This chapter discusses the Sugar Strike which began on September 1, 1946. This first strike marked the beginning of what one study termed a “three year ‘showdown’ which has been compared to the American Civil War,” this time a fight between the radical left and conservatives. It was a confrontation in which the union entered united. Balloting on 33 sugar plantations resulted in 99 percent of workers voting for a strike, as they demanded a minimum cash wage of 65 cents per hour, overtime pay after 40 hours per week, and a union shop. The Sugar Strike lasted 79 days with the union emerging victorious—a gigantic step in transforming Hawaii from an apartheid outpost to the closest thing to social democracy that existed under the US flag. This was the culmination of a process whereby roughly 30,000 workers predominantly from the sugar, pineapple, and waterfront industries had joined the International Longshore and Warehousemen's Union in the relatively brief period from 1944 to 1946.
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