November 18, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
West Oahu, HI – Walking through the archives of the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR), which is housed at the University of Hawaii (UH) in West Oahu, one gets drawn in to the many reminders of the battles conducted by Organized Labor in the past – some so vivid and riveting that you cannot leave without having them make a deep impression of what those Hawaii Workers who came before, fought for, so future generations could benefit.
For example, a glass display case contains an old bullwhip – which the Center’s Director, Dr. William Puette, tells WNYLaborToday.com was used in the early 19th Century by the owners of Hawaii’s sugar cane fields, who delivered blows while on horseback to imported Japanese Plantation Workers who did not understand orders in English. As a result of these injustices, the Japanese Workers staged Hawaii’s first Labor Strike in 1841. In fact, Hawaii’s first Trade Union was started in 1884 – and after the annexation of the state to the United States in 1898, and at the urging of then President William McKinley, contract Labor was prohibited.
The Center for Labor Education and Research – an endowed, outreach program that was established by Hawaii State Law back in 1976 – is housed inside the UH’s West Oahu Library. It maintains an impressive research collection and archive of Labor History and Law that features an array of clipping files on Hawaii’s Local Unions, as well as an ever-growing collection of contracts, Union newsletters, books and pamphlets that focus on Hawaii’s rich Labor History.
CLEAR, which is overseen by a board of 25 – including a number of Hawaii’s Labor Representatives, has been designed to provide Labor education, research and a variety of Labor-related programs to Workers, their organizations and the general public through a variety of methods – including classroom instruction, seminars, workshops, publications, the internet and other public media. To read more click on the following link