Last updated: December 19, 2022
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California farm workers attempted to organize and strike many times in the 80 years before Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Those attempts all failed, partly because employers historically used one race of farm workers to break the strikes of other races. Led by prominent labor leader Larry Itliong, the mostly Filipino farm workers of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee gathered in the Filipino Community Hall and voted on the night of September 7, 1965, to strike against Delano-area grape growers. The next day, on September 8, 1965, the Filipino farmworkers began the Delano Grape Strike.
Larry Itliong quickly asked the mostly Latino National Farm Workers Association to join the Filipinos' picket lines, which happened on September 16, 1965, Mexican Independence Day. Leaders of the two unions insisted strikers share the same union hall and strike kitchen, which was the Filipino Community Hall.
The two unions merged in 1966 to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, now the United Farm Workers. Bolstered by visits from supporters such as United Auto Workers International President Walter P. Reuther and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, solidarity between the races during this five-year multi-ethnic struggle was a key factor in establishing what became the first enduring farm workers union in U.S. history.
- césar e. chávez national monument
- larry itliong
- cesar chavez
- filipino heritage month
- labor history
- labor strikes
- labor movement
- farm workers
- community center
- asian american heritage
- filipino heritage
- asian american and pacific islander heritage
- asian american and pacific islander history