25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

April 25, 2022

April 28, 1997

WATSONVILLE, California — A crowd of 25,000 farm workers, trade unionists, and youth marched here April 13 in support of the United Farm Workers effort to organize this state’s 20,000 strawberry pickers.

The union is targeting the large growers, such as the Monsanto-controlled Gargiulo Inc., which has 1,000 workers on its 500 acres. Also targeted are the cooler companies, which control virtually all the marketing for the industry.

The United Farm Workers is demanding a living wage, clean drinking water and bathrooms in the fields, job security, health insurance coverage, and an end to sexual harassment of female farm workers.

With the strawberry season getting underway, and building on the momentum generated by the outpouring of support, the UFW is sending organizers into the fields to sign up new members.

April 28, 1972

LOS ANGELES — The Reagan administration and its supporters have opened a massive campaign to restore capital punishment in California.

Of the 158 Californians sent to the gas chambers 1943-1963, fully 50 percent were unskilled workers. Their median age was 31. While Blacks make up 7 percent of California’s population, they constituted 23 percent of those executed.

“There are no capitalists behind bars in California, no oil company executives doing time after the oil spills in San Francisco and Santa Barbara. The killers of George Jackson still rule in San Quentin, never having been brought to trial,” said Laura Moorhead, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress from the 37th C.D. “Every opponent of capital punishment, everyone who values human rights over property rights, must unite to turn back this reactionary, racist offensive.”

April 26, 1947

A roar of protest is labor’s answer to the cheers with which Wall Street’s representatives in the House shoved through the savagely anti-labor Hartley bill. In mighty demonstrations, the American workers are showing that they are in no mood to stand like cattle while Wall Street knocks them down with a legislative sledge hammer.

The day before passage of the measure, 20,000 Chicago packinghouse workers staged a one-hour work stoppage. In New Jersey, the telephone strikers continued their refusal to bow before the state slave-labor bill. The women operators’ resistance helped inspire the demonstrations throughout the country.

On April 22 an estimated 100,000 workers in Iowa, under joint AFL-CIO auspices, stopped work for one day to protest a pending state bill to outlaw the closed shop. In Detroit, 400,000 auto workers plan a stoppage April 24.