A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, November 14, 2011

History - Foreigners Deported to Free Up NJ Jobs at War's End (1945)

No sooner was the Second World War over than foreign workers from the Caribbean were ousted from their jobs in New Jersey to make room for locals whose war-production jobs were evaporating, according to the 6 September 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Foreign Workers To Be Moved From Jobs
State Manpower Head Says Prisoners And Others Are Now Being Released As Replaced

As a means of insuring maximum job opportunities for New Jersey's own citizens Thomas F. Costello, State Manpower Director, has moved to end all employment of foreign workers and prisoners of war in the state as rapidly as local workers are available and willing to take over the jobs.

Costello disclosed that he had instructed all local offices of the United States Employment Service, a week ego, to carefully investigate all current non-agricultural employment of workers imported from Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Barbadoes, as well as prisoners of war, to determine whether they could be supplanted by New Jersey citizens displaced in employment through recent war production cut-backs and cancellations.

The manpower director, praising the splendid contribution to the war effort made by the several thousand foreign workers imported to New Jersey, said the termination of their work contracts would be strictly in conformity with the international agreements under which they came into the state to aid in overcoming manpower shortages during the period of the most critical labor stringencies.

Costello said the foreign workers had willingly accepted mass employment in many of the least desirable job categories, many of them at relatively low wage rates. For that reason, and until local citizens are available and willing to accept those jobs, it may be necessary to retain some of the foreign workers to maintain production of highly essential and perishable food products and other output of New Jersey industry.

Already the movement of the foreign workers back to their native islands is well under way. A force of 556 at one time employed at Pickatinny Arsenal has been reduced to 37 and similar cuts have been made in employment of foreigners in Paterson, Newark and other places. Approximately 20 per cent of the remaining force is employed presently at the Raritan Arsenal.

The prisoners of-war have been employed almost exclusively by the state's food processing plants in jobs involving the heaviest labor and low pay, Costello said. Approximately 1600 prisoners have been on the state's industrial payrolls.


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