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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Farm Workers And Unionization
Program #
Politics, Society

Alejandro Saenz
Esteban Flores
Apr 13, 1977

Farm Workers and Unionization

Esteban Flores, a doctoral student at UT-Austin, discusses the current state of farm worker organizing and their efforts to enact labor legislation. Throughout the United States Farm Worker efforts to organize have been hindered by Right to Work Laws, which prohibit employers from requiring employees to join the union representing its workers (a closed shop). Flores explains that agribusinesses have lobbied hard for right to work laws as a way of limiting the bargaining power of workers, who would have more power if all employees belonged to the union.

Farm workers have been organizing for much of the 20th century throughout the United States. While the farm workers in California have received the majority of support and attention, farm workers elsewhere have also organized and protested inhumane working conditions. In 1966, farm workers in Texas staged a massive rally that was violently put down by the Texas Rangers. Beyond repression, farm worker unions face several challenges including those posed by illegal immigrants whom agribusinesses hire as strikebreakers. In recent years, however, their unions have reached out to Mexican nationals throughout transnational radio programs and other actions.

Although the farm worker-supported Agriculture Labor Relations Act stalled in congress, the farm workers continue to organize and are aided by support from the Chicano Movement and various religious and civic organizations.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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