LIUNA represents members working in construction, environmental remediation, maintenance, food service, health care, clerical and other occupations, as well as in state, local and municipal government jobs and as mail handlers in the U.S. Postal Service. LIUNA members have helped lay down new highways, build spectacular bridges, dig tunnels and subways, build new plants, factories, dams and power plants, and erect new schools, churches, hospitals and houses. In building construction and housing, Laborers’ work includes excavation, footing and foundations, carpenter tending, compaction, concrete placement, power and hand tools, general clean-up and mason tending for bricklayers. Environmental laborers do asbestos removal, hazardous waste and radiation clean-up. The work performed by Laborers is very physical and it includes digging, carrying, pulling and bending–usually outside in all kinds of weather for long hours at a time.
Local 368 was chartered on December 1, 1954 by Elmo Samson, Norman Janicki, Sr., Salvador Ambrocio and Benjamin Saguibo. Conception of the Hawaii Laborers’ Union consisted of just a handful of workers in a one room office located at the old McCandless Building in Honolulu.
In 1955, a general laborer was paid $1.46 an hour. There were no funds to support any laborer with Health & Welfare, Vacation, and Pension. Hiring Hall for employment and representation was non-existent.
A year later, the union organized and won it’s first election with workers at National Metals, Pier 35 on the Island of Oahu.
In 1959, Laborers working at Honolulu Lathing and Plastering Co., Kaiser Hawaii Kai, Leeward & Waical Development Corporation, joined the union and supported Local 368 in its movement for growth.
History will also show how large non-union companies like EE Black, Hawaiian Dredging Construction, Dick Pacific Construction, etc., have progressively moved forward in support of the union.
Organizing efforts consisted of very early mornings and late evenings by members like Philip Labang, Salvador Ambrocio and Ben Saguibo. Each day before and after work they would take the time to speak with construction laborers at bus stops and community parks to inform people of the labor movement for continued support, while contractors united to keep opinions divided.
Today, the union has grown to an approximate membership of approximately 4,000 strong including Retirees. The comparisons will show a positive impact for union members where a “Laborer I Classification” that once earned $2.30 an hour, now makes a minimum of $36.75 an hour.
These technological advances have resulted in a more efficient way to communicate with all companies and members. It also established better relationships with the union, through Business Agents and union personnel for contract negotiations, grievance handling, and expansion.
Local 368 has a statewide presence with members on every major island. It is the purpose of the union to represent all members by providing each person with employment opportunities earning good wages and benefits, performing periodic visits to all jobsites for adequate safety & working conditions, and to take action on any items that are in the best interest of it’s members.