By Star-Bulletin Staff

Monday, August 23, 1999

Millennium Moments

Millennium special

First sugar strike was
fight to make 25 cents a day

The first recorded plantation work stoppage occurred in 1841 in Koloa, Kauai.

The workers went on strike, demanding wages of 25 cents per day, double the 12.5 cents per day they had been earning. The stoppage lasted a short time and was, ultimately, unsuccessful.

More than 60 years later, the 1909 Sugar Strike hit Oahu's plantations, called by Japanese workers and initiated by the Higher Wage Association, the first formal labor plantation organization, according to "Modern Hawaii History" by Ann Rayson.

At the time, Japanese laborers were earning less per month than Puerto Ricans and Portuguese, who were getting $22.50.

The previous year, the Nippu Jiji, a Japanese newspaper here, tried to make the case for higher wages by printing this itemization of a Japanese laborer's monthly expenditures and income, which ultimately netted him $2.17 on an average monthly income of $14.60:

Board, $7; laundry and working suits, 75 cents each; tobacco, paper, matches, $1; bath, contributions, send-off money, and haircut, 25 cents each; raincoat, 55 cents; oil and raincoat oil, 15 cents each; shoes and socks, 60 cents; stamps and stationary, 30 cents; and hat, 8 cents.

Though the strikers returned to work after three months without formal concessions, the minimum wages soon increased to $20 a month, bonuses started, and housing and conditions improved.


Suspect pleads guilty in murder of cabbie

One of two men charged with bludgeoning cab driver Paul Salazar in the head with a sledgehammer and stabbing him repeatedly in an April 5 robbery faces life in prison with the possibility of parole and a minimum 20-year sentence.

In a plea agreement reached with the state, Edward Wallace Martin, 29, pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder and kidnapping in exchange for testifying against his co-defendant, Keith Marauskas.

Marauskas and Martin were initially charged with second-degree murder, first and second-degree attempted murder, and kidnapping for killing Salazar and attempting to kill his wife.

Today, Martin expressed regret for his role in Salazar's killing and said he agreed to the plea agreement because he knew he had a part in the cab driver's death. "I wish he didn't die," he said.

Marauskas faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of the first-degree murder, which involves two victims. He will go to trial Sept. 20.

Sentencing for Martin is tentatively scheduled for March 10.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Video store robbery becomes homicide case

Police have reclassified a robbery case to homicide following the death of a Waikiki video store clerk, who was found unconscious by a customer Friday afternoon.

The 49-year-old man, a Waikiki Video Sales & Rentals employee, was found lying on his back at 5:20 p.m. in a storage room of the store at 2139 Kuhio Ave.

The man did not appear to have any physical injuries when he was taken to Straub Hospital. But doctors discovered a head injury. He died Saturday.

Man critically injured in Kahaluu collision

A 58-year-old man was critically injured yesterday in a head-on collision involving two cars in Kahaluu.

The 8:30 a.m. collision occurred on Kamehameha Highway near Waihee Road.

Police traffic investigators say the injured man was driving a 1988 Nissan sedan that crossed over the center line into the path of an on-coming car.

The man, who was not wearing a seat belt, is in critical condition at Queen's Hospital.

Two people in the other car were treated for injuries at Queen's and later released.

Police slap additional charges on felon

Police yesterday booked a a 43-year-old man arrested last week for first-degree criminal property damage on additional counts related to illegal possession of a shotgun.

The man allegedly set off fireworks that started a kitchen fire during an argument with his girlfriend last week. He was arrested Saturday at his Date Street residence for criminal property damage.

Police recovered a shotgun with an altered identification number in the man's apartment. He was also booked for being a felon in possession of a firearm and having a prohibited weapon.

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