On Farm Labor in the United States (1/2)
Part One: How Consumers (and Laws) Overlook Farm Workers
Fifty years ago this fall, Filipino American farm workers in Delano, California, walked out of the grape fields to demand better pay and working conditions. They joined forces with a predominantly Latino farm workers union and the strike spread. This new coalition called itself the United Farm Workers, or UFW. Both a social movement and union, the UFW’s multi-year campaign built widespread awareness of the exploitative conditions under which grape-pickers lived and worked. The grape strike grew to involve a nationwide consumer boycott of table grapes that connected farm workers in California fields to families across the United States. After five years of picket lines, consumer actions, hunger strikes, and nonviolent organizing, grape growers in the Central Valley signed union contracts that guaranteed better pay and working conditions.
Read the complete article at ∆NGLES
Part two of this post will introduce the farm worker movement in North Carolina and describe ways in which consumers can play a role in supporting the basic rights of farm workers.
About the Author: Andrew Trump is a student in the Master of City and Regional Planning and Master of Public Administration programs at UNC-Chapel Hill. He focuses on community economic development.
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