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ferred to by Frank—I think State laws should also provide minimum wage protection for agricultural workers. I realize that it is a big problem, too. Hourly workers might not be too different. Piece workers would be a little bit different. But it is something that perhaps could be of such an economic problem that maybe our association should consider setting up a committee which would meet with the Federal people.
Mr. Bortz talked about cooperation between States. I think here is an urgent need because I can see some conflict between the Federal farm labor contract, the Registration Act, and the State laws. I can see where there could be many improvements to eliminate dual registrations, dual inspections, dual hearings, dual criminal actions, dual paperwork, etc. at the expense of the taxpayer; and they are shouldering enough of a burden right now. So I think there should be some effort to get the Federal Government and States to work together along the lines that we were talking about in the WalshHealey Act. I also think the other provisions of laws that relate to people in nonfarm employment should apply to the agricultural worker. Surely, there are many of them.
Social security protection, I think, is very important. I think the labor relations provision should be extended. We have found out in the State of California how they were trying to organize workers. And the agricultural worker is really an unorganized worker. There is no one there to see that he gets the benefits of some of these laws unless he does have an opportunity to participate in a collective bargaining agreement.
As you know, there is a $150 exemption under the Social Security Act. I think that, too, should be wiped out. I think, as you go through each of the various laws that apply to nonfarm employment, that serious consideration should be given to bring in these poople who need this protection. Serious consideration should be given to see that they, too, are given the privilege of participating in some of the laws that are enacted for the protection of others. With that, Mr. Chairman, I will await the questions that may follow.
Commissioner MALE. You mentioned, Dan, the need for minimum wage protection. At this convention, we do not have a representative from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. If our friend from the Secretary of Labor's office were here, I would have asked him to speak of what they had accomplished through collective bargaining on behalf of more than 25,000 Puerto Rican workers who work in at least 15 States in this country now. If any of you have not seen the contract between farmers and growers on the one hand and the Department of Labor of Puerto Rico on the other, a contract that is spelled out both in English and Spanish, you should read it because it covers just about every item that Dan mentioned as being on our most wanted list of protections for agricultural workers.
In the area of minimum wage, I would cite one feature. They solved the problem over the bargaining table of the piece rate work by building in certain earnings guaranteed over a 4-week period. As a result of their having pushed through bargaining, the minimum rate for the Puerto Rican worker working on the mainland is $1.25 and beyond for the growing season. It made it possible for the Farm Bureau in my State to endorse and support a minimum wage law protecting agricultural workers for the first time. I think that credit to Puerto Rico should be in the record as part of this conference. Also, in States where workmen's compensation is not a compulsory insurance protection, Puerto Rico found, through careful bargaining, that it was able to provide the protection by refusing to release the worker until there was a guarantee of protection. They do that in a number of areas. I think if
I think if you would drop a note to anybody who uses Puerto Rican agricultural labor, you would be impressed by what they have accomplished.
We have two States that have done a great deal, and from their experience we can all learn. First, I am going to call on our colleague, Director Laureta of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations of Hawaii.
AGRICULTURAL LABOR IN HAWAII
ALFRED LAURETA, Director, Hawaii Department of Labor
and Industrial Relations
Hawaii's growth and general prosperity for the past few years have been little short of phenomenal. Construction, trades and services—including tourism—and defense expenditures are at record levels, and the economic experts, both local and national, see no immediate end to this trend.
Employment, which is expanding in this period of spectacular development, has increased by more than 41,000, since 1959 when Hawaii became the 50th State, and now exceeds 250,000. This growth has taken place in all major industries except agriculture, where continued mechanization and technological advances on the sugar and pineapple plantations have resulted in a steady reduction of jobs.
Today, there are 12,500 persons employed in agriculture. Of these about 7,000 are on sugar plantations; 3,900 on pineapple plantations; and the remaining 1,500 in what we call “other agriculture” which includes such pursuits as coffee growing, ranching, macadamia nut and papaya growing, truck farming, dairies, and flower gardening.
Because sugar and pineapple are the two most basic industries in Hawaii—and because they are among the most modern and efficient agricultural operations in the world—I am going to confine my remarks to the workers in these industries.
First, a word about the industries themselves.
Sugar is grown on 26 plantations on the coastal plains of Hawaii's four major islands and its beginning dates back to 1835 on the island of Kauai. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, there were not enough people in the islands to work the fields and man the mills of the growing industry, so the plantations imported workers from Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, Europe, and the mainland. Thousands came; and though primarily intended as a source of supply for labor, these importations resulted in a great human experiment in racial integration. For nowhere else do so many races live, work, and prosper together in such harmony as is so evident in Hawaii.
In spite of a drastic employment reduction in the sugar industryfrom 52,000 in 1932 to about 7,000 today-production has increased, and the acreage planted has remained about the same. I don't think it difficult to accept these facts, considering that sugar has undergone a dramatic change from a "hand" industry to one that is highly mechanized, resulting in technological advances, such as weed control and fertilizing, and the mechanical harvester which performs the work of 50 canecutters.
Today, cane sugar brings in about $160 million a year to the economy of the islands and produces more than a million tons of raw sugar annually, making Hawaii the biggest sugar producer among the 50 States.
Because the Hawaiian pineapple industry is much younger than sugar-having been introduced during the last 20 years of the 19th century—the pineapple growers adopted a pattern of organization based upon the experience of the sugar plantations. The key to expansion in the industry was in 1913 with the invention of the miracle machine known as the Ginaca machine, which peels and cores the fruit in one smooth operation. Since that time Hawaii has been the world's greatest producer of canned pineapple, resulting in an income of about $120 million annually.
Pineapple, unlike sugar, is sold in an open market with no quota or limited tariff protection. Also, unlike sugar, pineapple is seasonal in nature, and the eight plantations employ about 1,900 regular workers on a year-round basis, and an additional 4,200 seasonal workers for harvesting and planting.
Since the end of World War II, pineapple production has increased by 50 percent, and many technological changes, such as the development of the mechanized harvester and chemical weeding process, have been made in pineapple growing and harvesting.
The problem facing the pineapple industry today is not one of adverse effects of technological change upon employment, but whether or not additional technological changes can be effected fast enough to allow the industry to remain competitive with pineapple production in low-wage areas of the world, and in the face of rising costs of production.
As we look around at people at work on the pineapple plantations, we see that they are largely American citizens—descendants of people from northern and southern Europe, the Orient, and Polynesia. The largest single national group, however, are the people from the Philippines. These men have played and still play an important part not only on the plantations but in the life of the community and State as well. Many have become citizens.
In 1919 the Pineapple Growers' Association and the Hawaii Sugar Planters' Association entered into a formal agreement to share the expense of bringing Filipino workers to Hawaii for the two industries and to provide transportation for those who wished to return to their homeland. This agreement is still in effect after almost 50 years. Under it many thousands have come to find work in Hawaii. I might add that the last workers brought in were in 1946– under what is known as the 1946 Importation—when 6,000 male laborers were brought from northern Luzon at a time when Hawaii desperately needed agricultural workers to restore the postwar sugar and pineapple industries.
Although the impact of mechanization has eliminated thousands of plantation jobs during recent years, we fortunately do not have these agricultural field hands on Hawaii's unemployed rolls today. Much of this reduction has been effected by attrition and a large number of the workers who arrived in 1946 have either been returned to or repatriated to the Philippines.
As methods of growing pineapple and sugarcane have changed with the passing years, so have living conditions and wages of the plantation people.
Only a relatively few years ago, workers lived in small camps scattered over the sugar and pineapple plantations. Their homes were often no better than shacks. Sanitary facilities were often primitive, and the standard of living was generally low. Today, the pineapple and sugar communities are attractive and prosperous with all the facilities for modern living. Rising wages have enabled these workers to afford such comforts and conveniences as automobiles, electric stoves, freezers, and television sets. Improved transportation has brought them together in larger communities with better shopping and recreational facilities, modern hospitals and schools, churches, and community associations. Although many of the plantation workers still live in homes rented from the plantations, many are buying their own homes, and today young men and women whose parents came to Hawaii unskilled and illiterate are among the State's doctors, teachers, sugar and pineapple technologists, engineers, and government and political leaders.
And those who are employed on the sugar and pineapple plantations receive the highest annual income for year-round agricultural work of any place in the world. Their hourly wages are twice those of the average mainland farmworker.
The minimum wage for sugar plantation workers has increased from 19 cents an hour in 1944 to $1.89 an hour as of February 1, 1966, and will increase to $2.02 an hour next year. The minimum wage for pineapple fieldworkers has gone up from 80 cents to $1.86 per hour. These are well above the wages paid for comparable work elsewhere. In Africa, to cite an extreme example, the pineapple laborers receive less for a whole day's work than Hawaii's pineapple workers earn in an hour.
In addition to their high hourly wage rates, Hawaii's sugar and pineapple plantation workers enjoy time-and-one-half for overtime after 40 hours, double time for work in excess of 12 hours, and a night-shift differential. Other fringe benefits include 9 paid holidays and paid vacations—3 weeks after 10 years' service and 4 weeks after 18 years. Sick leave is also granted, the duration depending upon length of service. Sugar workers receive two-thirds of their pay for sick leave periods ranging from 12 to 54 weeks, with a similar but slightly better formula applying to pineapple workers.
Medical and hospital expenses are also provided under an insured medical plan with employer contribution and with employees paying $1.60 per month and an additional $1.10 for each dependent, with deductions not to exceed $6 per month. The plan provides complete medical and hospital coverage, including X-rays, diagnosis, etc.
In the event workers are laid off from their jobs for reasons beyond their control-such as job elimination due to automationthey are given a separation allowance. The formula for this allow