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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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Chicano Farm Worker's Struggle
Program #
Politics, Politics

Alejandro Saenz
Gilberto Cardenas
May 4, 1978

Chicano Farm Worker's Struggle

Dr. Gilberto Cardenas discusses the organizing efforts of the United Farm Workers (UFW). Although farm workers have been organizing since the turn of the century, they only entered the national spotlight in the 1960s with the United Farm Workers strike in Delano, California where Filipino and Chicano workers demanded recognition of their union, better wages and improved living and working conditions. In this pursuit, they ultimately organized a successful nationwide grape boycott. Cardenas explains that the UFW was the most aggressive and revolutionary social movement of the 1960s and 70s because using only nonviolent strategies they were able to ally with various groups and fight successfully against a politically and financially powerful agribusiness elite. Cardenas says that the UFW was particularly successful at attracting a broad base of support because they were well-trained organizers willing to travel throughout the country to seek allies.

While the UFW in the past denounced the undocumented worker for hindering their unionization, they have since changed their stand and now support undocumented workers and decry their exploitation by employers. The UFW has also adopted various strategies over the years, some of which have alienated other workers, such as those in Texas who have split to form their own union, the Texas Farm Workers Union.


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

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