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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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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
The Texas Farm Worker's Strike
Program #
1979-20
Themes:
Politics, Society

Series:
Labor
Host:
Armando Gutiérrez
Guests:
James Garza, José Garza
Date:
Apr 18, 1979

The Texas Farm Worker's Strike

Jose and James Garza, members of the Texas Farm Workers Union, provide an eyewitness account of the farm workers strike in Raymondville Texas in April 1979. The strike began on April 4th, when farm workers at Charles Wetegrove’s packing shed refused to work for a 50% pay cut. Over 1500 workers are striking for better wages and working conditions and for union recognition. The two brothers discuss the police brutality they witnessed at the picket line and the provocations the strikers endured both from police and Wetegrove, himself. They mention that the few journalists who covered the event clearly favored the growers.

They explain that the conditions in Wetegrove’s fields are typical of those found among the largest growers. They also discuss House Bill 227 and its bid to legalize collective bargaining for farm workers. They say that Mexican American organizations like LULAC have not offered much more than verbal support. They explain that the strikers need food and financial support as the coffers of the Texas Farm Workers union are spent bailing out several strikers the police have arrested. Without more support, the strike will be unable to last much longer.

 

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

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