Cesar Chavez and the Delano grape strike


September 8th, 1965 set the beginning of one of the most important strikes in American history, The Delano Grape Strike. The three great leaders, Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, and Dolores Huerta led the strike for a lengthy 5 years to raise the pay for farmworkers, give them healthcare, and protection from pesticides. The strike not only helped farmworkers, but would go on to revolutionize the Farm Labor movement in America for years upon end. 

It all began when 2000 Filipino workers decided to stop picking grapes in Bakersfield, California because they felt that they were being treated unfairly. Larry Itliong, a labor organizer, declared a strike on September 8th to combat the unfair wages, terrible working conditions, and the lack of healthcare that he and his fellow Filipino farmworkers were receiving. He asked the National Farm Workers Association and its Mexican-American founders, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to support them in this strike and help them get more benefits for all farmworkers.

The strike lasted for 5 whole years, going through different phases as the years progressed. In 1966, Chavez lead a march from Delano to Sacramento for a total of 340 miles. 2 years later, the workers grew frustrated and spoke of bringing violence into the strike. In hopes of ending the calls for violence, Cesar Chavez decided to go on a hunger strike which lasted for 24 days. This hunger strike not only ended the calls for violence but brought more attention to the strike as well.

In July of 1970, the strike and boycott finally ended were the major growers agreed to raise the pay, give them health care, and give the farmers the right to unionize. The efforts of Cesar Chavez and all of the farmworkers finally paid off in the end and they would continue to change the agricultural industry for the better.