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Organized Agriculture and the Labor Movement before the UFW

Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, California

By Dionicio Nodín Valdés

Publication Year: 2011

This pioneering comparative study investigates how agricultural workers in Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, and California struggled to organize and create a place for themselves in the institutional life of the United States.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Over the years many people have offered me direction, inspiration, and assistance in completing this book, and some deserve my special thanks. Archivists and librarians in the many locations I have worked have been helpful, in particular Kathy Schmelling, in charge of the farmworkers’ collections of the Reuther Library, ...

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pp. 1-24

California, Hawai‘i, and Puerto Rico, sites of the most concerted organizational campaigns by agricultural workers in lands under U.S. dominion in the early twentieth century, shared the experience of military and economic conquest and annexation in the nineteenth. ...

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Chapter 1. Colonizing a Movement: The Federación Libre de Trabajadores in Puerto Rico

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pp. 25-59

In 1918, a report by the American Federation of Labor on the organizing campaign in Puerto Rico conducted by its affiliate, the Federación Libre de Trabajadores (Free Federation of Workers; the Federación), complained that the “industrial colonization” of the island by the sugarcane industry ...

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Chapter 2. Dreams of Democratic Unionism: The Confederación General de Trabajadores and Puerto Rican Agricultural Workers

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pp. 60-106

The recovery of the Puerto Rican sugar industry in the early 1940s convinced experts that its role as the motor of economic conquest would continue into the foreseeable future. The island’s dependence on sugar was evident, and in 1941 the USDL estimated that two- thirds “of everything Puerto Rico uses and possesses ...

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Chapter 3. Up from Colonialism: Hawaiian Plantation Agriculture and the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union

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pp. 107-146

While the Packinghouse union failed agricultural workers in the colony of Puerto Rico, workers in colonial Hawai‘i had a much different experience with another CIO affiliate, the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. Plantation workers in the middle of the Pacific organized and won collective bargaining contracts ...

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Chapter 4. Challenges and Survival: Sustaining Agricultural Unionism in Hawai‘i

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pp. 147-168

The Longshore Union stood out for its ability to survive as a militant and effective union representing agricultural workers after World War II, maintaining the allegiance of its members. Several observers attribute its success to Hawaiian exceptionalism, pointing in particular to enlightened employers ...

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Chapter 5. Marked in the Annals of the Labor Movement: The National Farm Labor Union, Organized Labor, and the DiGiorgio Strike

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pp. 169-202

Unionists had long been attracted to California agriculture because it was home to the largest farmworker population in the nation and offered the greatest potential for members. In the late 1940s there were more than 150,000 full-time agricultural workers in the state, and twice that number during harvest. ...

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Chapter 6. From Factory to Industrial Area: Areawide Organizing in the San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys

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pp. 203-230

As the National Farm Labor Union strike at the Arvin ranch bogged down, organizers again shifted tactics. Through their experience at Di-Giorgio they realized that going after another “rural factory” would continue to drain dwindling resources and not reach many workers. ...

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Retrospective and Prospectus: The Labor Movement and Agricultural Workers

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pp. 231-242

Agricultural workers’ struggles to gain recognition and a place in the institutional life of the nation reveal severe defects and limitations in the nation’s democracy. They faced constant opposition from well- organized employers and experienced many defeats. In victories that advanced a democratic agenda, ...


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pp. 243-274

Glossary: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Short Terms

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pp. 275-278


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pp. 279-302


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pp. 303-313

E-ISBN-13: 9780292734722
E-ISBN-10: 0292734727
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292726390
Print-ISBN-10: 0292726392

Page Count: 323
Illustrations: 8 b&w photos, 3 maps
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 744362068
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Organized Agriculture and the Labor Movement before the UFW

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Subject Headings

  • Agricultural laborers -- Puerto Rico -- History.
  • Labor unions -- Puerto Rico -- History.
  • Agricultural laborers -- Hawaii -- History.
  • Labor unions -- Hawaii -- History.
  • Agricultural laborers -- California -- History.
  • Labor unions -- California -- History.
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