TABLE OF CONTENTS
Texas Farm Workers Union Collection, 1977-1980
The Texas Farm Workers Union (TFWU) was established in August 1975 under the leadership of Antonio Orendain. Wanting a union that was accountable to them, a core of Rio Grande Valley farmworkers supported the foundation of the TFWU. From its inception the union had a difficult time. In addition to the opposition of the growers, the union did not gain the support of the United Farm Workers Union or the AFL-CIO. With little or no funding, the union resorted to "hit-and run" strike tactics to make its point. Despite the financial problems it faced, the TFWU was able to focus the media spotlight on the plight of farmworkers. They campaigned for the establishment of a Texas Agricultural Board and the right of farmworkers to vote on union representation, but legislation died in subcommittee. In late February 1977 union members started a 420-mile march from San Juan to Austin. It ended on April 2 at the state capitol building. To gain more public support for their cause, Orendain led forty union members on a historical 1,600-mile march from Austin to Washington, DC. The journey started on June 18, 1977 and ended at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on September 5, 1977. Unable to maintain firm financial backing, the union continued to have a sporadic existence until its demise in the mid-1980s.
This collection is separated into four series: correspondence of Antonio Orendain; publications, including newsclippings; audiovisual materials; and memorabilia. In addition to the correspondence of TFWU labor organizer Orendain, the collection includes promotional materials such as the newspaper El Cuhamil, a half-hour film titled Los Trabajadores Agricolas de Tejas, and several phonodiscs of songs for TFWU written by Esteban Jordan. Other items found in this collection are posters, buttons, bumper stickers, and banners.
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Cite as: Texas Farm Workers Union Collection, Benson Latin American Collection, University Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.