Farm Workers on Strike, 1959-1966

Dolores Huerta and grape workers on strike, Delano, 1965

Dolores Huerta and grape workers on strike, Delano, 1965

Harvey Richards photographed farm workers on strike from 1957 to 1966. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s farm workers went on strike many times in a seemingly futile effort to win higher wages and better conditions in a labor market dominated by captive, low paid bracero labor.  The first strike efforts came from the United Packinghouse Workers Union who had successfully kept bracero labor away from the packing houses and had increased their wages and the number of contracts.  Harvey photographed and filmed these early strikes, including the 1962 lettuce strike for $1.25 per hour centered in the Imperial Valley.   Factory Farms, the Harversters, and Uno Vientecinco were three films made for the UPWA and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO.  His fourth farm worker film, The Land Is Rich,  told the story of the spring 1966 March to Sacramento by the United Farm Workers and the strike wave that preceded it, including the grape strike of 1965   His films were used as organizing tools and fund raising for the unions. During the filming trips all over the state of California, he also shot still photographs of many strikes which are displayed in this gallery. Buy or license these photos.

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