Many of migrant workers worked in Hawaii to save money and live comfortably on their return home. Their dreams commonly consisted of purchasing homes and farmland, so they would be eligible bachelors for marriage. HSPA paid Filipino migrant workers the lowest wage in comparison to different ethnic groups on the sugar plantation. As a result importing Filipino laborers cost less for plantation owners but the poor wages and high expense of travel made it next to impossible for these pinoys to return home, those who didn’t remain permanent residents returned home decades later as senior citizens. Despite this discrimination in the workplace Filipinos were fortunate enough to be immune to exclusion laws that affected “Orientals” like the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. They were also commonly leverage against Japanese workers who threatened strikes as Filipino workers were paid less and would gladly work for equal wage under the same working conditions. The Filipinos also had difficulty working with their Japanese and Chinese co-workers as racism was rampant among both ethnic groups, which wasn’t helped by the language differences that further separated their groups from forming a joint union. Filipino workers used as a solution to weaken the resolve of ethnic workers, maintain higher profits, and ensure American cultural superiority. They were brought in the United States under the impression of opportunity and utilized as a commodity to maintain the Hawaiian economy.
Ty Tran Nguyen