viva-la-huelga

"Viva la Huelga [Long Live the Strike]. Don’t Buy Farah Pants!"

In 1969 male workers from the cutting room voted to affiliate with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA). Organizing soon spread to the rest of Farah’s five El Paso plants. When workers at Farah’s San Antonio plant were fired for joining a union-sponsored march in El Paso, more than 500 of them walked out; El Paso workers followed on May 9, 1972. The strike was quickly declared an unfair-labor-practice strike, and a month later a national boycott of Farah products was begun, endorsed by the AFL-CIO. The strike exacerbated ethnic tensions between Anglos and Hispanics, and split the Hispanic community as well. Striking workers were quickly replaced by workers from El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. But union relief funds, the national boycott, and the Catholic Church all provided important sources of support for the strikers. Strikers acquired skills such as public speaking and organizing activities that brought new groups of people together. The company, its sales badly damaged by the national boycott, was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board in January 1974 to offer reinstatement to the strikers and to permit union organizing. In February Willie Farah recognized the ACWA as the bargaining agent for the Farah employees. The 1974 union contract included pay increases, job security and seniority rights, and a grievance procedure.