Filipino United Farm Workers Union (UFW) supporters picket outside of a California Safeway store, February 1973. The UFW union reached a three-year contract with major grape growers in 1970 after years of struggle and a nationwide grape boycott. However, in 1973 when the contracts expired, major grape growers signed “sweetheart” contracts which the UFW responded with strikes and a nationwide boycott of lettuce and grapes.
The whole movement began in Coachella in the summer of 1965 when a group of Filipino workers went on strike demanding that their wages be increased from $1.10 an hour as well as better living conditions. After a succesful first strike they did it again, but this time in Delano where wages were also starting at $1.10 an hour. However, the struggle became a lot harder when the growers were very successful in dividing and creating conflict between Mexican and the Filipino workers.
Larry Itliong and Andy Imutan, leaders of the largely Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), decided to take action by seeing Cesar Chavez, the leader of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). It took several discussions and a lot of faith, but finally the Filipinos and Mexicans joined as one on September 16, to picket the Delano growers. A few months later AWOC and NFWA joined together as the United Farm Workers.