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Farmworker Movement: Strike Report #3

Title: Farmworker Movement: Strike Report #3
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The following strike report from October 10, 1974, was compiled by the United Farm Workers (UFW) to inform members and UFW allies of recent developments. This boycott information report discusses the Yuma lemon strike in Arizona in the context of the use of non-union labor by growers and illegal immigration. In particular, it accuses the U. S. Border Patrol of corrupt practices and intimidation. It also reports on UFW progress in the Watsonville apple strike, despite the continued use of "scab" labor in the orchards.

UNITED FARM WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO
P.O. BOX 62, KEENE, CALIF. 93531 805 822 5571

TO: All entities and volunteer boycott committees
FROM: Boycott Info
RE: Strike reports
DATE: October 10, 1974

YUMA LEMON STRIKE-
Between 500 and 1,000 UFW members, supporters, and staff joined the lemon strikers at the border town of San Luis, Arizona, on the weekend of October 6th, to express their solidarity with the strikers and to help them patrol the border.

The strikers have set up their own patrols, operating from large Army field hospital-type tents set up along the border, to ask illegals not to break the strike. The Union's "border patrol" has been highly successful in keeping the illegals out of the lemon fields, and has dramatically emphasized the inefficiency and corruption of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Because so many people came to support them, it had a tremendous morale-building effect for the strikers, who moved into the tents with and after the volunteers. The heavy oppression of fear and intimidation created by the tactics of the Border Patrol was effectively countered.

A mass was celebrated at the border on Sunday morning, with persons on both sides participating. The mass underlined the bonds of human solidarity between the strikers and the Mexicanos, the former forced to strike for a decent wage in this country, the latter too often used by the growers to break the strikes of their brothers and sisters . . . The ranchers are paying three cab drivers on the Mexican side of San Luis $4.00 per person for people they recruit to break the strike. Many illegals sleep in the desert on the Mexican side until about 3AM or so, when they attempt to cross into the U.S. . . . The police are concentrating on arresting picket captains and organizers . . . Someone planted bullets in the glove compartment of Anna Puharieh's car . . . At San Luis, the border is a cyclone fence about twenty feet high with barbed wire on top, but just outside the small town the fence consists of four strands of barbed wire about four feet high, and is very easy to cross.

WATSONVILLE APPLE STRIKE-
Only about thirty scabs, or about 25% of the pre-strike force, are picking apples at the Buak ranch. Buak will need 200 workers by the end of the week. On Monday, the strikers were able to convince nearly everyone on two buses not to break the strike.

Courtesy of the Farmworker Movement Documentation Project

 

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