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HONOLULU, November 26, 1930. GOVERNOR JUDD,
Washington, D. C.: C. A. Prosser has requested following wire forwarded to you: ** Have been engaged in working with your educational committee in its effort to adjust education in the Territory as a part of a Territorial back-tothe-soil movement for native-born workers. This adjustment and program will require time. Any drastic action at this juncture terminating the use of Filipino labor would in my opinion not only defeat the program, but result in grave economic trouble and depression here. Have wired Senator Fess same message. Suggest you see him before leaving Washington.”
BROWN, Acting Governor.
LIHUE, KAUAI, December 4, 1930. VICTOR HOUSTON,
Washington, D. C.: Kauai Chamber of Commerce indorses cables sent you by Honolulu Chamber on Senator Reed's proposed resolution. Urge you to make every endeavor to retain our necessary supply of Filipino laborers.
JOHN MOIR, Jr., President.
HAWAIIAN PINEAPPLE Co. (LTD.),
Honolulu, Hawaii, January 9, 1932. Hon. V. S. K. HOUSTON, Delegate in Congress from Hawaii,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR COMMANDER HOUSTON: I am writing to ask that you give a watchful eye to the sundry legislation proposed in regard to the Philippine Islands, so that when it comes out of the wash the Hawaiian pineapple industry may have the same protection, either by tariff or limitation of free entry to small volume, as may be granted to other products such as sugar, coconut oil, etc.
I inclose copy of a document which came into my hands and which covers this problem from the standpoint of the Pacific coast or other American fruit packers. With kind regards and best wishes for the New Year, Yours sincerely,
JAMES D. DOLE. Addendum.-By phone Mr. Dole added that he would suggest a limitation of 500,000 cases per year upon the understanding that they now bring in about 150,000 cases per year.
SOME COMMENTS ON THE PHILIPPINE MENACE TO THE AMERICAN CANNING INDUSTRY
During recent months there has been a tremendous increase in interest in the question of Philippine independence. Senator Hawes, ardent protagonist of the Filipinos, visited the Philippines last summer, and was the central figure in rousing demonstrations put on by the native population. Later the Secretary of War made a visit out there, apparently as a personal emissary of the President. As a result of all this agitation numerous bills are before the present session of Congress and sentiment seems to be growing to liberate the Filipinos under one or another of various plans.
The discussions have been more political than economic. And there is danger that political action without proper forethought by business interests may leave the door open for drastic competition from the Philippines, serious enough to wreck established American business.
Presumably you are aware of the danger to the whole fruit-canning industry if the American grower and canner remains unprotected from the enormous potential competition now dormant in the Philippine Islands.
The danger exists as long as the Philippines are under the American Flag. It will continue to exist if independence is granted without. adequate protection.
Philippine labor is very plentiful and cheap, and there are no United States corporation or individual income taxes. The Jones Act, restricting intraAmerican shipping to American bottoms, is inoperative in the Philippines, with the result that freight rates to the Atlantic seaboard are lower than
existing schedules from Hawaiian and Pacific coast ports, resulting in lower can costs, and an all important competitive advantage in reaching the large consuming markets.
Pineapples of a satisfactory quality are already growing in the Philippines, and mile upon mile of inexpensive land is available for the building of a great pineapple industry, with costs so low as possible, to obliterate Hawaiian canners.
Then there is the Philippine mango. No mango in the world compares with it, with the possible exception of certain varieties in India. When canned, it is a most delicious product and would be a strong competitor for the canned peach, and produced in the Philippines on a large scale and marketed at low prices would constitute a menace to the entire California fruit industry. Should a canned-mango business ever get really started, there seems to be every climatic and other advantage in developing a great Philippine industry in this product. Furthermore, food habits are relatively easily changed.
Mangoes have been canned on a limited scale in the Philippines and have found ready sale. So far capital has not been available in sufficient quantities to develop the business. But the delicious nature of the product leaves a threat so serious as to be deserving of your consideration.
There is no apparent reason why grapefruit can not be canned in the Philippines at costs that would endanger the American producers of this product. There is also the possibility of further competition from other tropical fruits, so far unknown in cans.
California fruits have little to fear from the competition of Hawaii, either in pineapples or mangoes. Pineapples can not expand much further because of lack of land, and this and other factors would bar any great mango industry there.
But in the Philippines land is unlimited and on every side lie competitive advantages for the fostering of a great fruit industry which might cripple the existing Hawaiian and California enterprises.
It would seem wise to watch carefully the situation in Washington, and devise remedies for what at present is a source of danger, in the face of which California and Hawaii are inevitably insecure
December 10, 1931.
HOUSTON COMPLETES SURVEY OF WAGE PAID NONSKILLED LABOR IN LOCAL
The following analysis of the wages paid nonskilled labor in the sugar and pineapple industries and other industries in Hawaii was compiled by Victor S. K. Houston, delegate to Congress, following a survey of the field in the Territory:
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE WAGES PAID NONSKILLED LABOR IN THE SUGAR AND
PINEPPLE INDUSTRIES, AND OTHER INDUSTRIES IN HAWAII
It has long been the general impression that nonskilled labor in the sugar and pineapple industries was paid less than other such labor in Hawaii.
If the hourly rate of pay only is the criterion, undoubtedly this is true. But if the total earnings over a more considerable period are taken as the basis of comparison, it is quite the opposite.
Lest I be thought to be partial, or to be engaged in propaganda, I will restrict my general exposition of the facts to such data as are made available in the report of Labor Conditions in the Territory of Hawaii 1929–30, a bulletin of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, No. 534, Department of Labor.
The survey was made by Mr. Ethelbert Stewart, Commissioner of Labor Statistics, after a personal visit in the Territory accompanied by two assistants.
I am sure that what the average citizen is most interested in is the amount of money in pocket at the end of the week or month, or year, rather than the hourly rate of pay while he works. What good does it do if the rate of pay is high, should employment be only for an hour or two a day; or 2, 3, or 4 days a week; or 8, 12, or 16 days a month.
The latter is the case in many lines of employment. In the sugar and pineapple industries, on the other hand, every effort is made to extend the employment of their labor to the whole yearly period. Take for instance the mill force in the sugar industry. Some mills grind 11 months, others grind only 8 months. It might be expected that. except for the overhaul crew, the rest of the mill force might be let out when the mill shuts down; such is not the case.
Hawaii's industries are farsighted, in that respect, and have long since established the policy of keeping their force employed throughout the year. It is a recognition, perhaps, of the principle of the responsibility of capital to labor in that respect. Such action should be recognized. Perhaps a little lesser rate per hour, or day, is more than compensated for by the yeararound employment.
Employment in these industries has in the past been somewhat unattractive to the citizen because of poor or inadequate housing. That has now been remedied, or is in the course of correction, and personal visits have impressed me with the very desirable character of the housing now being constructed. On a visit to three companies' plants on this island I found but one oldfashioned barrack building. Most of the new construction is restricted to four or eight men to a house, where single men are concerned. As to family housing, I found that in one of the companies' programs the cottages being constructed were 4-room houses with inside bathroom. Each house set in a garden, where vegetables could be grown, with room for a chicken run.
Before taking up an analysis of the report, may I just quote some figures as to individual companies' wages that I found upon yisiting them recently.
At Waipahu the figures extending over a whole year, for short-term or piecework labor gave an average of $2.10 per day. For long-term contracts they averaged $2.39 per day.
At Waialua the average for 1,776 unskilled laborers during a sample month was $1.87 per day plus turnout bonus or $2.057 per day. Under some of the more specialized contracts they average as follows: cane loading (343 men), $2.827 per day; cane cutting (228 men), $3.322 per day; track laying (65 men), $3.40 per day; hauling cane (45 men), $4.037 per day.
Now, let me analyze the report figures; and it should be remembered that what we are interested in is the actual average earnings, not the theoretical earnings.
Table 20 on pages 40, 41, and 42 is a “statement of settlements made with contract cultivators on a sugar plantation, crop of 1929"; from it I will summarize by quoting the figures from the bottom of column 22 which gives the “cash payment per man-day," segregated into crop years as follows: Cash payment per man, crop year
Per day 1929_
----- $2. 59 1928.
3. 03 1927_
2. 59 1926_
2. 47 1925_
2. 39 More and more men are now being employed, not on the so-called basic wage, but upon contract or piece work. Of 1,776 nonskilled men at Waialua only 180 men were on a basic wage scale, and some of these were said to be working on long-term contracts as well. The above rates are therefore a fair sample of what may be the earnings of a man when properly started.
All inclusive figures, including women, minors, and others working part time, are shown in Table 23, where on page 48 it is shown that in May, 1929, the average for all of the 41 plantations, the wage was $1.82 per day, and for the whole of the year it was $1.66 per day. This, as stated, includes children working part time during vacation and women who frequently only work part time to help out.
Taking the figures of Table 20 quoted above and multiplying by 6 for the working days of the week, we find that the average contract man earned at the rate of $2.39 times 6, or $14.34 per week, to $3.03 times 6, or $18.18 per week.
To this should be added the value of certain perquisites that are provided, such as housing, water, light, fuel, and hospitalization. As to housing, we find on page 10 of the report the following: “*
perquisites (estimated at a cost of $28 per month to the plantations)”; on page 18 the cost to the employer of the housing is given as $20 per month. It would not be unreasonable then to estimate the weekly housing to be worth about $5, and assuming the water, light, and heat to be worth about 50 cents a week, the
sum total of wages and perquisites (except hospitalization) would then be $14.34 plus 5.50=$19.48 to $18.18 plus 5.50=$23.68 per week.
To people who have unfortunately experienced sickness in the family requiring hospital treatment there will come a better realization of its value than could be set forth in words or figures. Suffice to say that all employees earning less than $100 a month are treated free, they and their families.
There are other privileges as to obtaining food at special prices that I will refer to at the end of this paper.
The situation in the pineapple industry is somewhat similar for field work. (See Table 27, p. 58, where are shown the average earnings per day for the whole of the year 1929 on plantations A and B to be $2.49 and $2.20. To this should be added perquisites similar to those of the sugar industry, so that for six days a week we should then have in this industry a wage of from $18.70 to $20.44.
Recapitulating these two field occupations we then have:
OTHER LINES SUMMARIZED
Now, as to other nonskilled employment in Hawaii, where housing is not provided.
On pages 70 and 71, Table 32, we find the following as to average actual earnings per day period: Canning industry: Maui, one month pay period (p. 70)— Laborers, male, $42.18, reduced to one week's wage, about----
$9. 70 Machine-shop helpers, $76.54, reduced to 1 week's wage, about-- 17.60 Average all employees, male, $52.20, reduced 1 week's wage, about..
11. 55 Oahu, 1-week period average actual earnings (p. 71)Eradicators, male..
10. 52 Laborers, male.
12. 56 Machine-shop helpers, male--
23. 79 Testers, can, male--
21. 98 Truck and tractors, driver, male..
20. 63 Average of all employees, male-
15. 15 "Table 33, page 72, also shows weekly earnings in 5 canneries as followsBoxmakers, male
13. 20 Eradicators, male-
12. 00 Laborers, male..
14. 04 Truck and tractor drivers, male---
19. 56 It should be remembered in connection with cannery employment that it is largely seasonal, and when not fully employed labor must seek other occupation. Building construction (p. 81, Table 38), average actual earnings, 1 week : Carpenters' helpers, Caucasion.
$14. 94 LaborersJapanese
9. 05 Caucasian--
18. 71 Masons, brick
20.52 Steam railways (page 86, Table 41), average actual earnings per month : Carpenters, $94.06, reduced to 1 week's wage.
21. 63 Laborers, $80.08, reduced to 1 week's wage
18. 42 Painters, $78. 90, reduced to 1 week's wage--
18. 15 Section hands, $66.40, reduced to 1 week's wage.
15. 28 Stevedores, $49.32, reduced to 1 week's wage--
11. 34 Road building (p. 87, Table 43), average actual earnings, 1 week: mate Concrete-mixer operator.
19. 05 Laborer
21. 16 Stone masons_
21. 19 Long-shore labor (p. 88, Table 45), average actual earnings, 1 week : Stevedores
14. 96 Winchmen
13. 29 “ Other employees
12, 91 106240-32-42
$7.70 17.05 18.57
18. 20 13. 83 19. 70 17. 46
21. 66 18.20
17. 82 20.17 20. SO
Steam laundries (pp. 89, 90, Table 48), average actual earnings, 1 week :
Shakers, mangle-machine feeders and folders, flat work..
Average all employees, male---
Double-seam operators, male.
Slitting-machine operators, male--
Laborers, reduced to weekly wage, about-
Wiremen's helpers, reduced to weekly wage, about_
Laborers, reduced to weekly wage, about----
Conductors, extra, reduced to weekly wage, about
press feeders, male..
Helpers, not otherwise specified---
21. 57 22. 62
14. 84 20.89 18. 19
22.00 17.49 14. 18 15. 64
1 week, pressers, male_
YEAR AROUND OCCUPATION
Just compare these figures with those given above for the field operations of the sugar and pineapple industries, remembering that these two industries afford year around occupation at the wage stated, whereas many of the other industries have long periods of unemployment.
And now let me refer to the privilege as to purchasing food necessities to which I referred when discussing the other perquisites allowed field labor in the two major industries.
On pages 127 to 129 of the same report will be found an analysis of the prices of food in Honolulu and outside Honolulu. This is shown in Table 93. It should be stated that the sugar and pineapple industries conduct company stores for the benefit of their employees, where the necessities are sold practically at cost. That this is of decided value will be evident from the following quotations :
Bacon, sliced. -pound..
Prices quoted are for October, 1930. The saving is very marked, except on coffee and granulated sugar; however, it is probable that in the company stores brown sugar can be had for less than in town.