Larry Itliong and the Great Delano Grape Strike

Long Distance


Year is nineteen sixty five. The Vietnam War is escalating. I have today ordered. Tha Nam the Air Mobile Division and certain other footage which will raise our fighting strength from seventy five thousand one hundred and twenty five thousand men almost immediately X. is assassinated Jeff Van. The gunfire went off and his hand was up. I remember turned around and the next thing I saw smell come falling back in the jet. Martin Luther King Junior leads a series of civil rights marches in Selma Alabama. They I want to say to the state of Alabama. Just want to say to the people as a matter of and the nations of the world that we are not about turnaround. We own the move. Now yes we on the move and Norway racism the Bannon and in California farmworkers faced with racial discrimination and economic hardship organizing for their rights as workers. And as okay so quick recap on the history of farm workers on the West Coast and specifically California. Immigrants had been exploited as cheap farm labor for years. I Chinese Japanese migrants then Filipino. Nationals arrived in the nineteen twenties. Mexicans became a large part of the farm labor force around time but also just poor folks of all backgrounds looking for work. Black White Brown were exploited. They lived in shabby wooden houses near the fields. They worked for hours under the Sun. Some even lived in former concentration camps which house Japanese Americans during their internment in World War. Two since they first started coming over in the nineteen twenties Filipino. Farmworkers had tried negotiating for better working conditions and wages with their bosses. Usually white guys called growers beheld. Strikes started organizations and unions. They were often met with violence. Or they'd lose their jobs. Gore's were higher other ethnic groups. Instead scabs to their strikes like the immigrants who came before them Filipinos were thought of as hard workers who were obedient easy to control but they were also militant having lived through years of race. Riots shootouts violent. Confrontations with police growers SCABS. It wasn't uncommon for Filipinos to draw knives on the picket line. Larry it Leon came up in this old school. Militant tradition of striking labor organizing and by the nineteen sixties. He was a leader of a union that represented farmworkers call the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee. A Walk which was supported by a larger union the AFL CIO. Larry worked the likes of Mexican American activists. Dolores Huerta and Filipino. American organizers Philip Aracruz. Who called Larry the most powerful Filipino leader in a walk? He had the most experience. I mean he'd been in a lot of strikes you know and he was the head of a walk at the time this. Miriam Powell a journalist and historian who spent almost a decade writing books and articles about another famous Labor leader Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers which we'll get to in a bit in terms of the nuts and bolts like being a Labor leader running a union. Larry was the guy absolutely. That's where story picks back up as a union organizer and leader one of Larry's jobs is to visit farms in the Central Valley to recruit. New members moves his family to Delano. Where he the mostly Filipino. Workers in May nineteen sixty five opportunity knocks in nearby. Coachella valley where there are also Filipino. Workers who need help. Here's Patrick again. As older Larry. Here's some workers did a dollar forty in our Filipinos are getting a dollar twenty five an hour. Now that don't make sense to me. It's time to strike okay so to strike meant. The workers would stop working until their employers. The growers listen to the demands but striking farmworkers wasn't going to be easy they were going against big agricultural business agribusiness. The man agribusiness was the most powerful industry in California at that time. Million Powell again arm workers were really the poorest people who also had no protection all of this sort of existing health safety and labor laws that applied to other professions. Do not apply to farm workers could be fired at will. They be made to work any kinds of hours or no restrictions no health or safety requirements so for them to take on this enormously powerful industry a was a huge talent when the farmworkers decide to go on strike in the Coachella Valley. They don't go to the fields to work. Instead we pick it in demand for better wages. They held up signs march. Saying chant confront the growers. They don't get paid and some workers are even arrested. But in ten days the growers give in the workers get their fifteen cent raise. Let's pick these grapes. After the harvest Larry in the farmer workers head north to the next job the grape fields of Delano. Where they hope to get the same rates but the growers refused to give the farmworkers meeting a community. Space might remember called Filipino Hall. Let's do this. Delano has a thriving Filipino community with lots of farm workers and members of eight walk so they actually establish a Filipino Hall. And at this meeting it is packed. It's mostly Filipinos but there are also some members who aren't the Black Puerto Rican Mexican even white their backgrounds different. But they all have one thing in common. You've suffered enough under the growers and they want real change now. Really neither raised by public actress on this anymore. We are getting any younger. We need better wages and union today. Dude these courses suck breezing my us of here. Larry and the other union leaders here the farm workers but understandably they have concerns if we strike. You might lose your house. You might lose your car. Your family might be on the streets. Hungary. It's going to be tough. Are you sure you want this farm? Workers decide to vote on whether or not they should go on strike back. My name is John Arlington born and raised here in Delano in present day Filipino Hall. I talked to John Arlington. Whose Father Mariano Lila Farmington also known as Bob was a Filipino immigrant and Delano farmworker. He was in Filipino Hall. That Fateful Day my dad and our family were part of a long agriculture workers organizing committee and with Larry. And Leon Philip the Veracruz People Osco and so many others were here in this hall. I'm talking to you now. In September seventh nineteen sixty five where we had a day long second meeting about the strike. And when Larry asked if anyone could make a motion regarding strike my father stood and made the motion to begin the great strike that started in Delano. Bob's made the motion to go on. Strike those in favor of the strike. Stand up and raise your hands high. Okay so what the heck everyone standing up. We're going on a strike you crazy. Bill Pinos Next Day September eighth nineteen sixty five the farmworkers show up at the grape vineyards ready for work according to the documentary Delano Manos by Marissa. Arroyo just like any other day at work. The farmer workers started picking Ripe Grapes on the vines. Then they'd set them down on the ground they move onto the next Bein. Fake Red Grapes. Set them down. Here's a clip from the film with organizer United Farmworkers Vice President. Pete Velasco we pick the ripe grapes and trim it and then move onto the next by under the same thing at moon. Our there are a lot of big grapes under that is when about the thousand five hundred. Pretty Pianos went on strike against the grape growers in

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