Chavez and the Farm Workers

By Ronald B. Taylor | Go to book overview

The Delano contracts brought 50 percent of the table‐ grape harvest under the control of the UFWOC, the Coachella and Arvin contracts added 35 percent more.The remaining 15 percent that was unorganized lay in tiny 10- and 20- and 40-acre farming parcels belonging to the notoriously independent small family farmers of Fresno and Madera counties. But these growers would have to be forgotten for a while, as Chavez moved his headquarters to Salinas and prepared for the lettuce strikes and the battle to drive the Teamsters out of the fields again.


CHAPTER ELEVEN :
THE TEAMSTERS AGAIN

The Teamsters were not newcomers to the Salinas Valley agribusiness scene.Local 890 had contracts covering workers in the canneries, the fresh-vegetable packing sheds, and frozen-food processing plants; these contracts also protected the field truck drivers and the carton stitchers, who ride on the flat-bed trucks making up the cardboard boxes used by harvest crews who field pack the lettuce. And Local 890 still had the Bud Antle, Inc., field laborers under contract, as a result of the 1961 lettuce strikes by the AWOC and United Packinghouse Workers.At the time the Teamsters signed Antle they offered similar field labor contracts to 110 other Salinas Valley growers.The farmers rejected the idea of unionization, condemned Antle, and expunged his name from the influential Growers-Shippers Vegetable Association membership list.

The AWOC-UPHW effort was easily beaten back, and the Salinas growers went about their business. The Teamsters showed no wider interest in field labor, and there matters rested for nearly a decade.But when the Coachella grape

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