|Hawai'i history is steeped in the labor movement, which began with the sugar industry and |
continues in many service fields, most strikingly these days in health are as workers face
COVID on the job. See more below. Illustration from Rep. Ed Case
LABOR DAY DREW THIS MESSAGE FROM HAWAI'I'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY: This Monday, September 6, we pause as a nation to reflect on the importance of the movement of organized labor. Much of what we take for granted in the work place today was won from hard fought battles over many decades. The 40-hour work week, the notion of a living wage, the weekend and more are the outcome of often bloody battle with business owners and even our own government.
That Labor Day is a federally recognized national holiday is not insignificant. Under normal circumstances we would witness and participate in celebratory rallies and marches across the country. For the second year in a row, we are celebrating the hard fought victories of workers and unions through masks, computer screens, and cameras. As the COVID-19 Delta variant ravages the U.S. and the rest of the world, let us pause on this national Labor Day holiday to honor the frontline workers who have
worked under threat of illness for 18 months or more so the rest of us could buy groceries, medications, household necessities; those things we need to survive. And certainly let us not forget the countless medical and emergency staff who have worked and sacrificed endlessly under unimaginable conditions since the pandemic began.
Today the Labor Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai'i thanks and honors all those heroes who have gone to work, day in and day out, under constant threat of catching the illness themselves and spreading it to their loved ones. This Labor Day, we honor all those heroic men and women.
We continue to hear in the press that businesses across the country are struggling to fill needed positions, calling workers “lazy” or “selfish” because they choose to stay on Unemployment or even refuse to take a job that pays poverty wages.
In the midst of so much sickness and death, we must see the stark reality of an economic system that exploits our labor. Countless workers have lost their jobs and their homes because our leaders have repeatedly chosen to side with “job creators” instead of workers. The Labor Caucus calls on our elected leaders to stand shoulder to shoulder with workers. We call on those elected leaders to give dignity to our labor by increasing the minimum wage to a living wage and to ensure the right to paid sick leave and paid family leave.
No one who works 40 or more hours a week should be struggling to survive. And until that changes we will continue to challenge our elected leaders - every Labor Day holiday, every work day, every minute until workers of every stripe have at least a living wage and paid leave benefits to care for themselves and their loved ones when the need arises.
On this Labor Day holiday, we honor those union champions who came before us by taking this holiday to highlight the plight of the worker. To honor them by demanding dignity for their labor.
The message from the Democratic Party of Hawai'i was written by its Labor Caucus Chair John Frost.
FOR LABOR DAY, CONGRESSMAN ED CASE posted an illustration rather than words. For context, he presented a photo of a sugar worker, one of the many who launched the labor movement in Hawai'i, next to a woman medical worker during the modern day fight against COVID-19. See image above.
|Listen and read Hawai'i Public Radio story on the 1946 Sugar Strike: The Rise of |
Hawai'i's Labor Unions at www.hawaiipublicradio.org/local-news
WILIWILI IS THE SEPTEMBER PLANT for Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū, the monthly column in The Ka'u Calendar newspaper by Jodie Rosam and artist Joan Yoshioka. The column features the plants' moʻolelo (stories), uses, preferred habitats, and opportunities to adopt them for stewardship. It seeks to encourage making new plant friends and to reunite with others.
Wiliwili, Erythrina sandwichensis, is the subject of Mary Kawena Pukui's ʻŌlelo Noʻeau: Pua ka wiliwili nanahu ka manō: When the wiliwili tree blooms, the sharks bite.
Description: Wiliwili is an endemic tree in the pea family (Fabaceae), and much like last month's featured lāʻau ʻohe makai, it is drought-deciduous (it drops its leaves during the dry season). The showy orange, red, salmon, peach, light green, yellow, or even white flowers bloom during the summer months after the leaves drop, and the nearly heart-shaped leaflets emerge in threes during the fall. Wiliwili can
Uses: Because of its low density, the wood of wiliwili was used for ama (outrigger canoe floats) and mouo (fishing floats). Most notably, wiliwili wood was the preferred choice for papa heʻe nalu (surfboards), specifically for olo, or longboards, which were ridden by the aliʻi. The shiny orange and red seeds are still used in lei.
Habitat: Wiliwili grow in harsh environments including barren lava flows and dry forests up to 1,950 feet elevation. Waikōloa is known for its large wiliwili population, but Kaʻū is arguably home to just as many! Look for the brightly colored flowers across the lowland dry forests makai of Waiʻōhinu during the summer (now!). Three wiliwili sisters formerly guarded Puhiʻula Cave at Pāʻula (Kaunāmano Ahupuaʻa), and are still alive in moʻolelo (stories) shared today.
Growing and Purchasing: Seeds must be scarified (I use nail clippers to knick the seed coat on the opposite side of the seed's piko) and soaked for 12-24 hours to increase germination success. Pot soaked seeds in a well-drained mix (cinder soil mixes), and fertilize regularly until they are planted (because fix Nitrogen, no additional fertilizer is required once they are in the ground). Be sure to choose a sunny area for your drought, heat, and wind tolerant wiliwili to thrive. Plants may be available for purchase through Future Forests, or contact the author.
About the artist: Joan Yoshioka says she is a conservationist at heart and has dedicated her life to preserving the native plants and animals of Hawaiʻi through her work with federal, state, and private organizations over the past 30+ years. She describes herself as an outdoor-lovin' opti- mist, biologist/botanist, and habitual creator of art-stuff. She says the key to our most fundamental and truest part of ourselves is found in nature and she constantly draws on it for inspiration.
About the author: Jodie Rosam says she has a deep love for native plants and a passion for exploration, with over 15 years of experience in working in the restoration of Hawaiʻi's forests. As a mother and an educator, she says the next generation has the power to lead the world to a sustainable future, and is committed to teaching her children (and others) from a place-based perspective.
|Read the entire Kaʻū Calendar and back issues at |
www.kaucalendar.com. Find it in the mail from Volcano
through Nāʻālehu, Ocean View to Miloli'i.
Pick it up from newsstands.