Filipino farm workers cutting lettuce, Salinas, California, 1935, Photo by Dorothea Lange

San_Lorenzo, California. Evacuation of farmers of Japanese descent resulted in agricultural labor. Library of Congress

Labor Timeline:

  • 1892: The Geary Act—Extended Exclusion Act for ten years, deported all Chinese not able to prove citizenship.
  • 1893: Economic depression: 580 banks fail in the U.S., 75 in California.
  • 1902: Acute labor shortage in Salinas? sugar beet fields.
  • 1906: First wave of Filipino laborers come to the U.S.
  • 1910: Federal Exclusion Act extends to other Asian and Filipino nationalities.
  • 1924: Growers entice Filipino agricultural workers to come without their families. 
  • 1928: California unemployment reaches 28%.
  • 1929: New York Stock Market crashes, worldwide economic depression begins.
  • 1930:
    • White/Filipino Race Riot, Watsonville,
    • Fermin Tobera murder,
    • Labor organized across California.
  • 1930: Farm prices fall 50%, wages drop accordingly.
  • 1933–1937: Roosevelt’s New Deal programs were enacted.
  • 1934: Filipino Labor Union: Salinas Lettuce Strikes
  • 1935: The Repatriation Act, proposed by Los Angeles County Supervisor, Roger Jessup. The act offered Filipinos an all-expense paid trip back to the Philippines, as long as they did not return to the U.S.
  • 1936: National Labor Relations Act passes Congress.
  • 1936: September: Battle of Salinas Lettuce packer’s strike.
  • 1937: United Cannery and Agricultural Packing and Allied Worked (UCAPAWA) cannery workers’ strike.
  • 1939: Filipino Agricultural Labor Association conducted a strike in Stockton.
  • 1946: Filipino and Indians allowed to become naturalized citizens.
  • 1946: India and the Philippines given immigration quotas by U.S.
  • 1957: Filipino farm workers from the Agricultural Workers Organzing Committee (AWOC) in Coachella Valley and affiliate with the AFL-CIO
  • 1965: AWOC strikes ranches in Coachella, then, they migrate north to Delano and strike at 10 ranches. They are joined by Cesar Chavez’s union, NFWA, and the strike spreads to 48 ranches. 
  • 1966:
    • Two unions, one largely Filipino and the other largely Mexican -American, hold a pilgrimage from Delano to Sacramento. 
    • AWOC and Cesar Chavez’s union, the National Farm Workers merge to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO. 

Key Persons and Families

Books and References

Anderson, Burton. The Salinas Valley: A History of America’s Salad Bowl. Monterey County Historical Society. 2000.

Add on-line reference for labor timeline.