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Why David Sometimes WinsLeadership, Strategy and the Organization in the California Farm Worker Movement$
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Marshall Ganz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162011.001.0001

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New Opportunities, New Initiatives

New Opportunities, New Initiatives

AWOC, Teamsters, and the FWA (1959–1962)

(p.53) Three New Opportunities, New Initiatives
Why David Sometimes Wins

Marshall Ganz

Oxford University Press

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, changes in American political, economic, and social life—and the expectation that the bracero program was in its final days—once again opened a door for organizers bold enough to try unionizing farm workers. This time, the newly merged AFL-CIO acted first by launching the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) in 1959. The Teamsters, recently expelled from the AFL-CIO, initiated their attempt in 1961. The fledgling Farm Workers Association (FWA) launched in 1962. The strategies that the leaders of these efforts devised to challenge the power of California growers could hardly have differed more. These strategic differences were not arbitrary. They grew out of real differences among the people who devised the strategy of each organization and how they worked together to do so. In the years 1959 to 1962, these differences in people and processes influenced the launching of three very different organizing attempts, thus shaping their subsequent development.

Keywords:   farm workers, farm labor organizing, labor unions, California growers

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