created which gave workers of Hawaii hope for a better future.The union gave workers an opportunity to earn better wages, work reasonable hours, and get benefits that will help them in life. IWLU Local 142 also gave workers a safer environment to work inwhere they would not have to worry about unsanitary conditions or dangerous environments while working. It provided employers who actually cared for their employees and their families.Employees of the union were finally able to work for jobs that would keep them economically stable and allow them to provide for they families.
    Baldwin High School
    University of Hawai`i, Manoa

    “The ILWU Local 142 Leading Hawaii’s Working Future”

    The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, better known as ILWU Local 142, was a union formed to protect the rights and improve the working conditions of laborers in Hawaii. Today, the ILWU Local 142 includes approximately 18,000 workers from numerous industries such as longshore, general trades, tourism, and agriculture. The ILWU Local 142 has had a massive impact on the lives of many in Hawaii, however, the most important accomplishment of all, would be the creation of the union itself.

    Before the establishment of labor unions such as the ILWU Local 142, there were five major companies monopolizing the sugar industry known as “The Big Five”. These sugar companies brought laborers from various countries and ethnicities to work for them in promise of better living conditions. The sugar industry in Hawaii was a significant source of income for the island and all of its residents. Due to the massive size and power of these companies, they were able to greatly influence the decision of politicians, they were able to greatly influence the decision of politicians and movement of the government. Among political influence, were laws and bills created to limit the rights of workers and ability to refute the conditions set forth by their employers.
    King Kekaulike High School
    University of Hawai`i, Manoa

    “Harriet Bouslog Labor Scholarship Fund”

    The paramount accomplishment of ILWU Local 142 in Hawai’i was that they were relentless in their pursuit of providing justice to hard-working and humble people like my grandfather.

    Many of these plantation workers were immigrants with incredible work ethic and admirable dreams, striving to provide for their families. Additionally, many of them had very little education and had no means of advocating for themselves. Without the organization and empowerment of ILWU Local 142, these employees could have easily been exploited in plantations for the entirety of their careers.

    At the time of my grandfather’s employment, Hawaii’s economy was dominated by just a handful of landholding companies. The plantation system implemented by these companies forced workers, like my grandfather, to live in undesirable company housing and work the plantations for meager wages doing backbreaking physical labor.
    Kamehameha Schools Keaau Campus
    Hawai’i Community College

    “An Injury To One Is An Injury To All”

    ILWU Local 142 is in place essentially to help employees, and always be there for them when they need support. In my opinion, the most important accomplishment of the ILWU Local 142 in Hawaii is that by exemplifying solidarity by working towards a benefit all those involved.

    I believe that unions help us because they focus on the best interest and the protection of the workers, which is really important. It is essential for workers to be protected with job security because most working adults have families, and they don’t want to have to feel uneasy about losing their job or getting a pay cut for no justified reason.
    Kamehameha Schools Keaau Campus
    University of Hawai’i, Hilo

    “To Start A New Beginning”

    Jack Hall was the start of change of Hawaii’s work force. And because of his actions it still impacts people every day. He left a great legacy of the ILWU Local 142, and I am sure it will still positively affect many in the future. ILWULocal142 created the opportunity for a sense of dignity and pride in blue collar, local agriculture, plantation workers, warehouse workers, and dock workers.

    This is important to all of us in the state of Hawaii because we are a state with a majority of blue collar workers, dock workers, warehouse workers and those who work in the tourist industry, which took place of most plantation and agriculture work. The workers share the benefit to have the opportunity to have a say at the bargaining table when unions meet to discuss different job contracts. It allows workers to care and provide for their families in the rough economical times of today and also thrive as individuals. It’s been a great experience learning about how the ILWU Local 142 has such a major impact on Hawaii.
    Waiakea High School
    University of Hawai’i, Hilo

    “ILWU Local 142: A Lasting Legacy”

    “At the core, labor unions are working men and women, unified as one force. Despite any personal differences that may exist between us, we have bonded together to protect and improve the lives of workers. We rise up together for the greater good. We defend one another like family” – Sue Carney. Labor unions are something that thousands of people are involved in throughout our nation. Although many recognize their importance, they may not realize that unions began forming years ago.

    Employees are directly impacted by the union because the union controls such things as working conditions and health concerns. But the impact doesn’t stop there. The union also affects the lives of the families of their employees. Labor unions are a part of everyone’s lives and they impact us daily.

    “ILWU Local 142 is a labor union that is prominent not only in my life, but in the lives of countless others. It all began years ago on the sugar cane fields here in Hawaii. Immigrants from the Philippines, Japan, China, and Portugal were called to the Hawaiian Islands with promises of prosperity and happiness. That is, however, not what they received when they arrived here. Plantation camps were often segregated based on race. It was this very system that allowed these workers to be paid unfair wages for intense labor. It also went even further with some races getting paid more than others. This often caused tension and unhappiness among employees. This is the point in history where something wonderful began to happen. The union, “ILWU Local 142, began to be formed.
    Kamehameha Schools Keaau Campus
    University of Hawai’i, Hilo

    “What was the Most Important Accomplishment of ILWU Local 142 in Hawai’i?”

    “Brothers and Sister” is what Harriet Bouslog said as she approaches the plantation farmers and as a lawyer spoke on their behalf. Surprisingly seven decades later there are over a million employees who get to strive at their jobs with rights because of Harriet Bouslog. When she first landed on Hawai’i she made all the right steps and turns to become and do to what was just in her mind.

    I find this woman very inspiring and a great role model to lawyers, unions workers, and just an ordinary person. I would have to say the biggest turning point would be in July 1959 when Harriet Bouslog said “The bringing of economic democracy to Hawai’i through the ILWU Local 142 and its contributions toward racial equality, as well as toward destroying the old feudal grip on the Islands, was without doubt, an important factor in the achievement of Statehood.” This marked the start for everyone to feel equal in many ways and for politics and segregation not to matter.

    Similarly to Harriet I found my interview to be very inspiring and heartfelt. When I interviewed Bradley Llanes it was a little difficult to get a perspective from his eyes. He came from a childhood where “the necessities were not always available”. My background growing up was my father and mother working two jobs each to support four children and always encouraging us to go to the best schools and earn the best knowledge. Once I heard those words I got a picture in my minds of hungry nights and no showers or hardly any clean clothes. I felt deep sadness but it also brought me to appreciate what I have.
    Kohala High School
    University of Hawai’i, Manoa

    “What was the Most Important Accomplishment of ILWUL Local 142 in Hawai’i?”

    It’s arduous for me to narrow it down to just a single important accomplishment that the ILWUL Local 142 has and continues to contribute to its many members over the years. Although if I have to, I would say that the most considerable achievement the ILWUL Local 142 has cultivated is promote employee rights and bestow benefits to the working people of Hawaii.

    “We really appreciate what the union did for us…”, my grandpa, Joseph R. Faisca, Sr. told me, as his mind traveled back in time to his youth and the days of living and working on the sugar plantation. For over 100 years, Hawaii’s workers suffered and sacrificed under the terrible repression and tyranny of Hawaii’s most powerful employers and government officials. “Before the union, we were working for peanuts,” my grandpa stated with a look of disdain in his eyes. When these large landholding companies took over in the early 1800’s, they destroyed the traditional economy and set up a plantation system that forced most workers to live in company housing and work the plantations for miserable wages, under brutal working conditions. A portion of the 1919 Japanese Federation appeal request perfectly depicts an example of this injustice.
    Aiea High School
    University of Hawai`i, West Oahu

    “Giving Choices, the Most Important Contribution Today”
    Kamehameha High School Kapalama
    University of Hawai’i, Manoa

    “Harriet Bouslog Scholarship Essay”
    Punahou High School
    University of Hawai’i, Manoa

    “Sweet Victory: Why the 1946 Sugar Strike is the Most Important Accomplishment of ILWU Local 142”
    Kapiolani Community College

    “The Most Important Accomplishment of ILWU Local 142 in Hawai’i”
    University of Hawai’i, Manoa

    “`A`ohe hana nui ke alu `ia. No Task is Too Big When Done Together by All”
    University of Hawai’i, Manoa

    “The Most Important Accomplishment of ILWU Local 142 Hawai’i”
    Kekaulike High School
    University of Hawai’i, Manoa

    “The Biggest Accomplishment”
    Kamehameha High School
    Honolulu Community College

    “ILWU local 142 Past, Present, and Future”

    My interview with my stepdad, Ron Oleyer has been an eye opening and very educational experience. I have learned not only about the history of the ILWU local 142, but also the importance and impact the union has on its members, as well as the members’ families and communities.

    I have learned many things about the history of the ILWU local 142. One thing I have learned is that a former sailor named Jack Hall, helped to organize longshore and pineapple workers on Kauai. He started a newsletter called, “The Voice of the ILWULocal142.” Local 142 was formed after four local unions merged and joined forever. The workers of the various labor unions knew that they needed greater unity in order to bargain with employers. By doing so, the union became stronger throughout the islands economically and gained political cooperation. The consolidation of Local 142 became solid and provided more quality service for all ILWU local 142 members. I also learned about the importance of the 1949 Dock Strike. The strike lasted for 171 days. The Hawaii longshore workers knew that they deserved the same wages as their counterparts on the west coast. The unity of the union and its members stood strong and ultimately prevailed.
    Kalani High School
    University of Hawaii, Manoa

    “Union Working to Live Right”

    ILWU Local 142 has very much been an alien term to me, but I have learned that without the ILWU Local 142, many workers would suffer great losses. Hawai’i and its workers have been greatly affected by the job security and benefits that it provides to its members. They negotiate to create a fairer work environment and subsequently a fairer lifestyle because of it. This includes pay increases and safety committees that were not considered a concern by the owners of big companies in times before the union offered its workers a voice.

    In a time where the Big Five were the only “bigs” in control of the economic activity in the Hawaiian Islands, reflection upon the year 1935 produces a serious lack of organization of unions. The modicum of control the workers were allowed in a network of such tight-leashed wealthy families was simply not enough for the workers to gain any ground. According to a 1936 study by Edna Clark Wentworth and Frederick Simplich Jr., more than half of the 101 Filipino families on sugar plantations surveyed concluded their year with an average deficit of 57%, which comes to be about $85. Their wages consisted of 27 cents per hour and very rarely, if ever, increased. At that rate, big families in Hawai’i could barely afford to put food on their table. The owners took it upon themselves to prevent attempts at improving worker’s wages and miserable living conditions by separating nationalities and creating a dependency on the plantation’s restricted resources. For this reason, the eventual formation of the ILWU Local 142 and union of nationalities was both necessary and beneficial for employees in order to properly bargain with employers and aid in creating the democratic society that we have today.
    Home Schooled
    University of Hawaii, Manoa

    “Talking Story”

    I am studying a lot of history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I am majoring in American studies. My dad often picks me up from school and we drive home together in heavy traffic. This is often “talk story” times for us. When I was taking a class in American Studies 310 about Japanese Americans, I taped recorded my lectures, because some of the lectures were really funny. My professor often talked about himself and included his family in his lectures.

    My dad and I would listen to the lectures together on the drive home and my dad would laugh and laugh. Then, he would tell me his own stories. I learned about the early ILWU Local 142 history from this class, because the Japanese immigration experience is about coming to Hawaii as contract laborers for the sugar plantations and is closely linked with the labor movement.

    In many ways, the story of social change in Hawaii, is the story of the labor movement and the ILWU Local 142 members whose struggles made a difference in bringing about a more socially just and a more egalitarian society. My dad is very comfortable sharing his stories with me, but it was almost mission impossible to get my dad in front of the camera for a video interview. Still, it was a challenge for both of us to complete this project together and so we did. What I think I learned the most from this oral history interview project is that my dad has a strong sense of values and I think he succeeded in passing on his values to me.
    Seabury Hall
    University of Hawaii, Manoa

    “The Brotherhood of a Union”

    In Hawaii the land can only be cultivated to grow certain things because of our climate, and since our soil and temperate climate are perfect for sugar, it grew well.

    My family was just a few people who were a part of it. Although “the big five”, the missionary families that were at the top of the plantation triangle of power, had complete control over their immigrant workers, they continued to work because that’s what they came here to do. This uneven distribution of power did not hold up for long because of strikes and conflicts.What the Unions in the near future provided was security and a chance at fairness in the workplace for the workers, and management. Not everyone can be the boss but the workers and the bosses need to get along, need to be able to communicate and work together to accomplish what needs to be done.

    Unions made a big impact on the people in Hawaii and continue to do so today. Without unions I probably would not have a house to go home to, or much food on the table to eat, clothes to wear or a outstanding school to attend. I know this is true for other people too because it happens to everyone. Incidents happen and complications no one can anticipate or plan for accordingly but the Unions provide security and a chance to those in unfortunate circumstances. For the future Unions need to continue to serve the workers because without workers, management has no one to manage. I think the Unions we have today do an excellent job of keeping the workers best interests the priority which helps maintain a professional and fair relationship between management and the workers.

ref no:36389

Please send questions about this website to webmaster
Copyright© 2013 - 2023 Harriet Bouslog Scholarship Labor Fund. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use / Legal Disclaimer / Privacy Statement
Site Designed and Managed by MacBusiness Consulting