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Filipino American Farmworker History Timeline

1890s

1900s

  • December 25, 1904: Philip Vera Cruz is born in Saog, Ilocos, Philippines  (Scharlin, Craig. Philip vera Cruz: A Personal History of Filipino Immigrants and the      Farmworkers Movement. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1994)

  • 1907: Recruited by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA), Filipinos begin migrating to Hawaii in large numbers to work on its sugar plantations. (“A History of Filipino Immigration to the U.S. and Current Trends.”  Ang Katipunan, September 1979.  Linda Mabalot Collection.)

1910s

  • February 1910: Pablo Manlapit arrives in Honolulu, Hawaii (Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

  • October 25, 1913: Larry Dulay Itliong is born in San Nicolas, Pangasinan Province, Philippines. (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967)

  • August 31, 1919: The Filipino Labor Union (FLU) is formed in Honolulu, with Filipino leaders Pablo Manlapit elected as president and Pedro Esqueras as treasurer (Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

1920s

  • January 1920: Japanese and Filipino plantation workers in Oahu, Hawaii, led by Filipino labor leader Pablo Manlapit, strike to raise their wages and get breaks during the work day. (Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement; Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf))

  • April - September 1924: In Hawaii, Filipino plantation laborers organize and participate in a massive strike against sugar growers.  The strike violently culminated in the infamous “Hanapepe Massacre” during which police killed many Filipino workers and subsequently blacklisted thousands of others, including Pablo Manlapit.  (“A History of Filipino Immigration to the U.S. and Current Trends.”  Ang Katipunan, September 1979.  Linda Mabalot Collection; Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement; Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

  • September 1924: Pablo Manlapit is found guilty of conspiracy in the first degree and later sentenced to imprisonment and hard labor for two to ten years (Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

  • 1926: Philip Vera Cruz enters the United States in Seattle, Washington (“Philip Vera Cruz Oral History Transcript, Interview 1” and “Philip Vera Cruz Oral History Transcript, Interview 2”, 1978, Linda Mabalot Collection)

  • August 23, 1927: Granted parole on the condition that he leave Hawaii, Pablo Manlapit sets sail for Los Angeles, California. (Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

  • April 6, 1929: Larry Itliong enters the United States at Seattle, Washington (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967)

1930s

  • 1930: The Filipino population in the US mainland reaches 45,208.  This represented a 9-fold increase since 1920 when the Filipino population numbered only 5, 603.  In 1930, most of the Filipinos on the US mainland, 60 percent or 27,000, worked in agriculture. (Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998)

  • January 1-23, 1930: Filipino, Mexican and White farmworkers & white packing shed workers go on strike against Imperial Valley’s lettuce growers. The strikers organized the Agricultural Workers’ Industrial League (AWIL).  Allied with the growers, government authorities broke the strike by arresting over 100 workers (“Inter-Racial Labor Solidarity, Welga Exhibit; Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998; Bronfenbrenner, Kate. “Imperial Valley, California, Farmworkers’ Strike of 1930.” DigitalCommons@ILR (1990): 255-256. Accessed August 21, 2015.  http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1562&context=articles)

  • January 1930: Watsonville Riots begins, in which white farmers attacked Filipino farm workers in Watsonville, California. The riots spread across Northern California. (“A History of Filipino Immigration to the U.S. and Current Trends.”  Ang Katipunan, September 1979.  Linda Mabalot Collection.)

  • 1933: After the American Federation of Labor refuses to organize a union on their behalf, Filipino lettuce pickers, led by Filipino labor leaders Rufo Canete, D. L. Marcuelo, Tomas Lascetonia, Johnny Estigoy, Nick Losada, and Alfonso Castillo, in the Salinas Valley form the Filipino Labor Union (FLU). (Espiritu, Yen.  Filipino American Lives. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1995; Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement)

  • August 1933: The Filipino Labor Union (FLU) in the Salinas Valley led a one day strike to protest a twenty-cent-an hour wage.  Growers easily put down the strike by bringing in replacement laborers (Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998)

  • March 24, 1934: Passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.  The act effectively excluded Filipinos from immigrating to the United States by subjecting the Philippines to an annual immigration quota of 50. (“A History of Filipino Immigration to the U.S. and Current Trends.”  Ang Katipunan, September 1979.  Linda Mabalot Collection.)

  • August 1934: The Filipino Labor Union (FLU) led Filipino lettuce workers in the Salinas Valley in a strike, extracting concessions of wages of forty cents an hour and recognition as a legitimate farm workers’ union from the lettuce growers. (Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998)

  • October 1934: After returning to Hawaii, Pablo Manlapit is convicted of overcharging an Army Veteran who had asked for his assistance in borrowing money from the US Veterans Bureau.  The courts grant his request to suspend his sentence and place him on probation on the condition that he leaves Hawaii.  He leaves to the Philippines. (Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

  • 1936: The American Federation of Labor charters Field Workers’ Union Local No. 30326, a combined Mexican-Filipino agricultural union (Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998)

  • March 1938: The Filipino Agricultural Laborers Association (FALA is founded by Stockton Asparagus farmworkers. Filipino labor leader Francisco Varona playing a key role in its formation (Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement); Sindel, Julie. “Filipino Farm Labor Organization: A Lesson in Filipino Leadership.”  Journal of the History Students at San Francisco State University, 26 (2006-2007): 161 - 178.  Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://userwww.sfsu.edu/epf/journal_archive/volume_XVI,_2007/sindel_j.pdf

  • April 22, 1939: The Filipino Agricultural Labor Association (FALA) successfully extract concessions of wage increases and union recognition from asparagus growers after staging a strike that paralyzed the asparagus industry (Sindel, Julie. “Filipino Farm Labor Organization: A Lesson in Filipino Leadership.”  Journal of the History Students at San Francisco State University, 26 (2006-2007): 161 - 178.  Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://userwww.sfsu.edu/epf/journal_archive/volume_XVI,_2007/sindel_j.pdf)

1940s

  • 1940: The American Federation of Labor charters the Federal Agricultural Laborers Union, a Filipino union. (Espiritu, Yen.  Filipino American Lives. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1995)

  • 1946: The US immigration quota for the Philippines was adjusted from 50 to 100. (“A History of Filipino Immigration to the U.S. and Current Trends.”  Ang Katipunan, September 1979.  Linda Mabalot Collection.)

  • 1946: Carlos Bulosan publishes his book, America is in the Heart (Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998)

  • 1946: In Hawaii, 28,000 Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, and Hawaiian members of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) go on strike, shutting down 33 of the 34 plantations in Hawaii.  After 79 days, they won decisively, extracting concessions of higher wages and a 40 hour work week from planters (Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 1998).

  • 1948: Filipino labor leaders Larry Itliong, Rudy Delvo, Philip Vera Cruz, and became involved in the asparagus strike in Stockton, California. The strike was led by Chris Mensalvas and Ernesto Mangaoang, members of the ILWU Local 37.(Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement

1950s

  • 1956: Larry Itliong establishes the Filipino Farm Labor Union in Stockton (Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement

  • 1959: Filipinolabor leaders Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and Pete Velasco join with the AFL-CIO to create the Agricultural Workers’ Organizing Committee (AWOC) (Lopez, Angelo.  “Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement.”  Portside, April 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.  http://portside.org/2014-05-12/filipino-americans-and-farm-labor-movement)

  • August 14, 1959: Larry Itliong becomes a naturalized US citizen (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967)

1960s

  • 1960: Larry Itliong joins the Agricultural Workers’ Organizing Committee in Stockton (“Union Organizer Enters Race as People’s Candidate,” 1965, Patty Enrado collection).

  • May 1960: Larry Itliong begins working full-time to build a union for farm workers in Delano (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967).

  • Summer 1965: AWOC members, led by Larry Itliong and Ben Gines, successfully demand a wage increase from Coachella’s table grape growers.

  • September 8, 1965: Filipino AWOC members convened at Delano’s Filipino Community Hall and voted to go on strike against Delano’s table grape growers. This marks the first day of the Delano Grape Strikes. (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967)

  • September 16, 1965: Members of the National Farm Workers’ Association (NFWA) vote to join AWOC in their strike against Delano’s table grape growers (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967)

  • March 17, 1966: Members of AWOC and NFWA set out on a march from Delano to Sacramento (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967; Imutan, Andy. “What Happened When Mexicans and Filipinos Joined Together.” United Farm Workers, December 2005.      http://www.ufw.org/_page.php?menu=research&inc=history/04.html.)

  • July 27, 1966: The National Farm Workers’ Association (NFWA), headed by Caesar Chavez, and the Agricultural Workers’ Organizing Committee (AWOC), headed by Larry Itliong, merges into a single union; the United Farm Workers’ Organizing Committee (UFWOC).  (Fourteenth Report of the Senate Fact-finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, 1967)

  • April 15, 1969: Pablo Manlapit passes away (Kerkvliet, Melinda. “Pablo Manlapit’s Fight for Justice.” Social Process in Hawaii, 33(1991): 153-168. Accessed August 13, 2015. http://efilarchives.org/pdf/social%20process%20vol%2033/kerkvliet_manlapit.pdf)

1970s

  • Early 1970: Larry Itliong appointed as international coordinator for the Grape Boycott

  • 1970: UFWOC signs contract with and is recognized by the growers as a union (“Galedo Lillian Oral History Interview,” 2015, Welga Farmworkers Oral History Collection)

  • 1971: The United Farm Workers’ Organizing Committee official changes its name to the United Farm Workers (UFW) (“Inter-Racial Labor Solidarity, Welga Exhibit)

  • October 1971: Larry Itliong resigns as assistant director of the United Farm Workers’ Organizing Committee (UFWOC) (“UFWOC Assistant Director Resigns,” 1971,Patty Enrado Collection)

  • 1973: UFWOC Grape Strike (“Lorraine Agtang Oral History Interview,” 2014, Welga Farmworker Oral History Collections)

  • April 1973: Construction begins on Agbayani Village, a retirement home for Filipino farm workers involved in the 1965 Grape Strike (“Letter from a Manong,” 1973, Lorraine Agtang Collection)

  • 1974: Agbayani Village opens (“Paulo Agbayani Retirement Village,” Welga exhibit website)

  • Februrary 8, 1977:  Larry Itliong passes away at the age of 63 (Magagnini, Stephen.  “New Light Shed on Pioneering Filipino American.” Sacramento Bee, December 28, 1996.  Accessed August 21, 2015.http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/0EB0462FD7DD0B67?p=AWNB)

  • August 1977: Ferdinand Marcos, Dictator of the Philippines, invites Cesar Chavez to the country. Despite the objections made by Philip Vera Cruz, Chavez visits for three days.

  • August 26, 1977: Philip Vera Cruz announces his resignation at the the 1977 United Farm Workers National Convention. (“Philip Vera Cruz Resigns from UFW,” 1967, UC Davis Asian American Studies files)

1980s-1990s

  • 1980: Pete Velasco is elected  as the Secretary-Treasurer of the UFW.

  • June 1, 1981: ILWU 37 organizers Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes are murdered at Seattle, Washington. The murders are later linked to the Marcos regime

  • June 11, 1994: Philip Vera Cruz passes away at the age of 89 (“Philip Vera Cruz’ Obituary,” 1994, Lorraine Agtang Collection).

  • December 6, 1995: Pete Velasco passes away at the age of 85.

  • 1997: Fred Abad, the last Manong to live in Agbayani Village, passes away (“Paulo Agbayani Retirement Village,” Welga exhibit website)

2000s - Present