tv Delano Grape Strike CSPAN October 25, 2015 6:31pm-8:01pm EDT
not know what that day will be yet in the plans, but it will turn out to be three months after march 6, 1944. >> [indiscernible] >> join american history tv on saturday, november 7, four tourists and live interviews from the national world war ii museum in new orleans. we will explore the road to berlin in the african-american story and take your questions or historians joining us throughout the day. world war ii -- 70 years later -- live from the national world war ii museum, saturday, november 7, beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span3. agtang,rraine at 1 --
who participated in the 1965 delano grape strike, joins a panel of historians to discuss its history and legacy as well as the early days of the farmworkers movement. california state university bakersfield and bakersfield college cohosted this event. it's about 90 minutes. >> the next portion of our program is a panel discussion on the history and legacy of the grapestrike -- the str it is ani honor to have with us one of the heroes of theke. -- the grape strike. it is an honor to have with us one of the heroes of the strike, ms. lorraine agtang. she and her family lived for
years in the same farm labor camp outside delano. she was 13 when it began. in 1970, she and her family proudly went to work under union contract. out on strike again in 1973. she was the first manager of the retirement village you saw in delano that the farmworkers movement built for elderly and displaced filipino in 1974.rs in 1975, with the passage of the agricultural labor relations act, lorraine organized farmworkers from multiple ethnicities for the first secret ballot state conducted union elections. she has been a dedicated activist with the farmworker movement ever since and continues to work to tell the of the contributions to
the movement. dawn, an associate professor of history at san francisco state university. she received an ma in asian americans readies from ucla and a phd in history from stanford. her research focuses on filipino-american history, historic cultural preservation, foodways.no-american she's the author of "little making ahe art of filipino community in stockton, california," which was awarded an honorable mention for the frederick jackson turner award. she is working on a biography of the labor leader we just saw a film about. sifuentes is a
professor at the university of california merced who earned his phd in american studies at brown university. he was a worse generation college students from a farm working background. his first book, "by forest and by fields," tells the story of mexican immigrant workers in the agriculture and read for station industry in the pacific northwest. he teaches courses in food history, labor history, and immigrant history. oregone founder of the history project and is currently curating a museum exhibit on the 10th anniversary of steamer said. rounding out our panel is dr. , a historian and researcher with the bill lane center, for the american west at stanford. he earned a bachelors and masters degree from california state university sacramento and completed his phd at yale.
he's the award-winning author of numerous publications on the political, economic, and environmental history of .alifornia at stanford, he helps direct the bill lane center's rural rest initiative and is the principal researcher for the center's california coastal commission project. just two final reminders, each panelist will have 15 minutes to present. our timekeeping where -- will inform you when you have five, and three minutes left. to the audience, i request the silence your cell phones and be respected -- respectful to our guests. questions and answers will wallow -- follow all the
presentations. thank you. goodg --ms. agtang: afternoon. like he said, i was only 13 years old when the strike again. i remember working that day in like,eld when there was, this big commotion going on and people screaming and yelling. my father said to us, "come on, we are leaving." i asked what he meant, and he said there was a strike. i had no clue what a strike meant. that the filipinos were out on the picket lines. it was interesting to me to see them out there screaming and yelling. my experience with the filipino farmworkers are that they were pretty mild. nice, hard workers. they don't want to make anyone , especially their growers,
so what was all this commotion about? from that point on, my whole life story changed. i thought i would still be living in delano with seven kids working in the fields. i was born in delano, born in the labor camp that we lived in with my six siblings. were finally excited when that whole period was over. i am half filipino, half mexican. the filipinos started a strike. two weeks later they knew they could not do it alone because the mexicans were working and breaking the strike.
they came and asked them to join the cause. was not quite ready, he knew that this was the time. if they did not get together again, they were never going to get together. sneakingr the kids into filipino hall, how great it was for me personally to see the the filipinos in the mexicans and workers working together for a common cause. historically, growers pitted the workers against each other. i remember them telling us that mexican worker crews were picks and more boxes of grapes than we were, so people work harder to catch up with them. out in the community, they did not have parties together.
seeing them in filipino hall just made me a whole person, finally. , in the 1973 strike began was working and went out on strike again, and that's when the boycott began. i went to work with farmworkers because i had a family and could not boycott. everyone you see in this picture, they all went on a boycott. they had never been out of the field, and now they are in chicago and new york and most places they send them asking every day americans not to eat
grapes in front of the market. who knew that five years later, unitedmany people in the states denied hitting -- aiding grapes, and it hit the pocketbooks of many of those growers? they signed the contract. poly was talking about, they were already old. those guys never were going to go back to work. that was one of the things they always said. .ecause they were old my job being the first manager to go out to the labor camp was to try to talk filipinos into retiring. have you ever tried to talk a filipino into retiring? ugh. [laughter] because that's all
they knew, was to work. they worked and died in the labor camps. there were stories of people finding money in their mattresses. like my article, who never really learned how to speak english. , who neveruncle really learned how to speak english. many did not get married. by the time they could, they were old. they were hurt. they were jilted. they were not going to get married. offered a safe place to die in dignity. i first had gone to work with the clinics, so i like seeing the 40 acres, of the clinic, and the service center.
any other forms of paper they needed, they were pieces of equipment. they had doctors 24 hours, like my friend over there says. it was like a five-star hotel for them. they had a filipino cook. , andhad their gardens people from all over california would come and visit them. actually, it was a labor of love, bill by labor people and by college students from san , and theyan francisco grew attached. is the big celebration at 40 acres. a lot of them will be there tomorrow. they love the men. ,hese were strong crowds
hard-working, taught us all some toh about how to be able stand up. it took me years to understand they were standing up for what they wanted when they had not before that. then, in 1975 when the agricultural labor relations act providing for secret ballot and elections, i had the opportunity to go out and organize, and by then we were arabs.ing puerto ricans, there were workers from all over , and it was a great
time. i have always been an activist. i came to the capital of sacramento to receive an award or representing filipino workers takenfor rob, when he had av 123 to add to history filipino strike workers to the history books. i testified. and i tell young people you have to get active in your community, work withve to everyone in your community. unless you do that, you are not going to get anything done. you have got to find out what , and together,
you've got to have each other's back to get what you want. thank you. [applause] any questions? yes. >> i just want to make a clarification before the panel goes on any other. the history of the filipino workers, they have an organization called agricultural workers association that was founded in stockton, california, -- they were working with , and that ise time how the organization was founded. they went on to organize another area, and awa continued. boxesould have their crew
full when they would go to follow the harvest. they would go, and their boxes would negotiate with the rays would be for the pay. 1965 toy went in negotiate what rate they wanted, they got it. when they came to delano, the delano growers would not give them the pay raise that they wanted -- she wants to make her presentation on the topic you are talking about. we want to wait until -- >> i'm not going to get into a lot of detail about awa -- we will have a conversation after -- >> there was a mistake but i want to address. basically, when they went to negotiate the rays, they did not get it, so their history was if they did not get the rays, they would do a work stoppage, and that is what happened in 1965.
days.k several it was not two weeks, and it was not with the farm workers association. it was not that the farmworkers or mexicans were breaking the strike. at that point, it was just a work stoppage. they wanted to see if the growers were going to give them their pay increase, so that's to join the decided strike eight days later. one of the early workers was there at that time and can also probably talk about what was going on. thank you. that's all i wanted to say. [applause] >> i've got a question.
ms. mabalon: good afternoon, everyone. i want to say what an honor it is to be with all of you and thank you to dean asher for letting me be part of this event. i want to begin with a quote from the lavera crews -- philip veracruz. how many of you have read this book? my classmate is one of the editors of the book, so i want to give him props for this. [applause] in the book, veracruz says, "our role in the union has not been written and sometimes intentionally deleted because the anglos who wrote the story did not know all the facts and we did not speak up."
i just want to say what a privilege and honor it has been to be a historian of the filipino american spirit -- experience and try to piece together the story of the filipino americans in the united role innd the filipino america's back story. we can talk about what happens in the q&a in the succeeding panels, but i want to give a little more context about filipino american labor organizing. thank you, lori, for talking talk awa, which i will about as well. when the strike began, one of the strikers talked to a local reporter and said this -- "for more than 30 years, i have been in strikes in the yield. i think we are going to win this one, but if we win or not, the growers will know they have been in one hell of a right --a
fight." i want to talk about militancy and discipline and the long history of the latino american union organizing that brings us 7,that roman, september 1965, in filipino hall in delano . whichd to go to 1898 in they become a colony of the united states and the hawaiian sugar planters association begins to recruit filipinos into the sugar plantations. in the central part and northern theyof the philippines look specifically for workers who were illiterate and wanted to make sure these were workers who would not try to organize. many thousands of filipinos wanted to go to this fabled land
called america that their teachers had told them about that many of them lied. they were illiterate. their american educators had told them about something called a labor union. kind of ironic, right? empire is funny that way. i want to start with the sugar hawaii,on workers in who come over in 1906 and start to come by the thousands. this man, a self-educated lawyer, begins to organize. the filipinoeads workers on strike. they lose. in 1924, he also leads filipino workers on strike, and they lose. the island ofn hawaii, 17 filipinos are shot dead by police when they are shot -- when they are out on strike. this is a terrible and violent strike. again, another strike that filipinos lose.
hspa boycott the filipinos who had participated. where else will they go? many of the strike leaders come to california and begin to work in the fields and also start organizing. cycle --abor migration i will just go over this very briefly -- from february to june, from the 1920's through the 1960's and 1970's, the filipinos are working asparagus, and that's where my roots are. the daughter and granddaughter of farmworkers. from june to august, many of the workers are working in the alaskans ammon canneries. -- salmon canneries. in october, they are working in mr. holmes: -- working in grape valleys. these filipino workers are
working under brutal conditions. racial violence, rigid segregation. this is the famous positively no filipinos allowed sign in doctrine -- in stockton. in a way to survive this very brutal work, like particularly asparagus, in which they are and over 10 to 12 hours a day, they begin to work in crews under ,ontractors and are to innovate like working by the piece or by the pound, and depending upon the contractor, for much of in payeeds for advances and finding them jobs. the contractor system later on in the history of united arm workers will be something kind of controversial, especially as we get into the history of the hiring hall, and we can talk about that later on. latinos -- filipinos also are working in the alaskan salmon
cannery. there, whichunion becomes local seven, and that union is actually still in existence now. many of the leaders of the agricultural workers organizing committee came out of the alaskan salmon cannery union. it was known as one of the most radical unions in the entire labor landscape. so radical that they were kicked out of the cio right after world war ii because so many of their leaders were either communist or accused of being communist. these were the founders of the union. united statesthe at the age of 15 in 1930. he became vice president and dispatcher. amongst other labor organizing activities, he goes on strike. he organizes sardine workers in san pedro and becomes a leader .n this union
the leaders of the cannery workers union were murdered in 1934. much of this labor union history is marred by violence. leaders protecting the cells against police violence, against violence from employers, from other contractors, etc. so the leaders are murdered. at about the same time, filipinos working in the lettuce in salinas form the filipino labor union and go on strike in 1930 or. this strike is also brutal and broken, but amongst the veterans of this strike are people like the alaskan salmon cannery union and becomes a mentor of sorts for many latino labor organizers. in 1939, asparagus workers in
stockton for him union called the filipino agricultural laborers association. many leaders are people like chris, larry. they were also members of the alaskan salmon cannery union. filipinos had gone on dozens of work stoppages and strikes throughout california and the west coast. many had been trained by communist organizers working in agriculturalnd workers industrial union. by this point, farmers and new filipinos were among the most organized militant and disciplined strikers -- organized, militant, and all ofined strikers in america, not just agriculture. in 1939 on but write a, 5000 filipino-american asparagus inkers walked off the fields stockton, crippling the easter .unday harvest filipinos knew if they walked up
the fields together militantly, organized, that they could win. -- in 1939 on good friday. you have to understand this is all about this longer history of how filipinos are walking off and winning in certain ends as is. this is a meeting of the filipino agricultural laborers association. that union, actually, died by world war ii. most of the men in that union the military and there is a no strike pledge, and when they come back, they are red .aited many of them, pretty much, stopped on labor organizing with the exception of one union, that canneryalaska salmon workers union, local seven. they decided to start organizing in the fields, and why not? before they come to work salmon,
they were working asparagus in stockton. .ou can see larry right here you can see chris also here in the photograph. they are planning a huge forragus strike in stockton 1948. this is the strike. 5000 again asparagus workers walk off the field in stockton. philip veracruz -- this is the first-ever strike he has participated in. unfortunately, they lose. the community is split. they are red baited. they win some concessions, but essentially, that union dies. this is a building in >> this is where they were headquartered. christmas all this --= chris
mensolvas, many of them have to lay low. folks emerging out of the union, essentially they no longer are organizing because of surveillance. ms. mabalon: however, larry continues to organize and he settles in stockton. and one of his friends who had been a leader in the strikes, they begin to meet with an organization called awa, led by thomas mcauliffe. they also put pressure on the aclu to start organizing farmworkers and that was the agricultural workers organizing committee. involved andg was
this is a larry-- about the time that awa was organized. he started organizing and stockton, but very quickly they realize how valuable he is and he gets sent to delano to organize workers from there. him is al green, and ben gines. this is a whole another history we can talk about later. may, 1965, there is a strike in coachella. hundreds of strikers, about 500 members walk off the field and our,demand a dollar 45 in but many are arrested.
-- get the dollar $.45 $1.45, that they do not get a contract. but the growers work out a contract where charges are dropped against those sitting in $1.45 an hour. then september 7, in delano, and upmany ways a film picks this story and talks about the filipinos who decide that they will talk about $1.45 an hour and they walk off on september 8, and veracruz says it was like a bomb. on a bitterly cold day, in 1966, " workersco wrote, had awakened a giant in america, walking off of the field."
ramifications of organizing and how it spread to other organizations across the u.s. this is coming from portions of my book called the forests and fields, labor in the pacific northwest. the story begins in mount angel oregon. this was an experimental four-year university that was meant to marry the real-life learning and real-life knowledge that farmworkers and immigrants had and match it with your traditional college learning. many people had no idea this its inception it was a very radical approach to education and it was the first chacon of serving -- chicano
serving school in the u.s.. very many people working on it, including the founder of the -- party. is most famous for its alum, bill walton. was a mixedtself bag, it was successful at times, graduated 26 chicanos in its first year. so it did have moments of success, unfortunately there was a lot of financial mismanagement and other things that took place that caused the university to close down 10 years later in 1983. the reason that it is important for what we are talking about today is not just its namesake,
but one of the most famous alums, is a guy name -- who was theren delano, grew up and went to oregon to go to college. when he got to oregon, he discovered there was a place called colegio de chavez. the picture we would show here is of him and his friends. here we go. [applause] this is the cover of the book that will come out soon. this is the poster of colegio close theey tried to school down several times, so
this is a picture of a rally in which they are try to keep the school open. berets see the buries -- here. now, when he went to the school, othert up with under -- individuals, a guy from chicago and they got together and talked about some of the things going at the time that they were experiencing, a number of raids, workplace raids, home raids, and deporting people from the pacific northwest. and he himself, having a connection to the usw, felt like he needed to do something, said he got a group together and they formed an organization called the valley organization. he was very committed to organizing.
first of all, very committed to undocumented immigrants, as you can see, this is an early flyer that says, basically, telling people with or without documents you have rights. started to work in the community in different capacities, they told go to ins and try convince people not to sign voluntary departure forms and groupsrmed these study where they would study immigration law and try to figure out what was the appropriate way or best way to go ahead and stop the deportations -- start slowing those down. back in those days, you could do immigration law with certain certifications and with that you can go before immigration courts and challenge the deportation of there is individuals. so one of the things that they
did was try to find new legal strategy for keeping the ins from deporting workers. what they came across was the idea that because immigration law and being undocumented is not a criminal offense, it is a civil offense, some of those typical kind of legal defenses that defendants have do not apply to immigrants, so there is no, no protection against illegal search and seizure. there is no protection against sort of having a lawyer present, these things do not exist in the typical civil proceedings, so they did not apply to immigration proceedings, but the one i did apply that they started to use -- that did apply, was the ability to not self incriminate. it would work in immigration court.
so this is what they theorized when they began to me and they finally got agent to practice that in court. actually case they were proven right by the immigration court, the immigrants did not have to identify themselves as undocumented, they had the right to remain silent, the right to not self incriminate. of theirmes the basis immigration law practice, they they to do various flyers, get organized, they have workshops, they have clinics, where they are telling undocumented immigrants, you do not have to incriminate yourself, do not say anything, call us, we will have that fight for you. so this is in the 1980's, they start working the immigration rights and in communities and what they discover ultimately is that even if we keep doing this
work, at the end of the day there will still be people exploited at work. so what will we do? we cannot just be an organization, we need to be a union. so they decided a brilliant maneuver, after 1984, when immigration reform act is passed, there is a whole host of immigrants already trust them and say, what do we do now? we do not understand how to apply for citizenship, we don't understand if we are eligible, what do we do? so any stroke of genius, they said, we will do all the paperwork, help you become citizens, but you have to be a member of the union. this is where they began the basis of the union, which i will talk about later, but it still exists today and it is an incredible force in the northwest. so you see here a picture of
larry, second from the left, with his first class of citizens. since they are all undocumented farmworkers, working in the portland area, they get citizenship and become the first members of the union. was tree planters and farmworkers northwest united. in 1986, a couple of years after that, they have a convention, larry is on the far left. and they get support obviously fw. the although they sort of differ on politics at the time, serving in were intricate
part of getting the organization off the ground. come regularly to talk to different organizers and offer advice and they consistently picked the brains .f chavez and other leaders so, they begin organizing in the field in oregon, and at that time, they had one of the most anti-labor laws in the country. there were anti-thickening laws, laws against laws for registering union organizers, all sorts of obstacles to the process of organizing, so one of the first things they do is file a lawsuit to get rid of a law that outlaws picketing by non-workers on a particular target. so once that law is overturned in 1989, the next year they
launch their first major agricultural strike in the history of oregon. so organizers had no large-scale organized strikes and tell this moment -- until this moment in 1990. this is what i described in my book, in great detail, but i think one of the most important things to remember or know about thisis that, they took unique approach to organizing workers. they fully embraced the social movement aspect of what they did, they began organizing unions,arious different social movements, religious organizations and in addition to that, they started to see union success in a different way than just measuring contracts, which is a lesson they learned from
the usw. so from this particular strike, the growers refused to negotiate a contract and they did not earn a contract, so it they decided to do was have a rent strike. they took over this camp, they named it after the first president of mexico, and what you should remember here also is that by the 1990's, the majority in oregon or indigenous. so they become a flexible organization and one thing they do is they start to higher indigenous organizers to speak indigenous languages and work with indigenous communities, so symbolichis is a moment for many indigenous
workers. another photo, version of oregon the contract signing, the first signed in oregon, there is the president there and what continues to be dynamic about this organization is that they, for instance, this is a trilingual radio station that inaks to various farmworkers they callnd area and it the people's radio, they talk about if there is a strike going on, a movement going on, if there is community organizing going on, all of these things, this is the mass media for them. so the other thing that they took seriously to finish up for
today, they have taken over the idea of leadership. larry,erstanding that -- played a role in the organizing, they started to worry about what would happen when they were gone. ais was precipitated by member's death in 1985. so they start thinking about this and they start organizing and fundraising to create what they call a leadership institute. so they train young children of the farmworkers and of people and other organizers, to be organizers and activists. one of the most recent graduates , thee leadership institute
child of a farm worker, is running for candidacy this year. so this is the vision they are having, this is a labor union, but it is a much bigger kind of holistic approach to organizing, community organizing. leadership in the past, understanding that this moment can die with them if they do not do something like this. so this was the fruit of that work. thank you. [applause] [applause] mr. holmes: is it already in
mr. holmes: there we go. technical problem solved. ok, good afternoon. it is an honor to take part in this event and celebration. i want to start by thanking the organizers here for these wonderful events that have been organized the past few days. it is a privilege. up.y, i will wrap things it has been a great panel.
i want to do so actually by andng the different things heardre we go, we have many of these today about activism and movement on the ground. i want to take a broader look to see how this activism on the ground affected things at the top. i want to hit on two of the political economic legacies, to impacts i will focus on. work with,arted my what is a movement challenge? this also gets to the other question of what affects the challenge had on california and national politics? today a will discuss this in
three parts to try to flesh out the process for you. to business,llenge economic challenges, but we also look at this as agro business. what i want to show today is the ripple effect, the economic effects that were much larger and the challenge of the tightknit structure within california that i call the corporate west. in this light, what we see is this is not just the most successful agricultural movement , but also the most significant challenge to american business in the 20th century. and when there is a challenge to business, there is a challenge to politics. and this process of what i want to discuss is how the political center actually broke and what you have is both parties contracting to the fringes. this is not new for students of politics or participants of
politics, but we usually the democratswith going left and democrats -- republicans going right. we talk about civil rights and the vietnam war, but i what to show this political center, the hidden root of that shift. the challenge to business was so important. and the result of it, lastly what i will speak on, reaganism. it was forced after a boycott campaign, is the first labor dispute that reagan confronted and it caused -- and offers the best definition for what reaganism is. this is corporate conservatism. conservatism that we can better describe with it business oriented agenda, it actually uses the tools of government for those to protect and foster the interest of business. so if we get started, the
corporate west, i like this picture, it is very pink floyd. it is fitting for the era. -- if you want to understand the movement, you need to understand the structure of the economy. the california economy actually look like this. an early part, you have these for areas. of course, after one or two, we would add something to that and later on we would have this balloon into a massive primary industry known as silicon valley, that is over where i work. each pillar, you have these corporations that would dominate, these are the homes of bank of america and wells fargo, chevron, southern california, bowling, douglas, sp railroad and more important, these are not just economic sectors, this is a tightly interwoven community, they shared board of
directors, investments and all inthem had invested interest california agriculture. by 1970, 1 in three jobs was linked with that. thosere is a list of investments, just a partial list. this is again what i want to keep in mind when we think about boycott, the ripple effect, these effects that stand out, this is beyond grapes. more important, in our current discussion about agriculture, here is the multiplier that they keep missing come agriculture is still only 2% of gdp. a factor this in, but another zero behind. this is referencing my discussions on water at stanford with water lawyers. structure that
actually underpinned this, believe it or not, this at one time resonate with both republicans and democrats. this is a fancy economic term that we can describe as bipartisan balance, the balanced the interest of social reform on one hand and business on the other. we see this early in the century, this is modern, this is the progressives. earl warren, as well as rockefeller. we would see this on the democrats, this is after fdr. you see lyndon johnson there. one thing we missed, right before the movement, you had a landslide victory by lbj and we usually associate him with civil rights, the great society, this is the war on poverty. , he had anservatives
backing of business. most of the nations distances were behind that texan. but that was about to change. and it changes again when we look at challenges to business and it started with ufw and their boycott. most of us know the story. we saw industries by 1948, all california great -- grapes. it is not just the fruit, but also the stores that sold them. this is right behind the movement, also pesticides, it goes international, canada, the philippines, mexico. and this is what really gives the power behind this, the la causa coalition. you will not find a more diverse coalition ever in american history. they used as a 20th century, but you are not find in this
anywhere. asally i like to call this hippie housewives and hardhats, but it is fancy alliteration for that gripping -- religious groups across all faiths. you're white, middle and of her class housewives. 1966, the march on sacramento. this is the first time you see this sort of dynamic coalition. see this nation wide. you can look at some of these pictures great on no weather front in the 1960's, with these people be standing next to one another. -- on no other front in the 1960's, with these people be standing next to one another. we can look at the strategies that kept this coalition together. very fragile.
very difficult to do. that is one of the lessons we can learn from this. this gave the boycott the economic edge. in the late 1960's, and the 1970's, this organization such as the u.s. chamber of commerce. how will we deal with these boycotts? they characterized it as consumerism. this is the number one threat to business as they would call it. we would see this spread. general electric. throughout the 1960's and 1970's. you have a threat to business, that will trickle down to the political arena. we see this especially heading democrats from the start. confluence of race, and industry. you're going to have to choose. business or labor. you can no longer have both.
we see this in the 1966 election between brown and ronald reagan. brown, just like lyndon johnson and other democrats, first of all, they tried to stop the movement with silence. farmworkers. don't worry about it. it didn't. he navigated that middle ground between business and labor masterfully for decades. the movement was not going to let cap off of the hook. they put the pressure on. they met him at every campaign rally. they would do the cartoons saying -- come on cap, stop wavering. -- he doesomes out lose. we see that what started with at ram, it it would spread throughout the entire democratic race.
they were in favor of labor and social movements. we see this again in 1960, spearheaded by bobby kennedy. he spearheads this on a national level. you were comfort. -- hubert humphrey. he marches through the financial district of san francisco. if you want to send a message into the corporate west, you marched through the financial district of san francisco. by 1970, this is complete. big daddy has a relationship with business. money is the mother's milk of politics. this changes by 1970. he wages a popular campaign in california. by 1972, when ted kennedy is up there greeting his fellow boycotters, support for the was writtenaign
into the national platform of the democratic party. longer had a place within the democratic already, so they moved right. i can only touch on it briefly businesses but when come into the republican party and consolidate, it is not a smooth trajectory. you have factions within the gop. liberals. and dare i say, you also had moderates. we can touch on these later on. the important thing here is to realize that business consolidated behind ronald reagan. that should not be a surprise. does this was at the heart of his political career from the beginning. you see that right here in the regionally. these were his advisers. kitchenld run the famed
cabinets rough his governorship and when he went to washington, they came with him. under the new name of the presidential advisory committee. spoke with ronald reagan every day on the phone. it was not just about providing money. actually formed a group that hand selected everything a person that would be in his it -- would be in his administration. fox's in the hen house. -- foxes in the hen house. many were tapped to go and regulate the industry they came from. of thevice president bank of america becomes the head of agriculture. you had businessman for the first time in decades in california lead the department of labor. we would see this with welfare and the office of equal opportunity and for the bill payers in the room, your public utilities commission was stocked full of investors in pg&e and
southern pacific railroad. in action.anism corporate conservatism. we see this against the u.s. -- the department of labor the certifies all of the labored disputes. reagan vetoes and unemployment insurance bill for farmworkers three times during his governorship. while at the same time he is increasing state spending on agriculture. he vetoes the rural assistance program. more importantly, he spearheaded the opposition to the ufw. we saw this in some of the video earlier. of failure and he likes eating grapes, the forbidden fruit. coordinated the efforts. reams ofed out
anti-usw literature -- ufw literature. the build distributed to 25 other states that we would see passed in 1972. that -- in arizona. kansas, idaho where we get a boycottaho -- a short of idaho potatoes. this is where i will begin to wrap up your reagan's governorship -- you see a lot of it. how corporateyou conservatism starts to work. the largest tax increase in the against theis war ufw and other unions describing
the foreshadowing of what we would see as pressed -- with him as president. reagan's government helps the rich, god helps rest of us. the most important political affect you would see the ufw it didt have come delineate on that political spectrum. whose interests will it serve? business? delineationmportant that no other movement actually did and it is something we still confront today. [applause] mr. asher: are there questions for any of our speakers? if you do have a question, please go to the microphone because we are recording with c-span today.
mr. holmes: don't be shy. >> this question is directed to anyone that wants to answer it. it has been my impression that over theas lost power last several decades. -- talkr hear the ufw about it or publishing information about it. membership is down. would anyone like to comment on what is causing that? >> we will let the reagan guy do
it. organizing farm labor is extremely difficult. thatnk anyone who works in knows that. like a union trick first book, we have to think back to the time when we had industrial unions in america. that is difficult. if you look at your united auto workers, for example, you organize someone in that union and they would come into the workplace and they had a steady trajectory. i will move up in the work late. you don't have that in firm labor. this was not a job where people want to sit around for 15 years and move up. it was extremely difficult. you had turned over. i would also -- turnover. consequences of challenging business, the business begins to mobilize like you have never
seen. this is the genesis of your super pac's today. even by 1980, the u.s. chamber of commerce had a political war chest for politics of $1 million. do the calculation of 1980 -- that was huge. not even labor have that. there is a lot of difficulties. regarding the organizing. a movement of that magnitude is hard to sustain also. you can only wage boycotts for so long before the consumer politics begins to get eroded by the egos of american consumerism itself. we get bored. we already help them in another campaign, some people think. mr. sifuentes: traditionally, the way that we would explain
the deteriorating power of the state andation to the the role that the state has played in that business has played. what is happening now as people are writing more books and doing more research in the archives, is that we are finding that there was a lot of internal reasons why this happened as well. there is a lot of ethnic tension, very difficult things take place within the union. there is a mobilization that takes place against the ufw. there is also some missteps. we need to think about and grapple with, especially on this anniversary about some of those missteps. partially, what i was trying to convey it in my talk was that even though the reagan era and the unions in the reagan era
this is when they signed their first contract and they were successful and became one of the largest farm unions in the country. there are various reasons for that happening. i think a lot of people are now starting to write about it and internallyt happened that could have been done better. we need to think about answering that as a filipino american role. in 1971, among the reasons that he leaves his because he feels it is an undemocratic union. this is going to be a problem that plagues the ufw internally
for at least a decade after he leaves. as i have been trying to understand what happened to filipinos come it is also about what happened to the ufw as well. that is the story in there also. the scholarship that has been coming out in the last few years has helped us tremendously to understand what happened and what we need to do better in the future. particularly for filipinos, we gathered a few weeks ago where we had several labor organizers who are trying to get the filipinos in the field -- filipinos are having major challenges organizing across the globe because we are become -- we have become the home care and domestic workers of the world. had we look at these filipino that is also what
i'm trying to do. pete the last go -- velasco. mr. sifuentes: are we still doing this work? someone was asking me. there are a lot of us who are digging into the ufw archives right now. my graduate student could not be -- she is working on this. one of the things that we keep in mind today is that this is only going to get bigger and have more people writing about it and we will only learn more as people are able to get into the archives and work there. we are taking on students of our own who are also doing this work. there are a lot of questions still to be answered. there is a lot of history --
there are a lot of people in delano involved. the percentage of people that were filipino that were there was very small. there,eople that are not do not want to have anything to do with any of them. until people go in and talk to those individuals, i have talked to some -- they have their own history. there is a lot of history there. we take that time to go in and look at the history, we will find out what happened on the way around, everywhere. it is important to show the diversity and the various movements that came off of it.
one of the things that we look at when we talk about missteps and missed opportunities. under theoposal national labor relations act. that are many reasons why was going to be difficult for agricultural workers. we get that. but what that also would have done is open up opportunities for workers of color in agriculture outside of california. also nationwide. and in other organizations. to get a foothold and try collective-bargaining. california is still the only state that has agriculture labor relations act this is 50 years later. trust nixon. campaign abby kennedy was working for his brother.
bobby kennedy was working for his brother. that was a complicated issue. the california rural assistance program. byt program was overridden richard nixon. it is complicated. are just some of the few missteps that in hindsight we can see. fory question is primarily don. you highlighted the militancy and discipline and dedication of firm workers i wonder a that seems to be to you consequence of their circumstances since they were not allowed to marry. many of them were single men. did they feel they were risking
or sacrificing somehow less because they did not have wives and children that they would have been not able to feed? >> in my book about stockton, i talk about filipino workers -- most of them -- there were wives -- their wives were either in the philippines where they were not married. they were young, crazy men in their 20's and 30's. we are here for 10 years or five years. i will get rich and go home. come ande tries to take my job, you shoot a scab. the first year of the great strike. there was a lot about telling filipino men to put away their guns and knives very this was supposed to be nonviolent. there were also issues about the nature of the strike and the social movement nature of the strike. these were issues that filipinos
had in the ufw also. based on their long history in the labor movement. being single men organized by left-wing radicals and being communist organizers are for people that had formally been communist organizers, think about them being told that you were going to march behind a statue of the virgin mary. when i asked my dad why he did -- he said that was not a strike. of theg behind a statue virgin mary. you shoot a scab. that is a strike. very militant guys. they were one of the most radical unions before they started the great strike. they come from a tough history before they get to delano. memories of these old, kind gentle men that if you
push them the wrong way and you take their jobs when you are on strike, they will burn down there -- they will burn down your barn. >> i wanted to further expand on what i feel is a better answer to this gentleman's question regarding the ufw membership growth. for fivee went on years from 1965 until 1970 when we were able to get the grape contract. there -- they were three-year contracts. the workers did enjoy the benefits, decent wages. inlth and safety regulations the field in terms of pesticide. yet the medical plan established. -- you had the medical plan established.
the filipino brothers who had worked very hard all of their lives and were single and were able to get medical care. in 1973.act expired the ufw was renegotiating the grape contract, while at the same time there was organizing and people walking out on strike and wanting to join the ufw in the adjustable industry in the salinas valley. the union leadership was juggling a lot including the renegotiations of the great contracts. at the same time, while the growers were negotiating with the ufw leadership, they were also meeting and a severed room with a teamsters union. they ended up signing three contracts with the teamsters union. that is when the second strike of 1973 started and a lot of us went out on the boycott when there were some killings in the field.
our current governor, governor brown who was governor then, we got the agricultural labor relations act. there was a lot of organizing that went on in the field and the ufw did get certified with a lot of these companies. unfortunately, there was not a lot of meat in the lot in terms of forcing the growers to come to the table and bargain with the ufw in good faith area they were also committing a lot of unfair legal practices. the ufw was filing a lot of charges, unfair label practices the stateup to supreme court. that took a lot of years. the agriculture labor relations board was only as good as the people who the governor appointed to enforce the act. i don't know if it was a misstep of not including the agriculture workers in it because of the
differences and the needs of the workers in terms of access. a lot of different things. in terms of the times of the harvest. the way the workers would follow the harvest. incorporating everything that you guys did mention, but also, i think there was a point where we even stopped organizing in the fields because the agriculture labor relations work -- board was not doing its job. even today, there are still cases up in front of the california supreme court. there are still -- they are still working in the state to get some meat on the act to make the growers sit down and bargain in good faith. i hope that answers your question a little bit more. see was very gratified to
-- give us a transnational perspective. the entire experience of a filipino in california. it started with the spanish-american war. it is extremely important. ofould like to call upon all the scholars to do the same with the mexicans. exists is that mexican farmworkers organize within united states bubble. that is not true. been a hugee had mexican revolution led by peasants that struggled against the landlord but burned them down and took it over. by the time we have strikes in california, in the central valley, we have decade upon decade of radicalization, organization, and so forth from mexicans in mexico and then they came to the valley and contributed.
i hope that your example, which i really admire, starting with the real story in the philippines, and how they brought with them the experience of trade unionism acquired in the philippines but also in hawaii is exactly what we should do labor studies in the central valley. example.us a great my question to you is could you go a little further, you mentioned religion and the fact that the virgin, a filipino icon, can you talk a little more about the masons. the freemasons were central to the organizing through the decades. was for the church mexican farmworkers. thank you, great question. i am trying to give a short answer. the masons play an important role in the philippine revolution.
he was amazing. organizeses his -- he other illustrative is -- illustrados who were the elite in society. early in the 20th century, they are were several copycat masonic orders. one of the most important and powerful in the united states with a masonic order called the legionnaires of labor. the legionnaires of labor, they looked just like a masonic lodge with the 33 degrees and the secret rituals. the strikeut of against the manila electric company in 1912. there were some direct routes. legionnaires of
labor included a number of individuals. my father also new them. they were brothers in that way. when we talk about that militancy and the bonds that many of the workers had come townhad the bond of their and province but also of being masons with one another. masons, iou who are know you won't tell us your secrets, but whatever you guys say in your secret meetings, they made promises to each other. not to cross each other's picket lines. can is why 5000 filipinos stand up and walk out because they have those relationships with one another as brother work is, as cousins, and as masonic others also. that is an important aspect of the filipino part of the ufw. they were all brothers in the most radical of the copycat
masonic orders. i think they are secret communist. my uncles and my dad would never have admitted it but they elect a queen every year. anyone who is a u.s. historian know who nina van zandt is? the haymarket affair in chicago. they knew their labor history. i am 10 years old, why is the queen called the that? -- called that? don't worry. my goodness, my uncles are all marxists. [laughter] >> thank you very much. we will take a break and then we will have the panel reconvene at 3:30 p.m. so, let us do that. [applause]
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