Immigrants, Radicals, and the AFL (1900–1959)
From 1900 to 1950, three waves of attempts at organizing farm workers failed to win a single multiyear contract, establish a sustainable farm workers union, or reform the rules governing the farm labor market. At each of those moments, ethnic labor associations, radical networks, and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) were involved, but in competition rather than collaboration. Recognizing their limited ability to challenge growers on their turf, labor leaders learned that no matter how well organized they were locally, they often had to win outside support to make even short-term gains.
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