Today in labor history: Hawaii longshoremen strike

On this day in 1937, Hawaiian workers who were members of the International Longshoreman’s Worker Union (ILWU) went on strike together with Japanese and Filipino workers who sought higher pay to match that of longshoremen on the West Coast U.S.

At the time, West Coast workers with that union were being paid $1.82 an hour, whereas in Hawaii they were only paid $1.40, even though they were doing the same amount of work – loading and unloading the same amount of cargo. Employers felt that a mere 12-cent increase was fair, but the Hawaiians declined that offer, and the strike began after subsequent negotiations failed.

The strikes continued until finally a 21-cent raise was agreed upon on October 23, 1949.

Photo: Hawaii State Archives







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