Ind.Pers.Labor Strike update

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 9, 2003.

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    nighthawk
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 204
    (8/9/01 11:03:21 am)
    | Del All Ind.Pers.Labor Strike update
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    I love that word,,, indigenous ,, lol ,, typical military term

    Anyway, on to the subject. I find it interesting how one memory feeds off into others. While answering a question from Homer on another post, I got to remembering the locals we had working with us. We had the usual variety of cleaning crews, food service, and secretaries, but we also had keypunch and data processing machine operators. Of course, this was only for non-classified data. We had military personnel to process the classified stuff.
    It came to the attention of some of our "indigenous" personnel that they, on average, were making less than a good "hooch" maid was earning. In the NCO hooch where I lived, most of the "mama-sans" (I know, that is not a VN term, but everyone used it) made pretty good money. There were 6 of us that had one woman working just for us. She did all the laundry, kept the AO's clean, beds made, boots polished, etc. We each paid her $30 per month, plus a good size tip. If we needed her to do something extra, she always got extra pay. So, she was making well over $200 per month. Our keypunchers, machine operators, and secretaries were making about the same, but the cleaning crews and food service people were making quite a bit less, for they did not get the extra bonuses and tips. The military department that was responsible for setting the wage levels stated that they were being paid IAW established agreements with the appropriate RVN government entity. We found out later that the workers had to "reimburse" the officials of that "entity" to continue working. Fortunately, a end was put to that soon there after.
    One Monday morning, the cleaning and food service people walked out on strike. It was amazing. In support, the office workers and the "hooch" maids walked out with them. It was something to see,,,all the Vietnamese workers just hanging out, sitting around on the grass, curbs, etc. They all acted like they were having a picnic or something. Very funny way to conduct a strike,,,lol,,we loved it!
    The "Great MACV Labor Strike" lasted all of about 3 or 4 hours. You should have seen the scramble of higher ranking officers and NCOs, trying to get the thing settled. I think the thought of them having to do their own hooch cleaning, laundry and boot polishing panicked them. (We all did get pretty lax about things like that. I was just too easy to hand a few dollars to someone and let them take care of us,,,same as in Germany and Korea,,at least where I was)
    After some quick negotiations, the "powers that be" settled the dispute by increasing the workers wages, and, as said before, putting an end to the "kick-backs".
    All in all, it was a welcome distraction from an otherwise mundane and boring period of time. It had been a slow time, so it did not do any irreparable harm.

    Just a few random memories,,,,

    Stan H,, nighthawk


    Edited by: nighthawk at: 8/15/01 4:57:11 pm

    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 488
    (8/9/01 5:08:33 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    If I recall correctly, we each paid $5 a month for three girls(two mamasans and one babysan) to work our hootch. I don't recall how many of us where in the hootch. The CO collected the $5 when we got paid.

    Edited by: LarryJK at: 8/9/01 6:10:32 pm

    hansenjim
    Member
    Posts: 26
    (8/10/01 10:46:32 am)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    It seems to me your folks were overpaid. $200 a month in a place where the average wages were about $150 per year was a real windfall.

    Indeed, the year before I was in Vietnam, I was making $79 per month in the army.

    You sure they were making that much?

    nighthawk
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 209
    (8/10/01 11:02:16 am)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    Jim
    My numbers may be off somewhat, (memorys after 30 years)but I do know we received $35 a month for "overseas pay" (sometimes called "combat pay") and the maid pay was almost the same amount.

    Stan H

    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 493
    (8/10/01 11:32:05 am)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    Wasn't combat pay $65 a month? I think it was when I was there 68-69.

    Genog
    Moderator
    Posts: 169
    (8/10/01 12:07:12 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    You're right Larry, we received 65$ a month in 66-67. That's why I felt so rich when I made it back home.

    I'm afraid the nighthawks memory is fading(like mine) cuz $200 a month for hootch duty for mama san is very high.
    Maybe it was 200 piasters.
    Geno G

    nighthawk
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 210
    (8/10/01 1:13:07 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    you guys may very well be correct,,,I will have to go back over some old documents I have laying around,,check on myself,,,

    At any rate, the wage difference was like mentioned,,the maids made a lot more that the food service workers and cleaning crews,,hence the "strike",,,that I know is fact.

    sorry if my memory for numbers may not be accurate. I will do better in the future.

    Stan H ,, nighthawk


    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 494
    (8/10/01 3:54:26 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    Nighthawk...it's not only your memory that fails! Mine ain't that good any more when it comes to some things that happened 33 yrs ago. LOL!!

    oneknight
    Moderator
    Posts: 1621
    (8/10/01 4:57:37 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    Larry,

    Don't make me tell them!!! lol!

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1405
    (8/10/01 6:30:35 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    $60 to $65 sounds about right as I recall.Can't remember what they paid the Ba's.

    probably going to sour this topic but...We all could have lived like Kings in the Nam.
    The "enormous wealth' caused a terrible attitude and swagger to 'a lot' of American's...a hell of a lot of us. This intern caused an equal and greater hatred for us round eyes when having taken their Wives and Mothers and Daughters and Sisters for our pleasures at a couple of bucks atoss. Fed the Blackmarket...that seedy world of greed and corruption. Wealth causes Cowboys to roam at will in the markets praying upon the people...extorting and terorizing. Wealth provides Governments like Thieu/Ky to the village Chiefs.

    All wars have this 'element' following the boots of soldiers...but the Nam seemed to be a cauldron of corruption and vise and greed and the ugliness of men. The large cities and towns like CanTho and Vinh Long...Sa Dec too were pots of boiling human ugly seedy dregs.

    Hey!...much less!...but still!...the small villes and hamlets were affected to some degree as well. Human nature goes beyond Need to Want!...Want is fleshy! and doesn't stop at gnawings, but finds ways to satisfy it's self.

    Many of the R / P Officers were the local land Baron's or a man of wealth and and import,wealth and important equals power and power provides means to buy your way out of the ARVN Army to take Command of the local Regionl and Popular Defence Forces. To be ablre to buy your troops to serve also in the rice fields and banana plantations and rubber plantations, the mango farms. To have their unquestionable loyalties, their 'great appreciation'...fear and serfdom!!!. Something in actuality they had been accustomed for a thousand years or more.

    No 'noble' and corrupt and shadowy CORDS program would change man's way. Wealth and Power wash hands to stay Wealth and Power. Democracy and Republics are kicked and battered by the greed of men.

    I'm not pickin on the American GI!...just stating a fact of wealth...wealth that we or some or whatever...have a hand it it all and if the average (any number you put here is fine with me) Joe has taken part....what of the truly wealth.

    What a hell of a mess the Nam was.


    Inspite of all that I've written...I found wonderful times and lives out in the hamlets and villes. I try to think of these things . The Vietnamee are a lovely people .

    It's was War guys...American's aren't the ba guys here. The Want that drives all this is the criminal.

    Piss on the wealthy and powerful that that feed on War.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 495
    (8/10/01 6:37:55 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    Hell, I came home from Vn with $1,232.00. A hell of a lot of money then as well as now. Got back to thew States and felt like a somebody for a while ,with all that money!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!

    Hush Donna!! LOL!

    berto64
    Member
    Posts: 4
    (8/11/01 4:05:30 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    Homer, when were you around Can Tho? My btry HQ was there.
    Was in-country Jan 69-Apr 71, mostly at Dong Tam north of Vinh Long. Did you see the M151A1's with the searchlights in the back of them? That was us, Hbtry, 29th Arty(SLT)
    Berto
    PS You are right about the wealth thing, money made many GI's, Ugly Americans
    Endeaver to Persevere

    LarryJK
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 502
    (8/11/01 6:06:46 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Personnel Labor Strike
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    The money made me an ugly drunk!!

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1412
    (8/12/01 6:45:56 am)
    | Del AO's
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    First off Berto...Welcome to the Board here. I hope you come back and post often. A good bunch and a good mix of military and civies here along with a number of different MOS's.

    My AO was in and around SaDec mostly. I was on loan as an RTO to MAT units and when back at SaDec anything from a Switchboard Operator to working in the Radio Relay "cans" to ridin shotgun on supply hauls. Anything MACV seen fit for this 19yr old to do basicly...if we wouldn't have been paying some vietnamee to take care of the honey pots...they'da had me at that too. Or would of tried. The reason I opted for the bush with the MAT's.

    I did make some occasional supply runs back to Vinh Long and CanTho from out of the Ruff Puff compounds at times by chopper mostly and sometimes by deuce if a lot of supplies were to be brought back. To and from SaDec often too and actually more since that was the Provence MACV MAT compound. It was northwest across the Mekong from CanTho. Not too far west from Vinh Long.

    The last two to three weeks in country I was assigned to Hell...a Comm Center Compound smack in the heart of CanTho directly opposite a 'White Mice' police station/Compound. I hated that place. Guess I shouldn't have fought over a stupid electric frying pan...long story.

    It's been so long but I think you guys had a battery or two from the 29th covering the western regions in and around SaDec...is that correct. We had to rely on the ARVN batterys...one of the 200th something... 213th's I believe. Long time now. Vietnamization was in full swing and units were being pulled and AO's being turned over to ARVN's left and right. Been 30yrs now and some things are crystal and others not. Names and places are foggy anymore.

    I remember that Vinh Long and CanTho were huge compounds. I remember the POW area...it wasn't too far from a library or something similar...you could take college courses thru some correspondence program...I remember that cause some of the offerings were thru the Unniversity of Maryland.

    Just had a few fellas come back from and are very familiar with the CanTho area Berto. Bill Braniff, Gene 29223 and I believe Larry D (Dreamcatcher), possibly Thieu (Gunship).

    Again Welcome aboard bud.



    Edited by: homer4 at: 8/12/01 12:28:29 pm

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1417
    (8/12/01 5:27:40 pm)
    | Del AO's
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    Having trouble staying on when writing...with the above post being so long I forget the number of times I was booted off and the long delays it took to get it in. It reads abit odd I think,due to all that.

    Berto ...I nearly forgot your original question bud...
    ...My tour was from Dec 6th/7th 70 to Oct 6th 71.

    I say 6th/7th due to that international dateline thing. I believe it was Dec 7th...Pearl Harbor day...Ole Meantome has a copy of my DD214 around here somewhere.

    The 52nd was pulled out so that's why I didn't make it to December.

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1421
    (8/12/01 7:47:21 pm)
    | Del Re: AO's
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    ...lastly Berto, you seem like a right friendly and caring sorta guy there and since we were but a "flare' away from each...

    ...I was wondering if you could spot (quickly looks about)...could spot me a little bud till our new paymaster gets here. The last one walked in front of a deuce and the new guy will surely be here any day now.

    I'll pay ya back! Oh!, don't worry about that ole pal...why my word is my bond bud. Take a look at this face!...would I lie to a new good buddy?...
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    berto64
    Member
    Posts: 5
    (8/12/01 11:28:32 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: AO's
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    Sorry Bud, take notice, there ain't no shine on my bdu's,
    an my steel-soled Keds are darn near worn out.
    I'll loan ya ten for twenty.
    Berto
    Endeaver to Persevere

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1424
    (8/13/01 7:32:52 am)
    | Del Re: AO's
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    "Hey Berto!, no sweat bud" "I understand pal, and Thanks anyway." "Hey!, and like I said Welcome and hope ya hang."





    ...takes notice of his shoes..."Yeah, they're worn some", squenching his mouth and musing quietly.
    ..."Best get out of here before he possibly wants to borrow some from me."
    "See ya around Camp there Berto"


    ...kicks the dust..."Dang!, noone has any money around here anymore!" "Not my old friends!...Not the FNG's!"...
    ...ponders a bit then remarks softly to nonone, "What the heck's going on?...Is the economy that bad? "...
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 189
    (8/14/01 2:19:19 pm)
    | Del Indigenous Labor
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    The 4/31 battallion had to dig a well using local labor. We were required to have the local village chief select the workers. He picked out a few of his buddies for the project and took a cut. The pay was 65 piasters a day -- top wages in I Corps 67.
    When the men showed up for work they went on strike. It was too dangerous to dig a well. The walls might collapse and bury them alive. We thought they wanted more money -- nope, they wanted to substitute women for men. It was clearly too risky and too backbreaking for a male.
    They selected a group of women who would dig the well, while the men watched from the surface. That way if there were fatalities a man would not be killed, only a woman.
    The women were great workers and the well was just fine.
    We were unfamiliar with their attitudes toward women! It was a cultural difference as big as the Grand Canyon.
    Oh Well,
    Mike H


    berto64
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (8/14/01 5:17:36 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: Indigenous Labor
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    Hey Homer,
    Didn't you ever get to Ben Xe Moi? The partyin' part of Can Tho. Towards the airfield from downtown. GI's on liberty used to hitch to and from Can Tho airfield from there.
    I was in a bar sweettalkin a sweety when MP's came in and cleared all GI's out. Seems that a bastard child on a moped
    tossed a grenade into a group of soldiers waiting for a ride back to the airfield. 3 killed I think, bunch wounded.
    Happy Houses were off limits for a while, boy, was everybody a little moody until it was opened back up.
    Berto
    Endeaver to Persevere

    TShooters
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 507
    (8/14/01 6:38:00 pm)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Labor
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    Great story, Stan H.!

    Welcome to the BB, and Welcome Home, berto64!

    Sharon

    nighthawk
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 217
    (8/15/01 11:08:59 am)
    | Del Re: Indigenous Labor
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    Don't want to "beat a dead horse" but thought I would clairify this, re; money made and money paid

    After digging through old letters home and old pay statements, and verifying them with pay scales for the time at DFAS (I'll post the url lower on this page) I found the following information.
    I was correct when I said we paid $20 for the hooch maids. There were 6 of us, we each paid the "Hooch honcho" the $20 and she paid her "staff" (varied from 2 to 4 women)
    The amount was minimal for me. Here is what I was making at that time,,,tax free,, as a E-6, over 4

    Base pay: $388
    Quarters Allowance w/1 depn 110 - $65 for child support
    Hostile Fire pay 65
    Family Seperation Allowance 30
    Proficinecy Pay (SP Pay) 35(I knew there was a
    $35 there somewhere)

    Total pay $563 less a little for Soc.Sec

    On this I partied-hearty and was still able to bring home a sizible amount.
    When I joined the Army in Apr, 1964 E-1 base pay was $78.

    If anyone is interested in checking old pay scales, here is the url as promised. Good luck, for DFAS server is down a lot.
    www.dfas.mil/money/milpay/priorpay/

    Stan H,, nighthawk

    Edited by: nighthawk at: 8/15/01 4:38:10 pm

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1452
    (8/16/01 5:53:26 am)
    | Del CanTho
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    No , can't say that I did Berto. I was never at CanTho long on the supply jaunts and the last couple of weeks at the MACV Comm compound didn't leave enough time to even get to know the personnel let alone go out into the streets much. I remember having my weapon locked up in a rack down by some Sargeant...didn't like that a bit and hated going out in the streets without a weapon...I bought a switch blade and carried that. Felt naked and hated it.

    The places you describe sounds like some fun times it seems.
    Had some whorehouses outside the MACV compound at SaDec...some pretty girls they were. Was always warned not to let any of our counterparts see us visit the 'massage houses'...it was disrespectful to them and could cause some real tension and danger if word spread out in the District Ruff/Puff AO's.

    At CaoLanh they had a massage parlor within their compound. We had the same warnings there as well.I paid a visit there everytime we had jaunts up their way. US Government Inspected!...supposed to be closely inspected by the Medicals their. Never ever took up the occasional offer by one of the Puffs about a Co they knew out in the bush. Too much to risk.

    It too was a MACV MAT Provence HQ. A Special Forces A Team was there as well. WE called em 'Snake Eaters' in jest somewhat...they took it as a compliment. They weren't too sosciable...to MAT's they were more friendly, but still had that eletist air. Some stack boys tho...the 'CIDG's' were a spooky lot.

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