September 28's Fact of the Day

A prominent Filipino American labor organizer and activist pioneer, Larry Dulay Itliong immigrated to the United States in 1929 as one of about 50,000 Filipino laborers recruited by agricultural farm owners in California and Hawaii as cheap labor. However, once in the United States, many Filipinos found below par living and working conditions and mistreatment. The following year, he joined his first strike with lettuce pickers. Itliong’s involvement in labor activism in the 1930s from leading a workers’ union in Alaskan canneries to organizing strikes throughout the West Coast emerged as precursors to leading the pivotal 1965 Delano grape strike. The strike not only resulted in higher wages, medical plans, clinics, and a daycare center and school, but also a breath of inspiration - symbolic of courage as 1,500 Filipino laborers manned picket lines and held the strike in protest for better conditions. Lasting influences of the strike in subsequent years inspired the Third World student strikes for ethnic studies in California.