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Full text of "Migrant and seasonal farmworker powerlessness. Hearings, Ninety-first Congress, first and second sessions .."

AMHERST COLLEGE 



310212 3111 4569 2 

POWERLESSNESS 



:asonal farmworker 



HEARINGS 

BSFORB THB 

SUBCOMMinEE ON MIGEATOEY LABOE 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON 

LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE 

UNITED STATES SENATE 

NINETY-FIRST CONGRESS 

riRST AND SECOND SESSIONS 
ON 

WHO ARE THE MIGRANTS? 

JUNE 9 AND 10, 1969 



PART 1 



Printed for the use of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare 




MIGRANT AND SEASONAL FARMWORKER 
POWERLESSNESS 



HEARINGS 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON MIGEATOEY LABOE 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON 

LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE 

UNITED STATES SENATE 

NINETY-FIRST CONGRESS 

FIRST AND SECOND SESSIONS 
ON 

WHO ARE THE MIGRANTS? 

JUNE 9 AND 10, 1969 



PART 1 



Printed for the use of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare 




U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
36-513 WASHINGTON : 1970 



COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE 
RALPH YARBOROUGH, Texas, Chairman 
JENNINGS RANDOLPH, West Virginia JACOB K. JAVITS, New York 

HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, Jr., New Jersey WINSTON L. PROUTY, Vermont 
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island PETER H. DOMINICK, Colorado 

EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts GEORGE MURPHY, California 

GAYLORD NELSON, Wisconsin RICHARD S. SCHWEIKER, Pennsylvania 

WALTER F. MONDALE, Minnesota WILLIAM B. SAXBB, Ohio 

THOMAS F. EAGLETON, Missouri HENRY BELLMON, Oklahoma 

ALAN CRANSTON, California 
HAROLD E. HUGHES, Iowa 

Robert O. Harris, Staff Director 

John S. Forsxthe, Oeneral Counsel 

Rot H. Millenson, Minority Staff Director 

Eugene Mittelman, Minority Counsel 



Subcommittee on Migratory Labor 
WALTER F. MONDALE, Minnesota, Chairman 
HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, Jr., New Jersey WILLIAM B. SAXBE, Ohio 
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts GEORGE MURPHY, California 

ALAN CRANSTON. California RICHARD S. SCHWEIKER, Pennsylvaniai 

HAROLD E. HUGHES, Iowa HENRY BELLMON, Oklahoma 

BoREN Chertkov, Counsel 

A. Sidney Johnson, Professional Staff Member 

Eugene Mittelman, Minority Counsel 

(H) 



Format or Hearings on Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker 

P0"WERLESSNESS 

The Subcommittee on Migratory Labor conducted public hearings 
in Washington, D.C. during the 91st Congress on "Migrant and 
Seasonal Farmworker Powerlessness." These hearings are contained 
in the following parts : 

Subject matter Hearing dates 

Part 1 : Who are the Migrants? June 9 and 10, 1969 

Part 2 : The Migrant Subculture July 28, 1969 

Part 3-A : Efforts to Organize July 15, 1969 

Part 3-B : Efforts to Organize July 16 and 17, 1969 

Part 4 : Farmworker Legal Problems Aug. 7 and 8, 1969 

Part 5 : Border Commuter Labor Problem May 21 and 22, 1969 

Part 6 : Pesticides and the Farmworker Aug. 1, Sept. 29 and 30, 1969 

Part 7 : Manpower and Economic Problems Apr. 14 and 15, 1970 

Additional hearings are tentatively scheduled by the Subcommittee 
during the second session, 91st Congress. 



au> 



CONTENTS 



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF WITNESSES 

Monday June 9, 1969 

Silverstein, Morton, National Educational Television, New York City, 
producer of "What Harvest for the Reaper"; Don M. Dixon, director 
of puljlic affairs program, National Educational Television; Alvin Perl- 
mutter, executive producer, NET; and Rev. Arthur Bryant, pastor, 
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, participant in "What Harvest for the Pa«« 
Reaper," Greenport, N.Y 4 

Dixon, Don M., director, public affairs programs, National Educational 

Television 16 

Bryant, Rev. Arthur, pastor, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Greenport, 
N.Y. ; vice chairman, Suffolk County Human Relations Commission; 
chairman, Southold Town VISTA Project 27 

Juarez, Rudolfo, of Okeechobee, Fla 92 

Krueger, Mrs. Esther Guevara, migrant worker, of Pharr, Tex 102 

Tuesday, June 10, 1969 

Pebeahsy, Frank, Comanche Indian, accompanied by Mrs. Pebeahsv, 

Cache, Okla 115 

Villanueva, Thomas A., director, United Farm Workers Cooperative, 

Inc., Toppenish, Wash 117 

Boone, Elijah, Pahokee, Fla.; and Newlon Lloyd, Opa Locka, Fla 171 

Pebeahsy, Frank, Comanche Indian, accompanied by Mrs. Pebeahsy — 

Recalled 200 

STATEMENTS 

Boone, Elijah, Pahokee, Fla.; and Newlon Lloyd, Opa Locka, Fla 171 

Prepared statement of Newlon Lloyd 179 

Bryant, Rev. Arthur, pastor, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Greenport, 
N.Y. ; vice chairman, Suffolk County Human Relations Commission; 

chairman, Southold Town VISTA project 27 

Prepared statement 50 

Dixon, Don M., director, public affairs programs, National Educational 

Television 16 

Governor's committee statement to review New York State laws and 
procedures dealing with human rights, December 4, 1967, by Rev. 
Arthur C. Bryant, vice chairman and migrant committee chairman of 
the Suffolk County Human Relations Commission 65 

Juarez, Rudolfo, of Okeechobee, Fla 92 

Krueger, Mrs. Esther Guevara, migrant worker, of Pharr, Tex 102 

Pebeahsy, Frank, Comanche Indian, accompanied by Mrs. Pebeahsy, 

Cache, Okla 115 

Prepared statement 116 

Pebeahsy, Frank, Comanche Indian, accompanied by Mrs. Peheahsy — 

Recalled 200 

Silverstein, Morton, National Educational Television, New York City, 
producer of "What Harvest for the Reaper"; Don M. Dixon, director of 
public affairs program, National Educational Television; Alvin Perl- 
mutter, executive producer, NET; and Rev. Arthur Bryant, pastor, 
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, participant in "What Harvest for the 
Reaper," Greenport, N.Y 4 

(V) 



VI 

Villanueva, Thomas A., director, United Farm Workers Cooperative, Page 

Inc., Toppenish, Wash 117 

Prepared statement 162 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

Articles, publications, and so forth.: 

"A Vanishing Breed — Time Changes the Migrants' Lot," by Michael 

Alonge, from Sunday News, New Yorlc, N.Y., May 25, 1969 90 

"Assembly OK's Migrant Farm Wage," by Dick Zander, Newsday 

political writer, from Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., April 17, 1969__ 84 

"Commission OK's Report," from the Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N.Y., 

November 2, 1967 64 

"Controversy — Rights Board Verdict Awaited," by Patricia Carroll, 

Sun staff writer, from the Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N.Y 89 

"Farm Co-op To Evict State Day-Care Center," by Ray Larsen, from 

Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., September 10, 1966 61 

"Farmworkers Plight," editorial from the Long Island Catholic, 

Thursday, April 17, 1969 119, 165 

"Fruit Rancher Burns Last of Cabins for Migrant Laborers," from 

Yakima (Wash.) Herald, May 29, 1969 18 

"Harvev Aronson — 'A 20th Century Form of Slaver}^,' " from News- 
day, Long Island, N.Y., November 21, 1968 69 

"Human Rights Panel Officials To Urge Migrant Changes," by Jim 

Toedtmau, from Newsdaj^, Long Island, N.Y., December 4, 1967__ 64 
"L.I. Hopes To Give Sea Legs to Farmworkers," bv Francis X. Clines, 

from the New York Times, Monday, February 14, 1966 60 

"L.I.'s Migrant Farmworker: Beaten, Exploited, Afraid," from the 

Long Island Press, Decembers, 1965 59 

*'L.I. Migrant Workers Still Living in Squalor," from Long Island 

(N.Y.) Press, April 28, 1969 86 

"Migrant Farmworkers in the State of Washington," by Consulting 

Services Corp., Seattle, Wash., and St. Paul, Minn 125 

"Migrant Living Conditions," by A. Ludlow Kramer, chairman. 

Urban Affairs Council, Washington 153 

Migrancy report of Suffolk Relations Commission to Suffolk Board 

of Supervisors 87 

"Migration to Misery," from the Congressional Record, November 4, 

1969 304 

Recommendations of Consulting Services Corp., survey— Migrant 

farmworkers in the State of Washington 146 

"Report of the Yakima Valley Project," by Charles E. Ehlert, Amer- 
ican Civil Liberties Union, Smith Tower, Seattle, Wash., March 

1969 221 

"Return to Harvest of Shame," from the Congressional Record 

February 6, 1968 70 

"State Units Probe L.I. Migrant's Death," bv Jim Toedtman, from 

Newsdav, Long Island, N.Y., April 11, 1969 83 

"TV: Exploitation, 1968— Recruitment of Migratory Workers for 

Long Island Harvests Results in New Slaverv," by Jack Gould, 

from the New York Times, February 6, 1968 _ I 71 

"Task Force Urged Migrant Ban Proposed for Suffolk," by Peter 

Kramer, from the Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N. Y., October 16, 1969. 63 

"Tender Toes," from Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N.Y 90 

"The Migrant Labor Problem — Workers, Farmers Air Views," by 

Antoinette Bosco, from the Long Island (N.Y.) Catholic, Thursday, 

April 1, 1969 82 

"The Shame of the Vallev," by James Halpin, from Seattle, May 

1968 1 156 

"Three Laborers Killed in East End Blaze," by Joe Demma and 

George DeWan, from Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., January 15, 

1968 68 

"Trailers for Migrants OK'd on R'head Farms," from Newsday, 

Long Island, N.Y., April 5, 1967 62 

"VISTA Brightens L.I. Migrant Camp," by Francis X. Clines, from 

the New York Times, Thursday, December 23, 1965 58 



VII 

Articles, publications — Continued 

"What Harvest for the Reaper" (a complete transcript of National P^&e 
Educational Television's NET Journal) 5 

"Why Do I Go Around in Circles?" by Rev. Arthur C. Bryant 72 

Communications to — • 

Brydges, Senator Earl, chairman, rules committee, the Capitol, Al- 
bany, N.Y., from Arthur Bryant, vice chairman, Suffolk County 
Human Relations Commission, Hauppague, N.Y., April 20, 1969_. 86 

Durea, Hon. Perry B., speaker of the assembly, Albany, N.Y., from 
Arthur Bryant, vice chairman, Suffolk County Human Relations 
Commission, Hauppague, N.Y., April 20, 1969 86 

Evans, Hon. Daniel J., Office of the Governor, legislative building, 
Olympia, Wash., from Washington Agricultural Producers Council, 
and Washington State Fruit Commission, November 6, 1967 149 

Long, Mr. John E., consultant, manpower and training. New York 
Office of Economic Opportunity, New York, N.Y., from Arthur C. 
Bryant, December 18, 1968 76 

Martocchia, Hon. Albert M., supervisor, town of Southold, N.Y., 
from Mrs. James H. Reutersham, area representative for commun- 
ity problems, American Association of University Women, New 
York State Division, Amagansett, N.Y., May 14, 1969 88 

Mondale, Hon. Walter F., a U.S. Senator from the State of jNIinnesota, 
from Morton Silverstein, producer, "Public Affairs", National Edu- 
cational Television, New York, N.Y., July 14, 1969 25 

The joint legislative committee on migrant labor, Assembh'man 
Steven Grecco, chairman ; State Senator William C. Thompson, vice 
chairman, from Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, vice chairman and mi- 
grant chairman of the Suffolk County Human Relations Commis- 
sion, chairman of the Southold Town Economic Opportunities 

Committee and of the VISTA subcommittee Dec, 11, 1967 66 

Excerpts from hearings before the Select Committee on Nutrition and 
Human Needs of the U.S. Senate, 90th Congress, first session, and 91st 
Congress, first session, on nutrition and human needs 323 



MIGRANT AND SEASONAL FARMWORKER 
POWERLESSNESS 

WHO ARE THE MIGRANTS? 



MONDAY, JUNE 9, 1969 

U.S. Sexate. 
Subcommittee on Migr^vtory Labor 
OF THE Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, 

W ashington^ D.C. 

The subcommittee met at 9 : 40 a.m., pursuant to call, in room 4232, 
']Srew Senate Office Buildino-, Senator Walter F. Mondale (chairman of 
the subcommittee) presiding. 

Present: Senators Mondale (presidino-), Saxbe, Bellmon, and 
Schweiker. 

Committee statf members present : Eobert O. Harris, staff director 
of full coimnittee ; Boren Chertkov, majority counsel to the subcom- 
mittee; A. Sidney Johnson, professional staff member to the subcom- 
mittee ; and Eugene Mittelman, minority counsel. 

Senator Mondale. The Subcommittee on Migratory Labor will come 
to order. 

This morning the subcommittee begins its second set of hearings on 
migrant and seasonal farm labor problems in the United States. The 
theme for the entire series of hearings is powerlessness. The subcom- 
mittee is examining the depth of powerlessness among migrants, and 
the reasons for this powerlessness. 

These hearings are designed to explore the extent to which migrant 
workers are powerless to influence decisions in both their home base 
communities and in so-called user States. The subcommittee is exam- 
ining the degree to which, and the ways in which, migrant and seasonal 
farmworkers are deprived of political power, deprived of economic 
power, deprived of cultural identity or pride, deprived of rights and 
privileges that most Americans take for granted. 

Our first set of hearings revealed the harmful impact of the bor- 
der commuter labor problem on migratory and seasonal farmworkers 
specifically, and explained part of the social and economic depriva- 
tion — and 1:he powerlessness — faced by migrants. 

We learned how the migrant and seasonal farmworker is often 
powerless to affect his own unemployment and underemployment, pow- 
erless to fight job displacement, powerless in union or community 
organization efforts to improve his depressed living and working 
conditions, in the face of thousands of campesinos coming across the 
l)order every morning from Mexico into Texas, Arizona, and Cali- 
fornia to work in our fields. 

(1) 



In tills week's hearings the subcommittee continues its inquiry into 
powerlessness by having migrant and former migrant farmworkers 
tell their own story. These people not only see their problems, but 
they live with their problems every day. 

Clearly, the real story of the migrant, why he mi,grates, and his 
plight, is best told by those who are, or have been, migrant workers. 

Some may have difficulty expressing themselves although they above 
all know the condition of their lives. This also reflects upon the is- 
sue of powerlessness. Often, however, out of their suffering and de- 
privation come an eloquence and clarity not to be heard elsewhere. 
Often unschooled, and always unable to hire lawyers or public rela- 
tions men, or "ghosts," they must speak for themselves. 

Wiat is important is that they are still talking, still trying to 
make a wealthy nation aware of the poverty of their lives. Theirs 
is the rhetoric of faith and reform. Will we listen and respond? 
Or, will we see, as we have seen in far to many other instances, that the 
leaders of restraint will be replaced by the voices of despair and 
demolition ? 

This will not be the first time that an efiort has been made to have 
migrant farmworkers themselves tell their own story. Ten years ago, 
the television documentary "Harvest of Shame" was produced. In 
this film migrants themselves vividly told their own story — -their 
hunger, sickness, inadequate education, poor housing, underemploy- 
ment, low pay was brought to our living rooms. 

Just last year a similar documentary entitled "What Harvest for 
the Eeaper" was produced. It included many scenes from the same 
geographical areas as those in "Harvest of Shame." 

At our hearings this week the top staff personnel involved in the 
production of one of these films will testify. We will explore with 
them the extent to which the conditions of migrant workers have im- 
proved — if at all — and the reasons for any improvement or lack of 
improvement that has occurred. 

Following this week's hearings, the subcommittee will hold hearings 
on a number of other subject areas that will further define and de- 
scribe the problem of migrant and seasonal farmworker powerlessness. 

In mid-July the subcommittee intends to examine community and 
union organization efforts of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and 
to explore why those efforts have either succeeded or failed. 

Later in July, Dr. Robert Coles, a Harvard psychiatrist, is scheduled 
to testify on the formation of what he defines as a migrant subculture. 
The political, economic, social, and cultural facts that affect the lives 
of migrants, their activities, their view of themselves in relation to 
others around them, and the assumptions they make about the world, 
will be studied. 

The subcommittee also plans to hold hearings to determine the 
effects of pesticides on farmworkers. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wis- 
consin has brought the public's attention to the dangerous use of 
pesticides, and the effects that pesticides have on our Nation's environ- 
ment and population. We need to knoAv : 



What are the short and long range effects, if any, of the nse of 
pesticides on farmworkers who apply them, or Avork in the fields soon 
after they have been applied : 

Whether in view of increasing- production, and the proliferation of 
various new pesticides, adequate funds are being devoted to researck 
on occupational hazards to farmworkers ; 

What the results of a National Cancer Institute major study of 
lymphomas, leukemia, and car'^inogenic qualities in some. 50 widely 
used pesticides reveal ; and, 

What Government programs exist for protection of the farmworker 
from pesticides and whether they are adequately funded and enforced ? 

Questions such as these must be explored to gain a full understand- 
ing of the special problems which pesticides may have for migrant 
and seasonal farmworkers. 

The subcommittee also plans to hold hearings designed to examine 
the legal problems and barriers faced by migrant and seasonal farm- 
workers. 

Attorneys with an intimate knowledge of the practice of law in rural 
areas will be called on to discuss the legal problems they confront, and 
the legal services that are unavailable to migrant and seasonal farm- 
workers. 

The subcommittee's investigation will extend to legal problems that 
may be encountered in the coverage of farmworkers under social and 
worker benefit programs, in the administration of justice in rural areas, 
and in the exercise of civil rights. 

Also, specific legal problems such as enforcement of local. State and 
Federal laws and codes, access to farm labor camps, peonage, use of 
pesticides, residence requirements as barriers to voting and participa- 
tion in the political process, and licensing and inspection programs. 

Additionally, possible roles of the attorney in helping to overcome 
migrant and seasonal farmworker powerlessness will be studied, with 
emphasis on the need, if any, for supportive assistance through legal 
service programs that aid the powerless in their relationships with 
various elements of the rural community. 

After the Senate recess scheduled for August, we intend to explore 
the nature and scope of the rural employment and manpower prob- 
lem ; the limitations of current Government ser^dce programs, and so- 
cial and worker benefit programs; and finally, what is the future of 
migrant and seasonal farmworkers. 

Today we continue this series of hearings on powerlessness: and we 
begin with a discussion of the problems by the producers of televi- 
sion documentaries and by migrants and former migrants themselves. 

We have a very interesting panel this morning and I would ask Mr. 
Silverstein, Mr. Dixon and Mr. Perlmutter to come to the witness table. 
They are here along with Eeverend Bryant of Greenport, N.Y. 

Mr. Silverstein, would 3'ou explain what we are about to see. 



STATEMENT OF MORTON SILVERSTEIN, NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL 
TELEVISION, NEW YORK CITY, PRODUCER OF "WHAT HARVEST 
FOR THE REAPER"; DON M. DIXON, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AF- 
FAIRS PROGRAMS, NET; ALVIN PERLMUTTER, EXECUTIVE PRO- 
DUCER, NET; AND REV. ARTHUR BRYANT, PASTOR, ST. PETER'S 
LUTHERAN CHURCH, PARTICIPANT IN "WHAT HARVEST FOR 
THE REAPER," GREENPORT, N.Y. 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN, Yes, I would he most happy to. 

We thank you first of all for invitincj us here today. I am Morton 
Silverstein, the writer-producer of National Educational Television's 
production of "What Harvest for the Reaper r' 

Xext to me is Rev. Arthur Bryant of the Suffolk County Human 
Relations Commission. To his left is Mr. Donald Dixon, director of 
NET public affairs; and Mr. Alvin H. Perlmutter, NET executive 
producer, all of whom were instrumental in the production and telecast 
of this documentary. 

In the summer of 1067, a film unit of National Educational Tele- 
vision was assigned to investig-ate what changes, if any, had occurred 
in the lives of migrant workers since Edward R. Murrow's CBS docu- 
mentary, "Harvest of Shame," was first broadcast in 1960. 

We decided to examine a single camp and a single group of work- 
ers — from recruiting stage in Arkansas to ultimate disillusionment 
in Long Island— in order to delineate their lives and working condi- 
tions. 

The camp, indeed was called by State officials, "better than average" 
among New York State labor camps. 

We followed the workers from Forrest City, Ark., on the long bus 
ride to Cutchogiie, Long Island, and then filmed a complete agricultural 
season — from strawberry picking in June to potato harvesting and 
grading in November. You will see some of this filmed record today. 

Permit me this additional statement : The theme of this hearing, as 
I understand it, is the powerlessness of the migrant worker. 

You can provide him with that power. 

He is often voiceless. 

Television can provide him with that voice. 

But beyond this, we in television feel a sense of frustration. For, 
once an act of original sin has been exposed, all too often there is 
merely an initial hue and cry, perhaps some token reform — but rarely 
a permanent remedy. This, if I may say so, is the obligation of the 
Congress, at the impetus of this committee. 

Following tlie ]')resentation of sections of "What Harvest for the 
Reaper?", which you have kindly invited us to show, Mr. Dixon and 
Mr. Perlmutter will address themselves to television's search and com- 
mitment — in using the documentary as an instrument of reform, and 
the Rev. Arthur Bryant will cite the changes, however inadequate, 
which have occurred in Suffolk County and elsewhere since our 1968 
telecast. 

There is little I would like to add to what has been expressed in this 
film, except to again quote the words of a migrant worker spoken 
during the agony of that summer. 



Keferring to his work, to his life, he said: "All we get is dust for 
blood." 

And now, with your permission, we would like to present a brief 
series of segments from NET Journars "'What Harvest for the 
Reaper?" 

Thank you very much, gentlemen. 

Because time is of the essence, yours and most particularly that of 
the migrant worker himself, I Avoukl like to get on Avith the film 
presentation. 

Following the film segments my colleag-ues will have additional 
statements to make. 

Senator Mondale. This is the showing of the film prepared by Na- 
tional Educational Television entitled, "What Harvest for the 
Reaper r- 

AVhen was this produced ? 

Mr. SiLATKSTEiK. This was filmed during the summer and fall and 
winter of 1967. We tliought we would give a complete agricultural 
cycle of a single migrant labor camp. 

What you see today are segments of the fihn. There will be little 
short pieces of the leader which will indicate that we have taken them 
somewhat m sequence from the film itself. 

This is a half-hour distillation of a 1-hour document. 

Senator Mondale. Very well. 

Thank you. For purposes of our record, we will insert at this point 
a full text of the documentai'A'. 

(The text of "What Harvest for the Reaper ?" follows :) 

"What Harvest for the Reapek?" 
a complete teanscript of national educational television's net journal 

[This hour-loug documentary studies the exploited migrant worker at a single 
labor camp in Cutchogue, Long Island, during an entire agricultural season. 
Recruited from such Southern backwaters as Forrest City, Arkansas, the migrant 
makes the trip North only to find himself the vassal of an economic system he left 
behind. His mean life in the camp, his wearying days in the fields, and his con- 
tinuing indebtedness to the opportunistic crew chief are documented in the pro- 
gram. The positions of farmers, potato processors, and others who benefit from 
migrant labor are also presented here.] 

Produced and written by, Morton Silverstein ; executive producer, A. H. Perl- 
mutter; narrator, Philip Sterling; type of recording, videotape; length, sixty 
minutes. 

This is a 1968 production of National Educational Television. 

Narrator. The following program is from NET, the National Educational 
Television Network. 

The chronicle begins here in a parched, bloodless, cotton-bankrupt Southern 
town, with a crew chief, Andrew Anderson, seeking to recruit migrant labor 
to work the potato rich crops of eastern Long Island in New York. 

Recruiter. Is there anything going on for you to do? I'm trying to recruit some 
guys to go to New York and work for a little while. 

Man. Going to New York? 

Recruiter. Yeah, about eight weeks. 

Man. Y'eah, well, I don't know nobody. 

Recruiter. If you see anybody interested in going, tell them to contact Ander- 
son, Andrew Anderson on Water Street. 

Man. Okay. 

Recruiter. My boss will be sitting down there so they can contact and there 
will be somebody there to take the name. And you'll do that. 

Man. Yeah. 



ii 

Recruiter. You fellows already got a suitcase. All you've got to do is get on my 
bus. 

Man. Yeah. 

Recruiter. I'm trying to find some men who want to go to New York and work 
for a while. You know anybody interested in going, tell them to contact me. Okay. 
You know Henry DeFrance? 

Man. Yeah, 

Recruiter. You know him don't you. He's up there. 

Man. He's up there? Where does he work? 

Recruiter. He works as a grader over there. So, if you see anybody, you tell 
them to check. I'm going to leave tomorrow evening. 

Man. Tomorrow evening, okay. 

Recruiter. Yup. I'd appreciate that. Okay. 

Man. Yeah. 

Recruiter. Would you be interested in going off for eight weeks? 

Man. About eight weeks? 

Recruiter. The first of December, that's when my job ends. 

I don't rest — tomorrow. I've got about forty boys from here and there around, 
and Parkin. 

Man. I never have any money to go there. 

Recruiter. No, that's one thing. I'm getting you up there on credit. You see. 

If I don't get you a job, they'll bring you back on credit. Now, I've got to have a 
job for you haven't I. I sure don't want to feed you and you're not going to work. 
Isn't that right, Cleo. 

See if I were going to do that then Cleo would be ready to go. 

What's your name? 

Man. David. 

Recruiter. David. What's your last name? 

Man. Brandon— B-R-A-N-D-0-N. 

Recruiter. Is many people out of work here now? 

Man. Yeah man. 

RECRxnTER. They need something to do ? 

Man. Yeah. 

Recruiter. This would help Santa Glaus, you see, if they go up and work until 
the first of December and make 'em four or five hundred dollars. They tell me 
that's where Santa Glaus come by, you know. 

Man. Yeah, that's about . . . 

Recruiter. You know, in any situation. You're Santa Glaus ain't you? You're 
Santa Glaus now ? 

Man. Yeah. 

Recruiter. You don't get no finances, you don't have no Santa Glaus huh? 

Man. Yeah, for about eighteen years. 

Recruiter. I'll look and see what I can find out for you. 

Narrator. The next night, six more men had been induced to make the journey 
north. Some with the help of the Arkansas State Employment Service. 

They had been promised good wages, steady work and such creature comforts 
as decent housing, shower facilities and what is called a centrally located restau- 
rant on the grounds of the labor camp. 

Their guide for the 1800 mile trip will be crew leader Anderson. His charge is 
thirty dollars. Since none can now afford it, they are in debt to Andrew Anderson 
before the trip begins. 

The bus marked "special" will take them away, from the indifferent towns 
of Arkansas, past the county seats of Tennessee into the Virginias, then over 
hundreds of miles of sterile highway that bypass great mountains of hard- 
breaking sunsets, until ultimately they reach Gutchogue, Long Island. 

Earlier in the season, Gutchogue was a vacation resort, one of the prides of 
Long Island North Fork. The prim town is resplendent with schools, churches 
and old homes. It also has a migrant labor camp. 

Even back in June at the beginning of the season, the labor camp bore the 
scars of endless summers past. One of 89 camps in Suffolk Gounty, it is con- 
sidered better than most by local officials. 

Anderson. Alright let's go. 

Narrator. On his morning rounds, Andrew Anderson wakes up Gharlie White, 
one of 21,000 migrant workers in New York State, whose circumstances are 
similar to a half million migrants throughout the United States. 



Charlie White's weekly pay averages $47.00. From this he must pay a weekly 
Tent of five dollars, a fuel charge of two dollars and a blanket fee of five dollars. 

Although there was a fire at this camp several years ago which took the lives 
of two workers, this room is not fire-proof. The New York State code requires 
fire-proofing for buildings housing at least fifteen men ; only fourteen live in 
this area. 

Anderson. Get up man. Get out and get this camp in shape. 

Narrator. The multiple occupancy dorms labeled "bull pens" by the workers 
are claimed to be fire-resistant by the farmer owners. 

As to actual living space, the New York State code says that if a double- 
deck bunk is used in such an area, there shall be at least twenty square feet of 
floor area for each man. For non-migrants, the code insists on eighty square 
feet. It goes on to say that every bunk, bed, cot, or bunk spring, mattress or 
pillow shall be in good condition, and every sheet and blanket shall be clean. 

The men here pay the same as Charlie White for rent, fuel and blankets. 
Throughout the season, almost 100 men will use this bathroom facility. Suffolk 
County officials have managed to amend the State law to outlaw outhouses. 

Later in the season, 36 men will have to use a single bathroom. The farmers 
were outraged by a County violation report. They claimed that only 25 men 
had to use it. All meals are served at the Dixie Belle Tavern. The centrally 
located restaurant. In charge of the food concession is Mrs. Andrew Anderson. 
Breakfast is eighty-five cents. Usually consisting of a sausage bowl, rice, hominy 
grits, and an occasional egg. 

Since the workers rarely have cash on hand, every charge is on credit to 
be deducted from the paychecks at the end of the week. 

The bus takes them into their field work every morning. Roundtrip is $1.25, 
payable to Andrew Anderson, except when the farmers transport them in them- 
selves, riding them out in pickup trucks ; at six a.m. this bus is almost ready 
to roll. 

Anderson. Dave Johnson, Louis Willy, Richard Addison, Fromm, LeRoy 
•Carter, Feeley, Antonio. 

Man. He's already up there. 

Anderson. Who do I have in there? 

Narrator. If the work is slow, as it frequently is, or if the men are not 
favorites of the crew chief, they stay behind incurring the debts of daily exist- 
ence. The number three crop in Long Island is strawberries, harvested from 
June to August. The migrants make ten cents for every quart they pick. 

The work is called stoop labor for obvious reasons. 

Daily records are kept via paper chits. For every quart, a chit worth a dime 
to be returned at the end of the day, duly noted, paid at week's end. 

The land belongs to one of the farmers who owns the labor camp, William 
Lindsay. 

Auctioneer. . . . (unintelligible — ^auctioneering) How much? 

Narrator. Farmer Lindsay's strawberries yield close to two hundred dollars on 
the auction block. The migrants who picked it earn a total of twelve dollars for 
their labor. Two dollars apiece for six men. For six hours of work. 

Anderson. Time to get up now. 

Narrator. Migrant worker Woodrow Wilson. He wants to go to nearby River- 
liead today. The trip, if Anderson allows him to go and furnish his transporta- 
tion, will cost three dollars. 

Anderson. No, really, I can't let you go to Riverhead. I've got work here for 
the farmers. Okay. 

Man. Okay. 

Anderson. If you don't make nothing today, I'll let you go to Riverhead, 
you here. Alright? 

Narrator. No one is going to Riverhead this morning. Charlie White is ready 
to harvest stringbeans. So is Woodrow Wilson. Even though picking a hamper 
•of beans pays only a dollar. 

Man. . . . (unintelligible) . . . 

Narrator Jackie Robinson. He's fourteen and says he's been trying to return 
to Arkansas to reenter school but hasn't been able to buy his way out. 

Man. . . . (singing) . . . 

Narrator. These are the economics of migrant labor. Charlie White will pick 
istringbeans from six AM till twelve Noon. He will be paid one dollar a hamper. 



8 

Andrew Anderson will take fifteen cents on each dollar as lie does on all field! 
workers. For six hours work, Charlie White will earn one dollar and seventy 
cents. 

Man. . . . (singing) . . . 

Narrator. Much of the fertile land of Suffolk County is owned by members of 
the Eastern Suffolk Co-operative, which owns and ojierates the Cutchogue labor- 
camp, leasing it to Anderson. 

For decades the land has been yielding abundant crops: potatoes, cauliflower, 
strawberries, and stringbeans. 

Xarratok. On some days, the farmers come to camp to pick up their workers. 

Farmer William Chudiak is the President of the Eastern Suffolk Co-op. While 
he has some cauliflower and strawberry acreage, his principal investment is in 
potatoes. Seventy-five acres, estimated current value almost three thousand 
dollars an acre. 

Another member of the co-op, Al Patrick, owns seventy-two acres of potatoes,, 
also valued at close to three thousand dollars per acre. 

Worker. This is my first time. 

Interviewer. First time? 

Worker. T'h-huh. I don"t like to so well, neither. 

Interviewer. You don't. What kind do you like? 

Worker. I'd like some kind of inside job or something like that. I'd rather 
be in Arkansas, I believe, than be here. Rather than be here. 

Interviewer. What's the difference between here and Arkansas? Give us some 
of the advantages of Arkansas. 

Worker. Well so far, you can have more pleasure in Arkansas than up here 
now. I don't know how it's going to be after awhile, but right now it's not so 
good. 

Interviewer. What made you decide to come up? 

Worker. Oh. I just said I'd try it once. I saw everybody else trying it, saying 
they liked it. And I decided I'd try it and see if I liked it. 

Interviewek. Well, did vou think there was a chance to make some money or 
not? 

Worker. Yeah. I thought there was a chance to make some money. I thought 
the wages would be a little higher than they were in Arkansas, but I see that 
they ain't. Not here. 

Interviewer. What are you going to do after the crop? 

Worker. Well, I guess I'll go back home if I'm let. Go to Chicago. 

Worker. I'll go home and stay for a time. Someone come pick me up and I'll 
go to Florida. 

INTER^^E\vER. What do you work? The citrus crop? 

Worker. No, we do the same thing — potatoes. 

Interviewer. Florida potatoes? 

Worker. Y'eali. That's right. We stay in Florida about six weeks. Leave Florida 
to come back to what's called Cape Charles, Virginia. We live in Cape Charles, 
Virginia and breed potatoes there for a month. We leave there and come back 
here to Cutchogue. The least long we're supposed to stay here is eight months. 
We come in in July. We stay from July until March. 

We leave here in March, the first of April and go back to Florida. We just 
go back and forth. 

Interviewer. Where is your home? 

Worker. Well, my original home was — where I was raised was in Arkansas. 
but I was born in Oklahoma City. That's where I'm from. I went back to 
Arkansas last year and was there about eleven months. I've been a citizen of 
this State of ten and a half years. 

I've been to Rochester, Buffalo. Syracuse, Watertown, Utica, Lockport. All 
those . . . 

I've worked all in the northern parts. 

Worker. I don't want my children to be drifting like I have. Going to and 
fro, and I'm working by the help of God trying to make a better living, to get 
a better job, either to be in a place where I can be stationary, where I can get 
them through school, and try to give them a better living than I had in my life. 
Narrator. It is July 4th, a paid vacation day to most Americans. And these 
are the strawberry fields of Farmer Lindsay. 

Present are gome tourists and friends of the Lind.says, whd for a token fee 
can keep whatever they pick. For the tourists it is fun. For the migrants who. 
are working the fields, it is survival at ten cents a quart. 



9 

Young Child. I picked half a basket. Then we'll pull in another basiket okay? 

Woman. Okay. 

Young Chlld. John, how many baskets did you pull up? 

Young Child. Unintelligible. 

Narkator. Farmer Lindsay records the chits used in payment. He is not 
enamored of migrant help. They're not men at all, he says, but two-legged 
animals. 

Worshiping Farm Family. And to you father, that I have sinned exceedingly 
in thought, word and deed, through my fault, through my fault, thi'ough my most 
grievous fault. May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins 
and bring you to life everlasting. 

Amen. 

Worshiping Farmworkers. We thank thee heavenly father for life. We 
thank thee our father for the food that we ate this morning. Our father, thou 
who hast brought us thus far on life's journey, it is with a great deal of humility, 
and thanksgiving that we're here this morning. We pray heavenly father that 
they would use our lives as instruments to reach others. 

Amen. 

Oh, God . . . (unintelligible) . . . 

And your people will rejoice in you. 

Tell us oh Lord your i>enance. 

Grant us your salvation. 

Oh Lord hear my prayer. 

The Lord be with you. 

Group. Singing . . . 

Farmer. The labor situation is — it's terrible. No one wants to work. They 
are interested in what they can get out of you, but not what they can do for you. 

You have some boys that are fair. And some of them — ^they're not interested 
in nothing but — I probably shouldn't even say it. 

Farm Wife. I'd say that they're okay. But it comes like on a Saturday 
morning with — when they have nobody to load the trucks if it wasn't for — 

Farmer. They don't show up on the job. 

Farm Wife. And Monday mornings. So my husband is actually sick them 
two days. 

Farmer. I have some — like the Puerto Rieans — the same ones come back. But 
the migrant.s from the labor camp, I think they come from Arkansas and ilis- 
sissippi. And quite a few of them has been the same ones. Which makes me feel 
halfway decent that they appreciate what I do for them. 

Narrator. The farmers spend more money on tractor i-epair and fertilizer 
than they do on migrant housing, yet resent what they call outside do-gooders. 

Farmer. There are too many people trying to do too much for the Xegro. not 
knowing the problems the farmers have to face with them. 

Nobody helped me. And — so I have nothing against them personally. I mean, 
they're human beings also. But some of them are so destructive and i>eople that 
don't have any idea of what they're like are the ones that are doing all the fighting 
for them. 

They ought to come down here to this camp and see what goes on here week- 
ends. They'd never believe what's going on. 

Because I know, we put screen doors up, and we put windows in. We go back 
a couple of days later, and they're taken right out again. You gotta go back and 
put them back, and they take them out. 

They're very destructive. 

Interviewer. Well, how do these problems actually affect your production? 

Farmer. Well, they don't exactly hinder our production. When we come into 
camp and start talking to some of these fellows, they get them so confused that 
they don't know whether the farmer is giving them the fast run-around, or 
whether the people who are talking to them are giving them a fast run-around, 
and they won't believe Mr. Anderson. 

They think that he's trying to give them a fast shuffle also. They get awful 
confused. 

Narrator. But the only thing that the migrants are confused about is the way 
they get paid. 

At a plant nursery where they receive $1.35 per hour, they learn that another 
crew from the same camp working at a nursery down the road is being paid 
$1.75 per hour. 

36-.51.3— 70— pt. 1 2 



10 

As the men go out to work on tlais day, they will discuss going to crew chief 
Anderson and demanding to Ivnow why they are being paid less. But of the ten 
men, eight will decide against a direct confrontation. The remaining two will 
then feel that since they do not have the strength of numbers, it is just not 
worth it. 

And so on this day, as on every day throughout the long season, the complaints 
again.st Andrew Anderson will go unposed, and unanswered. 

WoRKEB. You won't have no help to fight it because everybody is scared to fight 
against it. They're scared they can't get back home the summer. 

WoKKER. Puts on a very show, a good show with people that ain't never been 
no where with him. But it's all different when they get where they're going. 

The way I was reading, the way he do's a man, you have to stay in debt. If 
you work at it. he'd going to possibly get a third of it, of your hours, regardless, 
of what happens. Because they're ain't nobody even if you're out of debt with 
him. look what he done already beat you for. 

Worker. I left Arkansas to do better. I didn't leave Arkansas to do worse up 
here. 

Worker. You'll never get out of debt with him. You're in debt with him when 
yon start, and you're in debt with him when you leave. 

Narrator. The second crew recruited by Andrew Anderson in September is on 
its final leg of the journey from Forest City, Arkansas, to Cutchogue Long Island. 
Steady work, good wages, enough money for Santa Claus have been the promises. 

Along the way a hitch-hiker has been given a lift. He has been going nowhere 
in particular. Andrew Anderson decides to recruit him for the camp. 

An'derson. Well, my purpose on this trip is to recruit some labor so just sit 
right in, you know. 

Hitchhiker. As I say, I was out looking for a job. If it suits me, I'll go right 
along with you. 

Anderson. How long can you work up there? 

Hitchhiker. Oh, well, I'll work about as long as you want me to. 

Anderson. The contract ends the first of December. 

Hitchhiker. The first of December. 

Anderson. I'll just find a place. 

Hitchhiker. Yes sir. 

Anderson. I'll be coming right along down this same route. 

Hitchhiker. Good. I'd like to go with you and work right along with you. 
What does farm work pay ? 

Anderson. A dollar thirty-five to a dollar and a half an hour. 

Hitchhiker. That's fine. It sounds alright to me. I think it sounds very good. 

Man. Well, for farm work. It's alright for farm work. 

Anderson. You can get in nine and ten hours a day. 

Man. Good. Oh, that's better you know. When you get in more hours, you get 
more pay. 

Narrator. The bus known as "special" arrives at the camp in the midst of rain 
that has plagued the Island all season long. 

The earlier June to September crew is there to receive them. 

For Mrs. Anderson, there will be new customers at meal time. And there are 
now six new workers for whom the farmers will pay a bounty of sixty cents a 
head each day to Andrew Anderson. 

In September the early harvesting of potatoes begins. The steel fingers of field 
combines disinter the earth and send the variety known as Katadins bouncing 
up the chute, where migrants discard the vines and other unwanted natural 
debris. 

Potatoes have made Suffolk one of the 100 richest counties in the nation 
in farm income. Despite the rainy weather all season, first harvest seems endless. 

From the fields, the potatoes are trucked by farmers to grading sheds. In 
this next phase of marketing it is the processor who takes over. His role is to have 
the potatoes washed, graded, and packed by migrants, then shipped to New York 
City supermarkets and to other clients, including fashionable hotels and res- 
taurants. 

The processor here is one of the largest in the county and a member of the 
Eastern Suffolk Co-op, Steve J. Deroski. 

Deroski. Well, you save me 150 for Philly. Okay. How much is it going to 
cost me? You mean to tell me you're holding me up for a dime? Boy, you fellows 
are something else. All right, we give it at two twenty. 



11 

Narrator. Lunch for the migrants arrives three hours late. They have been 
working since seven this morning. Again, all meals are from the concession be- 
longing to the crew chief and his wife. 

Deroski. Good enough to eat, Jed? Do you realize how much food that is? 

Worker. The potatoes are pretty well done. 

Deroski. I don't eat that much. 

Worker. You don't do nothing but walk around. 

Deroski. What do you mean, I don't do nothing but walk around? You must 
be joking. 

Worker. Huh. 

Deroski. While you're working with your hands, I'm working with my mind. 

Worker. Mm-hm. 

Deroski. Huh? That's right. My wheels are turning upstairs while — while 
your wheels are turning up here. 

Worker, That's right. 

Deroski. Right? 

Worker. Right. 

Deroski. Well, you got plenty to eat there. I believe — I don't know, you're 
going to be just too fat. You got to go on a diet if you eat that much food. 

Worker. Fat? 

Deroski. Sure. How can you eat that much? Huh? I just had a little sandwich 
and I'm satisfied. You mean to tell me you can eat all that? 

Narrator. The pay rate in the sheds is supposedly a dollar and sixty cents 
an hour. But it is the crew leader who determines the men's time, and it is 
the crew leader who deducts 25 cents from their hourly pay. 

As in mo.'st sheds, whenever the machinery stops because of mechanical break- 
down or an interval in the processing, the pay stops. 

But many shed workers are bona fide members of a union. 

Worker. He say he 'long to a union, but I mean, the way I see it. I don't 'long 
to no union, because if you 'long to a union, if you get sick and lay off — I mean 
if you're sick the union s'pose to see that you get a third of your pay, right? Un' 
■pose to see that your hospital bill, everything's taken care of. But dis union 
do not do dat. 

Way I see it, point of view of . . . (unintelligible), all this union is is take 
your money. 

Narrator. In 1960, in a contract signed between the workers and the Eastern 
Suffolk Cooi>erative, there was a guarantee of at least 160 hours of work a 
month — 40 hours a week. 

But in 1967, in a contract negotiated between the Teamsters Union, Local 202, 
and the potato processor, the work week guarantee was cut to 26 hours. 

Within the same contract there is contained a no strike clause and a no 
lockout clause. 

And the guarantee of transportation without charge back to the workers' 
destination. 

Another clause in the contract talks of the existence of a shop steward, as well 
as the agreement that the contract shall be posted in a conspicuous place. 

In those potato sheds visited by NET Journal, the contracts were nowhere to 
be seen. 

One processor feels the responsibility for payment of unions is not his but 
that of the labor contractor, the crew leader. 

Processor. You have good contractors and bad contractors, the same as you've 
got good employers and bad employers I mean, it's- — you can't just say it's a case 
that takes place with migrants ; it takes place all phases of labor. 

As far as the people being exploited, I don't believe the.v're being exploited by 
the potato industry themselves. They're being exploited by their own kind. Not by 
the farmer and the processor. 

Narrator. Pay day at the camp. One migrant called it "dust for blood." 

When the men work a 40- or .30-hour week, their average pay check is $47. 
25 cents on each hour is then deducted by the crew leader. Workers cash their 
checks with crew leader Anderson, because they have no transportation to the 
town bank. Besides, pay day is on Friday or Saturday evenings, after banking 
hours. 

Room and board are deducted according to the crew leader's bookkeeping. 
Andrew Anderson says, however, he doesn't combine room and board, as do many 
other crew chiefs. 



12 

Man. He pays for what he uses, and this is gustice. And each AAorker will feel 
satisfied in paying for what he get. 

Narrator. Pay day and and wine are classic partners in this camp, for all 
the wrong reasons. In town a pint of Twister sells for 51 cents. At the camp it's 
a dollar. 

For the men it is quick therapy. But it also fogs the memory concerning what 
was charged up and what was not. 

One of the men somehow received and cashed his own check, and bought his 
Twister in town. Crew leader Anderson is not happy. 

Anderson. You owe $13 in the kitchen for food, you owe $5 for rent, and 
another . . . 

Worker. No, sir, you're wrong. Last year was . . . (unintelligible) 
Anderson. Come over here, Rucker, don't play with me now. 
Worker. I ain't got it tonight. I'll pay it directly. I ain't got it tonight. 
Anderson. What happened? 
Worker. No, sir, I ain't got it, now, no stuff. 
Anderson. Why you don't have it? 
Worker. $20 kitchen for food? 

Anderson. No, no, I didn't say that. You owe a total of $20. 
Worker. No, I paid last Thursday night, last Friday night. 
Anderson. You pay it every week. 
Worker. Well— I owe thirt— $20 right now? 
Anderson. Yeah. You owe a dollar 98 cents for kerosene. 
Worker. Who, me? I ain't got it . . . (unintelligible) 
Anderson. Come on, now, I'm not playing. 

Worker. I ain't paying. You can whip me, you can knock me down, drag 
me. . . . 

Andetison. I'm gonna kill you. I mean, if you don't pay your bill, you'd be 
better off dead. 

Worker. Killing? Yeah, kill me. I . . . 
Anderson. 1"ou know I won't. Come on, Woodrow. 
Worker. I ain't never beat you out of a dime this season. 

Anderson. Okay. I get your money tomorrow, but your foreman, he going to^ 
pay vour bill tomorrow. 

Worker. He'll fight. He'll fight (untelligible) 

Anderson. See, I don't "predate this at all. Now, you going to pay cash for 
what you get fi'om now on. too. 

Worker. Check. I got — you can say that again, pay you . . . (unintelligible) 
Anderson. Come bringing $9 on a .$20 bill. 
Worker. Check. 

Anderson. I really feel I was doing better than this. 
Worker. 'Predate. 

Anderson. I don't 'predate that, Woodrow. 
Worker. Fight yourself. 

Anderson. I mean your work is all right, but you shouldn't drink ui> your 
earnings. 

That's what you get, you see. Actually, all the farmers s'pose to bring their 
checks in here. Your farmer slipped up. 
Worker. Heh, you know what it is? I . . . 

Anderson. I'm not going to ask you about it no more, 'cause he's going to pay 
me tomorrow, hisself. 
Worker. Yeah. Yes sir. 

Anderson. I — I was doing this — cause the only . . . 
Man. Man . . . (unintelligible) ship. 

Anderson. Well, see, there you have people that really don't have sense enough 
to even spend their own money. Now, any time you go by the wine store and 
spend your mone.v before you come . . . 
Worker. I wasn't in it. I . . . 

Anderson. . . . before you come back to pay your bill . . . 
Worker. . . . was . . . 
Anderson. Shut up. 
Worker. I'm going. 

Anderson. Come on l)ack here. Now, you shouldn't have went by tlie wine store 
first. You should have paid your food bill and your rent fii'st, where you got to 
sleep and eat. And then went drinking it up. This is the reason why you don't 
have — and you're not supposed to get your own check. 



13 

This is — this is one of the reasons. But he — he gonna pay the rest of your bill. 
Now you — you — I don't know, you maybe go on and throw away the rest of your 
money ; you don't care with it. 

(Laughter) 

Anderson. Tell Allie to discontinue Woodrow's credit over there. 

Xarratoe. The humiliation, the being without, is to the worker the natural air 
Jie bi'eathes every day. 

( Song follows. ) 

Narrator. Reverend Arthur Bryant, Migrant Chairman, Suffolk County Hu- 
jnau Relations Commission. 

Rev. Bryant. A — a crew chief is big daddy to all of his workers, and he in- 
spires fear and he knows how to spank his people if they don't behave the way he 
Avants them to. 

Andrew Anderson is one of the more sophisticated crew leaders. He's convinced 
that whait he's doing is probably for the good of his men. I talked to him recently 
about how he's able to recruit men for the kind of work that he brings them 
up to. 

He told me that he can go down to Forest City, Arkansas, and recruit all the 
men that he wants. I said, "why?" "Well," he .said, "you know in Arkansas the 
minimum wage rate is a dollar an hour." He says, "but a lot of the people down 
there are already exploited to the point where they receive 40 cents an liour 
for their work." 

And lie said that this is not publicly known. He says, "but I know it, and when 
I tell them about a dollar 3.j or a dollar .^0 an hour here, they feel that they're 
■coming to Eldorado." 

Urst year he tried to be a little bit more lenient and seemed to have gotten into 
a lot of financial difficulty as a result of that. Last couple of years he seems to 
have wised up to the system, and he claims to l)e making a good dollar, the kind 
of dollar that would probably multiply my income by four. 

Interviewer. We're talking specifically, what are we talking 

Rev. Bryant. We're talking about $40,000 a year for his family. 

Narrator. Worker Charlie White is interviewed by NET's IMorton Silverstciii. 

Interviewer. Charges, what kind of monies did Andrew Anderson take out of 
man's earnings? What were the specific charges? 

Charlie White. Well, I tell yoii this, tell you what he drew. (Unclear) Well, 
out of your pay is $5, all right. Tlien you gotta eat. For eat you draw from 18, 19 
dollars a week. All these your sodas, and your drinks like that, they run you 
around about — about 40-some dollars a week. They run right around about 40- 
some dollars a week. Tlien you don't have nothing then, "cause he's got it all. You 
work hard and he got it all. I say, you can work hard every day, but he — he 
makes the money. 

Like to us, we make it all riglit, but we don't get it. 

Worker. If I could only get enough money, I would go home tonight. But I 
l)epn here for going on five months, and haven't never got enough mone.v to go 
home. 

Interviewer. How do you expect to get home? 

Worker. Really, I've asked myself that question a hundred times within one 
nisht. And really. I wouldn't know. 

Narrator. As the season drew to a close, camp manager Andrew Anderson was 
asked : 

Interviewer. Are you satisfied that you can look any man in the eye that has 
worked for you this season, and be at perfect ease with your own conscience? 

Anderson. Oh. yeah. I can. I can say that, and I lielieve that I have been just, 
and I have treated every man. right down the line, like I would I>e — desire to be 
treated. And I don't believe that there's a man in my crew who would be able to 
.say that he have been mistreated or cheated out of something that was due him. 

T mean — I'm very concerned — in the worker. I'm — concerned in the fellow 
man. my feHow man. I pulls for him. 

Narrator. Living conditions for migrant workers are the responsibility of the 
Chief of Housing and Camp Sanitation, Suffolk County Department of Health, 
Sidney Beckwith. 

Sidney Beckwith. This particular camp is not one of our better ones. It does 
have an oppressive look to it. but it is livable in that when we issue the permit 
It meets the — the minimum code requirements. But I think as bad as it is, we've 
lieen told by visitors that have been touring the camps throughout the state 
that it is better than the average New York State farm labor camp. 



14 

There's been a history of inadequate maintenance, inadequate cleanliness, 
which is considered to be housekeeping ; and I would certainly have to add that 
there's been, because of this, inadequate supervision. 

I think these three items are the serious problems that we find in this camp. 

From time to time the Department has recommended that this camp be torn 
down, and that they would start from scratch and build a modern camp. And 
as a matter of fact, in 1966 they applied for federal funds in the form of a 
federal grant. It didn't come through. And so they scrapijed their plan. 

Narrator. Mr. Beckwith was asked if he felt the fai-mers would be willing to 
spend their own money to rebuild the camp. 

Beckwith. Well, I would — in my opinion, I dont believe they're interested in 
doing it in that way. 

Xarkator. Mr. Beckwith admits codes are minimal, enforcement methods 
ineffectual ; that farmers delay in correcting violations ; and that going to court 
is futile. 

Beckwith. The camp is closed and it's a little more difficult to get convictions 
when you no longer have the violation. 

Narrator. In late November the potato land was plowed out. The farmers: 
moaned it was their worst season in years, that they got $1.50 per hundredweight 
as opposed to a $2.25 break-even price. 

Suffolk County urged them to use seasonal labor. The farmers said there was 
none. The county said, "mechanize." The farmers said, "too expensive." 

The board of directors at the Eastern Suffolk Ck)-op, composed of these farmers, 
was asked if it was satisfied that migrants were receiving decent living and 
working conditions. 

Board member. I think for — for what we get from the worker, I think wages 
are prevailing. And our conditions meet the requirements of the local Department 
of Health. Occasionally we run into a violation or two, but that's — that's quickly 
corrected. Our problem is to get satisfactory workers. 

Board Member. There's never a word siwken about the farmer. Everything is 
for the help. I mean, why — ^why doesn't somebody come out and guarantee u& 
a price for our produce. 

Board Member. That is right. 

Board Member. . . . year in and year out? But they don't. 

Board Member. That's right. 

Board Member. The strawberries are begging to be picked. So we get out there- 
at 6 :30, 7 in the morning. At 10 o'clock, 10 :30, our laborer comes over to you, 
says, I got a backache, boss, I want you to take me back to the camp. He cares 
less about my crop, about what he makes. 

What am I, a fool to grow this thing? What am I, being crucified for it? Forget 
it. I will not grow it. 

Rev. Brtant. These men are — are a sort of a product of their own environment. 
You have to go back maybe about 30, 35 years, and you find that the exploited 
farm laborer of that time was a Polish Immigrant, who was brought over by 
members of his own family. 

Before that, these people who were exploiting their family members were 
exploited by good yankee farmers. 

There's an old Greek motto that says there's no worse taskmaster than a former 
slave. 

Board Member. I think Reverend Bryant is a very sick man. 

Board Member. I'll go along with Frank on that idea. He doesn't — he does not 
know the farmers' problems. He just going around taking stuff out of the — out 
of the wind and expressing himself in the papers. I mean, his facts, he has — 
to me, he has no facts. 

Rev. Bryant. I know, for instance, the first year we had VISTA "\^olunteers. 
I received a call that the plumbing was all clogged up. And for a hundred men 
there are approximately — I think it's six — Johns available. The Johns were 
clogged up for four days. Nobody did anything about it. 

So I went into the Health Department offices in Riverhead and sat on a fellow's 
desk until they sent a man out to fix it. The complaint at the camp by the farmers 
was that the men had broken the system down by stuffing these Johns with beer 
cans. What we found outside was that the toilet facilities were ruined because 
a pipe leading under the road was broken, and that the men had stuffed these 
cans and anything they could think into the — these things out of just pure 
frustration and anger. 



15 

BoAED ^Member. The eonclitions which — which exist are done by the residents. 
And I think it is very unfair for us as board members to be nursemaids to those 
people, as they wish to live in filth, not wash, and go to the bathroom in their 
own living quarters, well, there's no way I can stop it if I'm home in my own 
clean, lily-white sheets, which I change weekly. 

Interviewer. If I may sum up, gentlemen, then I think what you're saying is 
it's not the migrant worker who is being exploited; it's the farmer. Is that 
correct? 

Board Member. By all means. 

Very much so. 

By all means. 

We're the fall guy. 

Who cares about us any moi'e? 

Who cares ? 

That is right. 

Who cares about us ? We're the forgotten people. 

Rev. Bryant. If we're going to say that the health of an industry is more 
important than the value of the human life, this sort of thing can catch on and 
eventually encompass all of us. We have to be concerned about him, because he 
is us. 

Narrator. At the camp itself, one worker expresses hope. Another, outrage. 

Worker. And I just got to go, because I don't want to be drug down like this. 
Gotta go. Because it hurts you inside, when you get insulted, because half of 
the time you're being insulted, see, for no reason at all, and you — if you — if you 
got to insult a person, you should have something to insult him for, and then 
for — therefore you're never supposed to insult anyone. But that's the whole idea. 

Worker. But you know what I — what I really think? You know what I really 
think? I really think that one day the world will be great. I really believe the 
world gonna be great one day. 

Narrator. The season which began in the vast darkness of night and soul is 
now ending the same way. Tomorrow the men will break camp. 

On the last day, this legacy, these odors these noises, these silences. Three 
men pack to go home. They have worked for almost six months on the fiehis of 
Eden, and are irrevocably mired in debt. 

Others who leave with money leave with five or ten dollars. The bus trip !»ack 
to Arkansas will now cost $15, which they will try to work off when Andrew 
Anderson takes them on to Florida, to the citrus crop. 

Eight years ago, in a memorable CBS documentary, "Harvest of Shame," the 
late Edward R. Murrow urged wage, health, and housing reforms for migrant 
workers. Eight years later, the migrant condition is still the shame of the nation. 

The migrant field worker's minimum wage of a dollar and 15 cents an hour, 
when he can find work, is far below the national standard. The availability of 
medical services to him is often lacking. His death rate by tuberculosis alone is 
more than double that of most other American workers. 

His living conditions too often do not respect his sanctity as a man. For the 
most part he does not have effective union protection. 

The shame of the migrant condition must be shared by all of us. For as Rever- 
end Bryant has said, the migrant is us. 

Today the season vanishes like the migratory bird. What harvest for the 
reaper? 

(Film segments from "What Harvest for the Reaper?'* were shown.) 
Senator Mondale. Mr. Silverstein, and the others of you wlio par- 
ticipated in the production of "What Harvest for the Reaper," let me 
say how much we appreciate the fact that you decided to make the film 
and the genius that went into trying to capsule a full season and do it 
as ably as you have. 

It has been my observation that in dealing with the problems of 
tliose who are most deprived in our country that there is a general rule 
that the greater the deprival the lower the visibility. I think the TV 
documentary effort not to propagandize but simply to make visible- 
the lives of the most forgotten is central to our efforts to create a truh' 
healthy Nation which is so terribly important. 



16 

Do any of your coproducers have anythino- to add ? 
Mr. SiLMiRSTEiN. I tliiiik Mr. Dixon does. 

STATEMENT OF DON M. DIXON, DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS 
PROGRAMS, NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION 

]\Ir. Dixon. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is grati- 
fying for us to be here. Too often, making- a documentary exposing in- 
human conditions is like throwing a pebble into a pond. There are a 
few ripples and then the surface of the water returns to normal. 

Your interest in this documentary gives us hope that tliis is not al- 
Vv\ays so. It is ironic that this program caused as nmch stir as it did. 

We set out, as Mr. Silverstein said, to find out what changes have 
occurred in the life of the migrant since Ed Murrow's "Harvest of 
Shame,'' which shocked so many people almost 10 years ago. 

What we found out was even more shocking, that very little had 
changed, that the ripples went across the pond, the water was once 
again still, the conditions exposed by that documentary still existed. 

Here, too, with "What Harvest for the Reaper"' there was a ripple. 
There were stories in the press, demands for investigations. In fact, 
there was an investigation by the State legislature. The barbed wire 
you saw was cut down, the crew leader lost his job and conditions 
slightly improved. 

Reverend Bryant can tell you more about what was and was not 
done. But the basic condition of the migrant, the condition which per- 
mitF; one man to be at the mercy of another, has not appreciably 
changed, as members of this committee know far better than we. 

And it makes one wonder whether in another 10 years, another group 
of concerned producers might be sitting before another group of con- 
cerned Senators showing the son of What Harvest for the Reaper and 
the grandson of Harvest of Shame. 

If that is the case, then we have failed. But the fact that we sit here 
today makes us hope that that will not be the case, that a condition 
exposed may be a condition remedied. 

Tliat is the reason we make documentai-ies althougli, we must 
acknowledge, this hope has not often been justified. If we are an in- 
strument for reform, we are only a beginning one. But we believe that 
the first step is an important one, that if we can get people to under- 
stand the situation to be sensitized to what is going on, then, eventually 
they will back the changes that must be made. 

But there must l)e f ollowthrough if we are to be effective. We are not 
legislators. We do not enact the laws that affect their lives. In fact, 
under the terms of both our charter and the terms of the newly formed 
C(>r])oration for })ublic broadcasting, we cannot so back legislation. 

We do not run the businesses, labor unions, schools or other institu- 
tions with which they must deal. We give out information and dissemi- 
nate viewpoints and hopefully i)r()vide understanding and perspective. 

To be able to do this it is im[)erative that this kind of television re- 
main free of economic and political pressures, remain independent to 
report what it finds regardless of what interests are affected. 

If making people aware is the first step then television is particularly 
important because it reaches into so many homes and is felt by so many 
people. 



17 

Thank you. 

Senator Moxdale. Thank you very much, Mr. Dixon, 

Mr. Perhnutter. 

Mr. Perlmutter. I think the basic issues ]iave been covered. 

Senator Moxdale. I think what we will do if it is all right with the 
committee is let us question those who produced the film and then go 
on to Reverend Bryant. 

Senator Saxbe, do you have questions ? 

Senator Saxbe. My only question is has there been an improvement 
in the States' standards and regulations governing these camps ( 

yiv. SiLVERSTEix. I think so, sir. As television documentarians who 
must leave one given battlefield for another, we often leave people 
behind, protagonists like Reverend Bryant. 

We move on from documentary to documentary leaving behmd not 
only migrant workers but men like Reverend Bryant, who deals day 
in and day out in this attempt to reform the situation. 

I think he could more pertinently address himself to your question 
as to foUowup. 

Senator Saxbe. Reverend Bryant. 

Reverend Bryant. There were certain basic changes. 

New York did enact a law. Through its administrative process 
the health department raised the space requirements for migrants 
from 30 square feet to 50 square feet. Of course, this is still 30 square 
feet less than what a 2-year-old child is entitled to in the city of 
Xew York. 

So that it does say something. We in Xew York passed another 
aspect of the regulation which was the requirement that there be heat 
provided free of charge in the camps. When the Joint Legislative 
Committee on Migrant Labor made their tour in our area and entered 
an unheated camp where a man was coughing with TB, I believe they 
completely walked by the camp and there was no enforcement. 

There was a law passed this year requiring $1.40 minimum wage 
for seasonal laborers. This was hailed as a great step forward, but 
the State of New York has a $1.60 minimum w\age for a resident per- 
son. It was assumed that migrant workers are less hungry than other 
humans, and therefore deserve less to feed themselves. I don't know. 

There are steps forward I suppose but steps that should have been 
taken at least a century ago. 

Senator Saxbe. What about the 26-hour provision? Has that been 
increased ? 

Reverend Bryant. No, there are no regiilations. There is no work 
week contract. Right at tliis time of year the workers on our territory 
are working a pretty full work week, but back in the first 3 months 
of the year the workers were running about $25 income a week. 

I had a college student living at one camp and working there so 
that we were able to check on what income came in. He said that 
what was absolutely sickening was the boredom involved. 

By the way that $25 meant that $16 was taken out for food and 
$4.55 was taken out for rent. Then over and above that were his 
charges for soda. There would be no beverages provided with the meal 
so an 8-cent can of soda would be sold at 25 cents cash and 35 cents 
if bought on credit. 

So you can see that there are no rujes and regulations here. 



18 

Senator Saxbe. We are dealing with a number of States. Do you 
know of any States that have a record of the dealings of the crew 
chief and the ones he recruits? Can we see that they do get a net 
return and that they don't run up these big debts? 

Reverend Bryant. As far as States are concerned I know Indiana 
is doing quite a bit of work at this time. I don't know whether they 
have enacted anything. States like New York require fingerprinting 
•of crew leaders so that we know they are not criminal types. If they 
are criminal types, they simply turn the paperwork over to their 
wives. 

The only place where any real control is offered, and that is half- 
hearted, is the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico where a contract is 
set up for 160 work hours over a full month work period. This contract 
is violated as frequently as it is enforced. 

It doesn't seem to me to be very effective. 

Senator Saxbe. Is the lot of the workers, those recruited every 
morning on the street corner and paid off in cash every night, any 
better or is it worse ? 

Reverend Bryaxt. Their total income is very poor. Their income is 
as bad as the others. I would say they are just as bad off as anyone else. 

Senator Saxbe. They go home at night and there is no camp. 

Reverend Bryant. In my area they don't go home at night. They 
may be picked up as day-haul labor in New York City in Lower Man- 
hattan or out in Jamaica and then brought out to the Island. They 
are iiot going home at night. As far as the day workers are concerned, 
"the seasonal workers, they will go home but they will go home to 
shacks, some of the worst housing in the county, and their lot is not 
veiy much better. 

We constantly read about them being burned up in these shacks. 

Senator Saxbe. On the west coast, in Ohio, and in New Jersey, I 
know it is common practice for a crew chief to buy an old school bus 
and to go down on the corner and pick up a busload of workers. They 
will be working in strawberries or any other stoop labor. They fur- 
nish them their lunch, usually a sweet roll or a sandwich. They fiTr- 
niph them with some wine to drink on the way back, maybe on the 
way out, and then they pay them off in cash every night. 

It seems to me that this ^roup is more exploited than the others 
because there is no responsibility. They pick them up on the corner 
and drop them off on the corner. There is no accounting for where 
they go, where their money goes, or how much they get because it is all 
a cash deal. 

Reverend Brtvxt. I liave seen the same thing in Portland, Ores;., 
where tlie ras]-)berrv pirkers come from all over the country. T have 
see7i them sleepin.'^- alonji the nark areas, flve or six blocks of parkland, 
with just men Laving there. They are taken to the fields every morn- 
iiTT and then inst brought back and duinped. 

The interestinp- thing about Ore<''on is that they also recruit chil- 
dren from the schools and vou will have crews of children eoing 
out workin.o- side by side with men who are commonly called winos. 

The exploitation system seems to know no bounds. 

'-^pnatov S5axbe. That is all. 

Senator IMoxdat.e. vSenator Bellmon. 



19 

Senator Bellmon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I would like to ask about one of the statements made in the documen- 
tary. I wasn't able to hear too well but as I understood the strawberry 
pickers are paid 10 cents a box. 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. Ten cents a quart. 

Senator Bellmon. Then there was the film of the auction in which 
the auctioneer was selling the strawberries and the statement was that 
this particular load of strawberries brought $200. Is that accurate? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. Yes, sir. 

We double-checked that with the auctioneer and with Farmer 
Lindsay and the workers as to the amount of money they received and 
the amount of hours they put in. 

Senator Bellmon. Then the statement was that the worker had been 
paid $12 for picking $200 worth of strawberries ? 

Mr. SiL^TRSTEiN. I can't find that exactly in the transcript. 

Senator Bellmon. If my arithmetic is right, those strawberries 
brought $1.67 a box. 

Mr. SIL^'ERSTEIN. "We say Farmer Lindsay's strawberries yield close 
to $200 on the auction block, yet the migrants who picked it earned a 
total of $12 for their labor, $2 a piece for six men. 

Senator Bellmon. That would have been 120 boxes of strawberries 
if they got 10 cents a quart. Is that the way you figure it ? 

Mr. SiLMSRSTEiN. I kuow we computed it quite accurately. 

Senator Bellmon. I am curious to know what strawberries bring- 
up there, how much strawberries are sold for if 120 boxes bring $200. 
Tliat is a pretty high income. 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. It may have been. 

I know our facts and our mathematics based on such facts were quite 
accurate. 

Senator Bellmon. How manv boxes were in the load ? Do von know 
that? 

Mr. SiL^^ERSTETN. At least a pickup load. I don't recall. I knoAv that 
immediatelv after the auction transaction we checked the auctioneer 
as to how much Farmer Lindsay received for that yield which he had 
sold, and then checked with Farmer Lindsay about how much he was 
paid and checked the migrant workers as to how they were paid. 

Senator Bellmon. You figure along with me. if you Avill. 

If the workers received 10 cents a quart this would have meant 
there T^-ere 120 quarts in this load, is this right? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. I will (ret my abacus now, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. T think you could surelv fisfure that one out. 

Eeverend Bry.'lNT. May T make a statement while he is doing that? 

Farmer Lindsay apparently was trying verv hard to prove how little 
came in on a farm operation and T know that thpre was an initial state- 
mf^nt aboiit how much was receiver!. T know that afterwards before 
the Joint TjCgislative Committee -^hiph met in .Albany, Lindsay said 
tliat he liarl actaully paid his men $00 for that day's work which would 
amount to Si'i apiece. 

Xow, that is the other set of stati<5tics that have been handed down. 
W^^at is n i^5 workday even if that is true. 

Senator Saxre. Mr. Chairman, wait a minute. 



20 

You are making it much better because suppose lie paid tliem $30. 
Tliat still is only 300 boxes, and at 50 cents a box, which is retail, that 
is $150. They aren't sellino- wholesale for 50 cents a box. 

The thing is bad enough but you can't beat us over the head with 
a bag of wind. 

Eeverend Bryant. The farmers never did contest the total price be- 
cause I have been through that. 

Senator Saxbe. The $12 or the $30. 

Eeverend Bryant. They never contested. They contested the $12 but 
they never contested the $200. 

Senator Saxbe. I don't question that a load of strawberries is worth 
$200. There are 20 boxes to a crate of berries as I recall. 

Senator Bei^lmon. Tweh^e boxes to a crate. 

Senator Saxbe. Twelve boxes to a crate and these are auctioned off 
by the crate. Generally the price is about 30 cents a quart at the field. 

Now, that is the going price for berries this season. 

Senator Bellmgn. If the worker would have gotten roughly 30 per- 
cent for picking them if the farmer got 30 cents a box, the workers' 
share of that $200 worth of strawberries would have been something- 
like $70. 

Reverend Bryant. The farmer said $30. 

Senator Bellmon. I am not arguing about what the farmer said but 
it is plain to me that a $200 load of strawberries couldn't be harvested 
for $12. There is no way to do it unless they are premium strawberries 
that sell for something like $1.50 a box and there are very few of those. 

"What did your arithmetic show as to how many boxes are in that 
load of strawberries? 

Mr. Silverstein. I don't recall, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. At 10 cents a quart how many could you pick for 
$12? 

Senator Saxbe. Divide 120 by 10. 

Senator Bellmon. Are vou trying to tell us that 120 boxes sold for 
$200 ? Is this your statement ? 

Mr. Silverstein. What I am saying is that we were out filming and 
working with the men during that day, working with them to film Avhat 
the strawberry pickers were doing through that day. 

We observed them and filmed their labors. We then followed Farmer 
Lindsay's truck back to the auction block. We were told the figTires by 
the auctioneer, by Farmer Lindsay, and by the migrant workers them- 
selves who picked the cro]). In each case we learned what Farmer 
Lindsay had received for that amount on his pickup truck and what 
the migrant workers had received for those hours of labor. 

Senator Bellmon. And according to your figures the farmer received 
$200 for his load of berries ? 

Mr. Silverstein. That is correct. 

Senator Bellmon. And the workers received $12 for picking them ? 

Mr. Silverstein. Six men, $12. 

Senator Bellmon. Six men ? 

Mr. Silverstein. $2 apiece, six men. 

Senator Bellmon. Now is this a day's work? They got $2 a day for 
working a day? 

Mr. Silverstein. This was 6 hours of work. This was doublechecked 
at the source. We observed them picking. We observed the sale. We 



21 

•questioned, the farmer. We questioned the auctioneer and questioned 
the men. 

Senator Bellmox. I am astounded at Avhat you are telling us be- 
cause it is patently not accurate. It just can't be true that $200 worth 
of strawberries, ordinary strawberries, can be picked for $12. It can't 
be that. It is impossible. 

If there were 120 boxes in this load which is what your figure would 
substantiate if it cost 10 cents a box to have them picked, they simply 
could not be sold for $200. Some place there is a mistake. I would like 
to believe what you have shown us in your film but, if the rest of your 
information is this inaccurate, the film has no value as far as I am 
concerned. 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. I regret to hear you say that because I just told 
you the principal sources that I checked with at the time and we made 
A'ery sure of our facts throughout. 

Senator Bellmox. And you are saying in your statement now that 
these men get paid $2 ? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. Tliese men worked for 6 hours. 

Senator Bellmon. And got $2 for their labor? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. They got $2 for theii" labor. Farmer Lindsay drove 
the truck. "We followed the truck to the auction block. We know he 
i-eceived close to $200. In fact we checked with the auctioneer and with 
Farmer Lindsay himself. I did not count the actual amount of crates 
iu tlie pickup truck. 

Senator Bellmox. You don't have to count them. If the men got $12 
and were paid at the rate of 10 cents a box, how many boxes were 
there? Have you figured it out yet? You don't intend to figure it out, 
do you ? I don't believe you want to know. 

There were 120 boxes. That is all there could have been. How much 
a l)ox did those berries bring if the load brought $200? How much a 
l)ox did the farmer bring? If there were 120 boxes on that load what 
was liis selling price ? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEix. He received close to $200. 

Senator Bellmon. For 120 boxes. How much per box ? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. How mucli per box ? 

Senator Bellmon. Yes. 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. Are we doing mathematical operations here ? 

Senator Bellmon. I wish you would. 

Senator Mondale. As I understand you did not count the boxes 
or quantity that was sold but ^diat you do testify to is tliat Farmer 
X got $200? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. We observed the men at work, observed and filmed 
the auction, checked the auctioneer and Farmer Lindsay as to what 
he received at the auction, and subsequently checked the workers as 
to what they had received for the labor that we had filmed. I am not 
seeking mathematical sophistry. Senator. I am just citing in the pro- 
gram that which we observed and filmed. 

If it seems astonishing in any case I am sorry, but this is what we 
observed and what we checked. 

Senator Bellmon. I would like to believe in the accuracy of what 
you showed us here this morning but I am absolutely unable' to believe 
that strawberries sell for $1.66 a box which is what it indicates if 
what you said is true, that the farmer gets $1.66 a box and you have 



22 

shown here that the workers were paid $12 for picking these boxes at 
10 cents a box. 

The farmer then hauling to town sold the load for $200. If there 
were 120 boxes on the load he got $1.66 a box. 

Senator Mondale. Could it be that the men were cheated in the 
pay that they received from the picking ? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN". I beg your pardon ? 

Senator Mondale. Could it be that the men were cheated in terms 
of the pay they received for picking the strawberries ? 

Mr. SiLVERSTEiN. I think it is possible. 

Senator Bellmon. I would like to go on now. 

Tlie film also said as I recall that the man's income was $25 per 
week. 

Reverend Bryant. $47. 

Senator Bellmon. $47 per week. Then, there was $16 for food. 

Reverend Bryant. I said this. That was not the statement that was 
made in the film. 

Senator Bellmon. OK. 

Xow the total income was $47 per week. Then there M'as $16 for 
food, $4..50 for housing, so that $25 in theory was the money they had 
left over, their take-home pay you might say. 

Reverend Bryant. But as I explained a minute ago there are things 
that happen in the camp. One of the things is that New York State 
has a regulation about the maximum that can be charged for food 
per week. I think it is 55 cents per meal or it comes out to approxi- 
mately $16. 

^^^lat a number of crew leaders do in our area is not serve a beverage 
with tlie meal, no coffee for breakfast, no water or milk or anything 
like this with lunch or dinner. Thev do sell the soda at A'ery much 
marked up prices. They do sell the wine, at double the price. 

So that when one of the workers says, "Andrew gets it all,'' he 
does get it all. 

Senator Bellmon. Andrew is the crew leader ? 

Reverend Bryant. He is the crew leader. 

Senator Bellmon. So you are saying then that these men, in effect, 
work for room and board and beverage and then when the end of tlie 
summer comes the^^ don't have enough money to get back to Arkansas? 

Reverend Bryant. That is right. 

Senator Bellmon. Did you talk to any of these men wlio were in 
this man's crew ? 

Reverend Bryant. Myself? 

Senator Bellmon. Yes. 

Reverend Bryant. Yes, many times, sir. We had five VISTA workers 
living in that camp over a period of -S years and we knew most of these 
men intimately, and I know them still. 

Senator Bellmon. Were tlie same men working in the camp each of 
the r> years? 

Reverend Bryant. No. 

Senator Bellimon. They were not the same men ? 

Reverend Bryant. Charlie '\^niite was there for 2 years. Charlie had 
lost a finger when he arrived at the camp in an earlier accident and the 
Legal Aid Society of New York told him lie had better not leave 
New York if he wanted to collect the workmen's compensation. So that 
that is wh}' he stayed aromid. 



23 

The last time I saw Charlie was just before Christmas of this past 
year. He was in the hospital with pneumonia and is still waiting for 
his workmen's compensation. 

Senator Bellmon. Who pays his hospital bill ? 

Reverend Bryant. The Welfare Department of the County of Suf- 
folk. 

Senator Bellmon. Then the point I was trying to get to is that these 
men are recruited by the crew leader, they work, and at the end of the 
summer they have nothing for their labor except their board and room. 

Are they recruited for a second year? Will they come back again 
or not ? 

Reverend Bryant. A number of the men find that they are so re- 
pressed or suppressed in this migrancy process that they grow very 
greatly dependent upon the crew leader and they do tend to stick with 
him. 

As you can see in Andrew's actions he pulls for his men as he says. 
They do tend to trust him. It is a little difficult to leave a camp, just 
walk off. If the crew leader doesn't need you he may let you just go, 
but a normal method of control is to call the police or call the farmer 
who calls the police when a man seeks to walk off and try to hitchhike. 

Then the man is brought back to the camp. The question is whether 
he has stolen something. Then the question is asked, "Do you want 
to press charges'' and the crew leader says "Not if he behaves him- 
self'' and so tlie man generally stays at least for that season or until 
some point at which he can break out. 

Far too many of the men hit the bottle, from depression and bore- 
dom, and when they reach their attachment to the bottle, there is 
no way out. 

This cheap wine is a very debilitating tiling. By the way, they don't 
see that wine until they hit the State of New York. A lot of these men 
never heard of Twister or Ariba until they landed in one of our camps 
and then they are caught up. 

Senator Bellmon. Are most of these men single men without fami- 
lies or do thev have families back home ? 

Reverend Bryant. The process that is happening is that the families 
are disaiipearing and men who are unattached singles or separated or 
divorced are the men who are recruited. This is very economical be- 
cause they can be put in the liullpen and the old type of apartment 
housing no longer has to be used. 

The first thing that happened after tliis film was made was that 
the apartment housing was razed. A new bullpen wa=; erected and the 
Child Care Center was commandered for the use of another crew. 

Sen.ator Bkllmon. I have another nuestion. 

According to the information that you gave or the film showed, 
the Teamsters T'nion allowed n reduction 'n\ tlie guaranteed hours of 
work from 40 down to 26. Is tliis accurate? 

Reverend Bryant. Yes. 

This is local 202 which is no lon2:er operatina; on Long Island. It 
did pull out after the film was made. The first thing you have to 
realize is that the 1960 contract M-as made up 

J^^enator Bt^tlmon. TVHiich vear, 1960? 

Reverend Bryant. The 1960 contract which called for 160 work 
hours and a 4- week work period was set up by the Farm Cooperative 



wlieii Puerto Kioans weiv beging brought into the camp. Tlie farmei"S 
switched to bhick eoiitinentarh\bor vrheiv theiv is no pi-oteetion at all. 

The closer the man is to home the less proteorion he has. The 
Teamstei-s moved in with their :2ivhour work contract which wasn't 
i-eally kept in any case that 1 knew. This 20 houi-s was not adheiwi to. 

Typical work houi"S according to the Suffolk County Labor Depart- 
ment study was itO hours a week in 196G. So the contract was not very 
important. 

By the way. I think that this is a very relevant tiling. The powerless- 
ness of the migrant is tied directly to his lack of coverage under the 
National Labor Relations Act. 

The Teamsters Union could not provide bargaining power for the 
migrant. As a matter of fact, the contract was signed not between the 
migrant and the pixx^essor but l>etween the mignint and the crew 
leader, and the crew leader was often the one who collected dues. 

Thank God, that has gone out of existence. The key to the whole 
ix)werlessness of the migrant worker is that back in 10o5 other seg- 
ments, just about every segment of our economy except for farm- 
workers and domestics or kitchen help. pei~)ple who work for members 
of their own family, were excluded from the Labor Relations Act. 

Everybody in the country had their rights as citizens, their inalien- 
able rights enhanced. By moving them up they had an additional in- 
alienable right. But the farm lalxirers were left l>ehind without the 
right of collective bargaining and without recognition of the State for 
their organizational ability. 

Other segments of our economy fought themselves ui> to the top 
or jockeyed for positions in our economic structuiv but these people 
have been rendered jx^werless or less citizens than the rest of us. 

There were approximately 4 million slaves in the United States in 
1S60 when we went to war in the Civil "War. The Labor Relations Act 
exclusion meant that approximately -i million people in the United 
States were less citizens than other people. 

Tliis is the source of their powerlessness. They cannot in any way 
work for themselves. The union doesn't mean the same thing for a 
migrant worker as it means for any other citizen. 

."-Senator Bellmox. Then this Local 202 of the Teamsters Union in 
your opinion was not an effective voice or bargaining agent for the 
workers ? 

Reverend Bktaxt. It was not at all. 

."Senator Bellmox. "Why ? "Was it because of this particular union not 
l^eing well led ? "Was this a problem ? 

Revei^nd Brtaxt. Even if it were a problem, whoever led the un- 
ion couldn't possibly have represented these people ]->roperly because 
it would not have been respected in collective bargaining procedures. 

Senator Bellmox. Mr. Chairman, that is all the questions T have. I 
would like to again go back to this point about this pickup load of 
strawberries. I think if your film is to have any credence that lias to be 
corrected because that is patently impossible that that be the case. I 
would not like to see all vour work made questionable because of that 
lack. 

!Mr. SiLA-ERSTEix. Suppose I provide the committee and yourself in 
particular with some of the original documents that I made at the 
time. 



25 

Senator Moxdale. I think that would be a good idea, Mr. Silverstein, 
if you submit by letter some factual material. 
Mr. Silverstein. I would be happy to. 
(The letter referred to follows :) 

National Educational Television, 

New York, N.Y., July Ut, 1969. 
Senator Walter F. Mondale, 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, 
U.S. Senate, Washinyton, B.C.: 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee : Thank you, first of all, for your 
kind invitation to testify at the June 9th hearing and for the courtesy given each 
of us during it. 

As to the question raised by Senator Bellmon, I would Like to provide some 
items from notes and tape recordings made on location during the filming almost 
two years ago in the hope of clearing up the Senator's question. He was incredu- 
lous that a load of strawberries could sell for "close to .$2(XJ'' with six migrant 
workers earning .$2 each for that day's labor, as the narration cited. 

1. A tape recording of the auctioneer exists in which he states : "Today we had 
a high market here because of the .scarcity of strawberries. Anywhere between 
I'd say .$7.50 and .$10..5.5." 

The auctioneer refers to the price each crate yielded on that July day in 1907. 
It is our recollection that the .strawberries were the variety known as Jersey 
Belle-s, if that is of any .'significance to the Senator. 

2. Although it was of no intere.st to me at the time of filming, I have since 
obtained the information that strawberries are generally packed sixteen quarts 
to the crate. 

3. Farmer Lindsay sub.sequently claimed that he had .sold nineteen crates or 
three hundred and four quarts (this stated to a X.Y. agricultural department 
spokesman who had interviewed some of the farmers after the film) . 

4. Farmer Lindsay, on t.npe. says in response to my questions as to how he had 
made out on the auction block: "Them last three days I done alright. The auc- 
tion block's alright." 

The farmer's quote as to how much he received (the "close to .$2^X) figure) Is 
not on tape, having been made verbally to myself and three other members of 
our film unit, but with these facts the price range per quart of the strawberries 
auctioned that day can easily be determined (.$7.i50 to $10.55 per crate). 

Senator Bellmon obviously has used the $12 figure for six men, or $2 apiece as 
the film states, to arrive at his figures per quart. 

If items one through four have shed some further light on the strawberry- 
figure permit me to further substantiate the earning statistic : 

5. During the course of our filming (from June to Decenibei-, 1967) our own 
observations and interviews showed that the farmers never paid any of the 
migrants directly ; rather, all checks were given to the crew leader, who then 
made his deductions before cashing the check (as the film of pay-day 
demonstrates). 

Here are some further excerpts from tape recordings made with migrants : 

Q. They give just one big fee to Anderson for the workers? 

A. No, they give each individual man a check. 

Q. The farmer makes that check out? 

A. He makes that check out. 

Q. And the Lindsays and the Chudiaks and the McBrides? 

A. Right. For each individual man they make out an individual check, but 
it's given to Anderson in an enveloi)e or whatever. And then the man goes into 
Anderson to get his check. 

From another tape recording with a migrant worker: 

Q. We filmed the berry picking about three weeks ago and Lindsay gave little 
cardboard chips. 

A. Yeah, to every quart. 

Q. Now what happens to those little pieces? 

A. Well, you keep them, you turn 'em in, they show how many berries you 
done pick. When you keep them, then turn 'em in and they pay you your cash 
money. 

Q. Who pays you? 

36-513— 70— pt. 1 3 



26 

A. Well, he give it to Anderson, but sees you turn them chips back to him. 
But he give the money to Anderson and Anderson pay you. 

Q. What's the feeling on Friday's, on paydays? 

A. Well, payday arrive and they ain't got none. One or two had three or 
four dollars. If a man makes $65 when Anderson get through showin' you what 
you owe in the kitchen and what you owe him, you ain't got nothin'. Three or 
four dollars, he give you that. You can't argue with him. He gets you to sign 'em 
and then he cash. And then, he'll add up what he owe you, then say well, you 
owe me $3.5 or $40 out of a fifty dollar check. 

From a third tape recording with a migrant worker on the same subject of 
deductions and expenses : 

Q. An average breakfast is how much, the charge? 

A. Well, I would say an average breakfast, coffee is around eighty-five, around 
eighty-five cents. 

Q. About eighty-five cents. What do you get for eighty-five cents? 

A. One sausage and two biscuits and some rice and a little butter in it. That's 
all. Cup of coffee. That's eighty-five cents. And then you get a pack of cigarettes : 
that's forty cents. You get them sandwiches ; one of them sandwiches cost you 
twenty cents apiece. Spiced ham and two slices of bread. And you can look 
through the spiced ham like that. 

Q. How much is the sandwich? 

A. Twenty cents apiece. 

Q. Is that the one some of the men take with them? 

A. Right. That's right. 

Q. That's what they have for lunch? 

A. That's what they have for lunch. 

Q. How about if they want something more substantial for lunch, what do 
they do . . . 

A. They have to buy it. They have to buy it if they got the money. That's 
all she gonna feed them, a sandwich. When we're digging potatoes that's what 
she feed us, a sandwich. They don't get no hot lunch ; they just get a sandwich 
and a ix)p. Only two hot lunches they get is supper and breakfast. 

Q. At supper, what happens ? 

A. Oh, they have mostly beans. 

Q. Hominy grits, is that part of the . . . 

A. No. No. they have some big bean, meat . . . spaghetti sometime. 

Q. What's the average cost for dinner? 

A. Same price, eighty-five. Eighty-five, ninety cents, something like that. 

Q. How about Twister, I see bottles of Twister there. 

A. One dollar. 

Q. Which is forty-nine cents in town. 

A. That's right, it's one dollar here. Whiskey, two and a half. 

Q. A pint? 

A. Half a pint. 

Q. How much for a cup of coffee? 

A. Ten cents. 

Q. How much coffee in there for ten cents? What does it taste like? 

A. More water than it is coffee, you know that. And milk. It got more water 
in it than it has milk. 

You gotta take whatever they give you or don't take nothing at all. Can't talk 
too much ; they jump you and beat you all up. 

Thus, with a system which operates in this manner, I trust it will no longer 
seem unbelievable that migrant workers could receive $2 a day for their labor. 

Permit me one further note. The farm spokesman mentioned earlier claimed 
that Mr. Lindsay said he had paid his men not $12, but "30.40", or $5.07 for each 
of the six men. 

I still dispute this, based on my verbal interview with the men who worked 
the strawberry field that day and our observation of how men got paid and 
how much and with what degradation during the entire six month period. 

But, even assuming for the sake of discussion that the men received $5.07, 
not .$2 that day, since when is .$.").07 a subsistence wage for any working American? 

(This wage, not incidentally, is from the farmer who is quoted on tape as 
sayiuc : '•Miiirants aren't men nt all. hut two-legged animals.") 

One last note : Following the program, the NY State Joint Legislative Com- 
mittee on Migrant Labor conducted their own investigation. Their March 19, 
1968 letter to me from its Chief Counsel states : 



27 

"It is felt by myself and the Chairman of this Committee that your film 
was a fair representation of the migrant labor situation, not only in Suffolk 
County, but in the state of New York, with the exception, sad as it may seem, 
that the housing conditions for migrant farm laborers and their families in 
Suffolk County are better than those in other counties in the State of New 
York." 

I earnestly hope that Senator Bellmon's question has been answered. I regret, 
however, that on June 9th, we had to spend so much valuable time on this point 
instead of concentrating entirely on the foremost obligation of ourselves, and 
of your committee : the liberation of those Americans who have been all too 
accurately described as "the slaves we rent". 

If we can be of any further assistance in any way, please contact us. 
Sincerely, 

Morton Silverstein, 
Producer, Public Affairs. 

STATEMENT OF REV. ARTHUR BRYANT, PASTOR, ST. PETER'S 
LUTHERAN CHURCH, GREENPORT, N.Y.; VICE CHAIRMAN, SUF- 
FOLK COUNTY HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION; CHAIRMAN, 
SOUTHOLD TOWN VISTA PROJECT 

Reverend Bryant. Powerlessness : The last time I saw Charlie 
White, a central figure in the documentary ""Wliat Plarvest for the 
Reaper?" he was bedridden at the Eastern Lono- Island Hospital and 
hoping to overcome his x^neumonia. 

That was in December 1968. Charlie had left Andrew Anderson's 
crew and gone to work for Isaiah Moore. He contracted pneumonia 
while working in an unheated, toiletless potato shed in Peconic, Long 
Island. I asked him whether he had received his workmen's com- 
pensation as yet. He said he hoped to get it within a few days. 

This T4-year-old man, former construction worker, had entered the 
migrant stream at the age of 72 because he didn't want to go on the 
dole and his daughters in Florida had too little money to care for 
him. Within a few days of his arrival at Cutchogue he lost a fijiger 
while loading a truck at the camp. 

There was a dis^Dute between the crew leader and the farmer over 
who was responsible for compensation. The legal aid society was 
consulted and Charlie was advised to not leave New York State if 
he wanted to receive his comjDensation. So, 2 years later, an old man 
with pneumonia was waiting to receive his way out momentarily. 

In April 1969, 1 spoke with Alfonso Terrell at the Cutchogue labor 
camp. Alfonso, brother of prize fighter Ernest Terrell, had lost a 
finger. He said it wasn't so bad while he was in the hospital because 
he received his meals regularly and had a clean bed. But at the camp 
he had no money and could see his indebtedness mounting beyond the 
point where he would ever be able to repay. 

It had been several weeks and there was no compensation in sight. 
Jubilee, from the Aquebogue camp, who had also lost a finger, thought 
that his situation was worse than Terrell's. His crew leader had asked 
him to leave the camp. He found a Riverhead family willing to take 
him in. But in 3 weeks he had received only $19 from the workmen's 
compensation board. 

Powerlessness is the story of Myrtle Lee Grant. Like many others 
who are in migrancy because they are marked by a physical infirmity — 
epilepsy is all too common — Myrtle came into migrancy because there 
was no place left to go. 



28 

Myrtle was mute. At age 45, liowever, Myrtle 'uas happy because 
"\T;STA volunteer Gay Krisman ^vas teaching her how to read and. 
write and there seemed to be a way out. But on Sunday, January 14, 
1968, she and James and Gussie Farrell burned to death in a crowded 
shack called the Jacob's camp in Bridgehampton, 

Henry Jacobs had 31 heating and sanitary violations filed against 
his camp over a period of 2 years by the Suffolk County Health 
Department, but a local justice of the peace had granted postpone- 
ments on court action through the entire period until a space heater 
exploded on that bitterly cold day. 

Two notes on that fire which engulfed 14 peoj^le, injured three and 
killed three: one was that a door had been nailed shut to keep out 
the draft and the other was that Mvrtle died without being able to 
cry. 

James McXeil died in a Bridgehampton fire just 2 weeks ago. He 
had escaped the 1968 fire. The landlord and the man who sublet the 
one room shack argued about whose responsibility it was to pay for 
electricity. The lights were shut off and James McNeil was using 
candles. 

An interesting sequence to the Bridgehampton burnmg was the 
Cutchogue freezing. Isaiah Moore, successor to Andrew Anderson at 
the Cox Lane camp was well aware of the danger of a space heater 
exploding. 

Like many other crew leaders in the area, he kept the heat turned 
down during the cold spell in order to be on the safe side. But one day 
fire of his men said that they were too sick to get out of bed and 
this annoyed Isaiah because he would lose 60 cents a head when they 
didn't report to work. 

So lie said that tliey were not going to stay there and use his kero- 
sene. And then he disconnected the fiTel line to the space heater. The 
men huddled in bed all day and when one of the others returned I 
received a telephone call about the incident. 

I called the health department. But it was too late. Within 2 weeks 
three of the men died. However, the health department did impose 
a penalty. The investigation showed that the fuel line was piped above 
the floor and this was dangerous. Isaiah was told that he had to re- 
pipe the line under the floor so that no one woiUd trip over it. 

TTe called the Governor's inter-departmental committee on migrant 
labor and the Xew York State Division of Human Rights to inves- 
tigate the case of James Bittle who died several hours after he was 
refused admission to the Central Suffolk Hospital. 

Tlie 41-year-old laborer from the James Brown camp in Aquebogue 
complained of fever, chest pains, and difficulty breathing. But the 
emergency ward doctor said that it was just something going aroimd, 
prescribed aspirin and oral penicillin and sent the man back to the 
camp with instructions to see a physician in the morning. 

The report of the State HR Division showed that the hospital did 
not discriminate against black people and the autopsy report showed 
that the man had died of "fatty liver.'' 

Although any good medical book will tell us that cirrhosis of the 
liver is caused by either malnutrition or poisoning, such as insecticide 
poisoning, the county m.edical examiner told the newspapers that 
this condition is caused by being "too long on the juice.'' 



29 

After the case was closed, the Kiverhead supervisor said he resented 
having the State brought into a local incident and havmg the good 
name of the hospital threatened. Except for the 40 migrants who 
attended the funeral service, none of the good people of the town 
resented the death of the black man. As Warren Sayre, a Bridge- 
hampton potato farmer said when the fire destroyed the silent body 
of Myrtle Lee Grant: 

It's an unfortunate incident, but it's their own fault. They're just a laiuch 
of winos and you know what happens when they get wound up. 

Legislated serfdom : Webster's defines "serf : A person adscript to 
the soil and more or less subject to the will of the owner. 

When I asked Governor Xelson Kockefeller why farmworkers_were 
omitted from the Xew York State Labor Relations Act of 193 . and 
then subjected to a series of slave laws separate and unequal to the 
laws governing the stable popuhition, I spoke of the misery created 
by the nasty space requirements, the unequal minimum wage, the 
omission of field hands from unemployment insurance, the inadequate 
fire controls, and the legislated poor diet. 

The Governor replied that the laws were enacted to lielp the plight 
of the depressed farmer and not to create misery for the farmworker. 
The Governor was right. That was the historical situation. 

However, both the National Labor Relations Act exclusion and the 
various State labor relations acts v\-ith their exclusions produced a 
serious problem for a democratic society. When the great bulk of our 
citizens had their inalienable rights of citizenship enhanced by the 
right of collective bargaining, those without the right became second- 
class citizens and the States found it necessary to produce a body of 
slave laws similar to those of Great Britain in the ITTO's. 

]Migrants caught up in the stream are powerless politically, voteless 
because they are homeless. They are also powerless economically be- 
cause they are deprived of the right of collective bargaining. 

And because they are powerless economically they frequently be- 
come powerless to break away and enter into the mainstream of 
American life. They are serfs subject to the will of the owner and even 
the finest paternalistic measures accomplish nothing to remove the 
chains of slavery. 

Back in TOO B.C., the prophet Isaiah wrote : 

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing 
oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my 
people of their right, that they may make the fatherless their prey, and that 
widows may be their spoil; (Is. 10: 1, 2). 

In 1969, the poor of my people are robbed of their right and find 
themselves powerless before unequal laws. 

Rage, suppressed, and repressed : One workman in the documentary 
"What Harvest for the Reaper?" expresses consciously suppressed 
anger when he says, "It hurts you inside to get insulted, to get drug 
down like this." 

He releases his anger in an acceptable way when he leads the 
camp in the singing of old prison songs. Sometimes he gets it out 
of his system by ordering weaker men around. He is angry because 
he has no way to force the crew leader to pay him a wage other men 
in the camp receive. 



30 

Finally he uses his controlled rage to con a friend into financing his 
way out of the migrant stream. He survives. His more pleasant 
fellow worker says : 

You know what I think? I think it's going to be a better world some day. 
It's going to be a better world some day. 

But this man has driven his rage down deep, repressed and hid- 
den it where it can't escape. His rage is turned against himself be- 
cause he is powerless to stand up to his crew leader, powerless to stand 
up to his fellow workers, powerless to change his life. 

So he has continued with the stream and moved to a tin-shed camp 
in Riverhead where a woman is the crew leader. He said to me : "She's 
worse than Andrew ever was," and then he drank from his pint of 
Twister. He no longer has a choice. He must commit suicide slowly 
or quickly. He hates the powerlessness within himself. He hates him- 
self. His dream of a better world will not be in this world. 

Occasionally we get glimpses of migrant life. The bullpen is a 
study in itself. No prison was ever better designed to destroy the 
identity of a human being. It is the place where the bully rules, 
where the alcoholic throws up on the floor, where the TB victim 
couglis in everybody's face. It is the dimly lit room without furniture 
except beds. 

There is no place to read a book, no closet to lock up one's personal 
belongings, no family, no love, no hope. The State of New York is 
advanced in that it now prescribes 50 square feet of floor space per 
man although there is no provision in the State sanitary code for a 
reading or a recreational room. ]Most States have now accepted the 
totally unacceptable standard of 40 square feet prescribed by the U.S. 
Employment Service. 

The city of New^ York requires 80 square feet of space for any 
child above the age of 2. When growers protest the destructiveness 
of the migrant worker in the bullpen, it never seems to occur to them 
that the crowded, undisciplined minimal standards for bullpen hous- 
ing are in themselves destructive, violent attacks upon humanity which 
deserves some form of reciprocation. 

Workman Charlie White complains about his inability to keep 
any of his money and counts up the costs of food and lodging and 
blanket fees and then speaks of the costs of soda before he says "An- 
drew's got it all." 

What is hidden here is the State law which limits to $16 the cost of 
food per week per man. Andrew and many others like him have found 
a way to beat the system. He serves the food with no beverage, no milk, 
no coffee, no water. He sells an 8-cent can of soda to a man for 25 cents 
if the purchase is cash ; 35 cents on credit. 

In a number of camps bottles of Twister or Ariba, 51 cents a pint, are 
made available on the beverageless table. This costs $1 cash, $1.25 on 
credit. A man living in a camp 2 miles from the nearest store is power- 
less to fight the system. For many men the rage is repressed ; the wine 
is ]5ref erred and eventually the anger within is only released by death. 

A^Hien racial troubles flared up at the fireman's block party in my 
village of Greenport, the rumor swept through the crowd that an angry 
band of migrants from the Cutchogue labor camp were coming into 
town in a pickup truck. 



31 

I couldn't believe that this was possible. But the troopers thought 
they had better check it out anyway. At the camp they found the men 
sleeping, unaware of the outside world. But had they found the men 
awake and aware, it would have changed nothing. No group is more 
powerless. No group has suppressed its rage more deeply. 

Migrancy is a community sickness. I was asked to process a com- 
plaint filed with the New York State Human Rights Commission 3 
years ago. A restaurant in Orient, Long Island, distributed menus with 
a reprint of an article from New York Mirror which said that the meals 
at the inn were superior and then praised the atmosphere of the place. 

The article said that the view from the windows, with darkies work- 
ing in the fields, brought back a deep nostalgia for the Old South. 

The State Commission asked the Suffolk Commission to persuade 
the owner to remove a piece of literature offensive to many of our 
citizens. So I drove out to see a man I had known over a period of 
years to talk reasonably with him. 

But when I arrived, I found the inn locked and the windows boarded. 
I asked neighbors what had happened and learned that the owner had 
received a copy of the letter sent to our commission, became infuriated, 
ordered his guests to leave, fired his help, and went out to get drunk. 
The old inn remains closed. 

I was the spokesman for the Eastern Suffolk Cooperative when the 
farmers sought to obtain a loan-grant package from the Farmers 
Home Administration in 1966. 

^Mien the original request for a $75,000 grant, $25,000 loan to rebuild 
the camp was turned down, local FHA officials told myself and the 
farmers that it would be possible to obtain a 66-percent grant, 34-per- 
cent long-term loan. 

But then the administrative ruling came through that only non- 
profit cooperatives and municipalities would be eligible to receive a 
grant. The farmers came to my office to tell me that the whole thing 
had fallen through and shortly afterward a New York Times reporter 
called to check on the progress we were making toward rebuilding the 
largest migrant camp in Suffolk County. 

I told him that we were stopped in our tracks and that the real 
losers were not the farmers but the migrants. It seemed a shame that 
the country's legislators had voted large sums of money to correct the 
scandal of migrant housing and the Department of Agriculture had 
set administrative rulings to prevent the money from being spent for 
its intended purposes. 

The article appeared in a Sunday issue of the Times and created 
quite a flurry of public concern. A representative from the Department 
of Agriculture called me to arrange a renegotiation and, quite apart 
from this, I received a call from Senator Robert Kennedy's office offer- 
ing to put heads together on this problem. 

A meeting was held in Senator Kennedy's office and I was asked to 
represent County Executive H. Lee Dennison and the farmers. At 
this meeting, after much discussion and a number of long-distance 
telephone calls, an agreement was reached to provide a loan-grant 
combination for the housing at the Cox Lane Camp in Cutchogue. 

But then I asked about percentages. The FHA officials said that 
there would be a 50-percent loan, 50-percent grant. The farmers said: 
"No deal unless the grant is 6'6 percent." 



32 

Senator Kennedy's staff ao;ree to search for the $17,000 difference 
and I drafted a proposal which was sent to 100 foundations. Only 
the Ford Foundation responded and their comment was that they 
would fund programing, but not bricks and mortar. 

The farmers rejected a plan for a social services trained manager 
for the camp to replace the crew leader on the grounds that the savings 
in money would be oft'set by the trouble the man would cause. 

Our new CAP agency had recently been incorporated in Greenport, 
and we offered to interrelate with the farm cooperative, form a non- 
profit cooperative not dominated by growers as the Department of 
Agriculture had specified in its administrative principles. 

The farmers rejected this procedure as an attempt to take their 
power of control away from them. I approached the town father with 
a plan to either have the town apply for funds to build and operate 
a humane camp or allow a nonprofit citizens agency to do the same. 
I was told that this would be impossible because zoning ordinances 
forbid the establishment of new camps. 

Finally the rebuilding attempt ground to a halt and the dilapidation 
in the camp continued. 

In 1967 the cooperative attempted to close the New York State 
child care center at the camp on the ground that they were receiving in- 
sufficient rent for the space. I protested through the news media and 
finally compromised for half the building to be used for a child care 
center. 

The other half was taken over by a second crew brought into the 
camp. Following the film, the child care center was abandoned entirely. 

In the fall of 1967, the Suffolk County Labor Department released 
its report on migrant labor. The report showed that migrants only 
averaged 26 working hours per week during the season but also noted 
that migrants seem to have been taken out of the bottom of the barrel. 

I was amazed at the callousness of the report and reacted by writing 
a proposal that the county establish a task force committee on mi- 
grancy to intensively study the problems and devise ways to relieve the 
condition of the existing labor force while establishing a plan to phase 
out migrancy so that local labor would be utilized. 

I asked that migrants, growers, church groups, county agencies, 
and civil rights groups be represented on the task force. The super- 
visors rejected the plan until the Bridgehampton fire forced them to 
bring it out of the desk drawer. 

Then the county established the Seasonal Farm Labor Commission, 
carefully excluded myself and the migrants from participation in 
the commission, and met biweekly until May 1968. Althougli a positive 
vote was taken by that commission to encourage inclusion of the farm 
laborers in the National Labor Relations Act (or perhaps because such 
a vote was taken) the report of the commission has not been released 
as of this date. 

I suppose that a visitor to a migrant camp is often repelled by the 
alcoholism prevalent. What he often does not realize is that a penalty 
is paid by the whole society when any segment is brutalized and for- 
gotten. The most obvious effects on the overall community are the 
monetary costs for health, welfare, crime and delinquency; but be- 
yond tliat the migrant system scars the souls of the masters as well as 
the slaves. 



33 

A pastor hailing from a Pennsylvania Dutch community suggested 
that a study ought to be made of a community newly injected with a 
migrant labor force. He spoke of a town he knew where honorable, 
God-fearing farmers built a migrant camp some years back. 

He could remember the change when men, who once confessed their 
sins when crops did not flourish, became junior executives when they 
ha d migrants working under them. 

When things went wrong they went out for a beer and said to each 
other: "Do you know what that damn migrant did today?" 

Suddenly they had someone to blame. The pastor noted that sep- 
arations and divorces seemed to increase when the junior executives 
adopted a complaining attitude toward their wives. He felt that the 
role of a pastor in that town degenerated from spiritual leader to 
ecclesiastical office boy. 

He wondered how any community could escape corruption with a 
migrant system in operation. I thought of that conversation with an 
old pastor when I learned that a justice of the peace had no sense of 
justice for migrants caught in a fire trap. I wondered what force is 
in effect in a State which year after year allows farm labor bills to die 
in committee without legislators even bringing them to a democratic 
vote. I wonder about police forces unconcerned about the illegal sale 
of alcoholic beverages. 

How does this affect their operation in the remainder of the com- 
munity ? 

The white community often asks why the black community does not 
go out to liclp their brothers in distress. The black churches in a migrant 
community are notorious for their separation from the migrants. An 
owner of a particularly ugly camp in Riverhead was elected president 
of his XAACP unit as though his role in migrancy had nothing to do 
with the civil rights issue. 

But then, we have to realize what the black man instinctively realizes, 
that the 4 million black people excluded as domestics and farm la- 
borers from the Labor Relations Act corresponds directly with the 4 
mill ion count of slaves in 1860. 

Any black man who identifies himself with migrant labor runs the 
risk of marking himself with the stain of slavery. 

Some local reactions to migrant publicity : The proposal for a Task 
Force Committee on Suttolk migrancy brought immediate negative 
reactions from local politicians. 

Bryant had gone too far this time and the exclusion of myself from 
the task force committee represented a deliberate withdrawal of sup- 
port from both parties on a local level. The first showing of the film 
on NET brought the comment from one supervisor that I had done 
more damage to Suffolk County than any man in 100 years. Since my 
term was running out on the Human Relations Commission, I was 
informed that I would not be reappointed. 

_ The farmers organized a truth squad and made their own presenta- 
tion whenever they learned that the film was going to be shown. They 
complained that the strawberry pickers had actually received $30 for 
a day's work instead of $6, as though $5 apiece for six men represented 
a living wage. 

They complained that the $3,000 per acre figure quoted in the film 
sounded like crop value rather than land value, but they did not speak 



34 

about the annual increase of land valuation wliicli represents profits 
Avhether a crop is grown or not. 

They did not point out the error I had made when I said that two men 
died in a fire in the camp when actually four had died. They said that 
they had been misled into participating in the film, but did not ac- 
knowledge that they had signed releases for all their statements. 

They obtained the help of the county agricultural agent and showed 
slides of good buildings in some camps, but never depicted the internal 
conditions of the bullpens. They hired a lawyer to make sure that 
they did not say anything to incriminate themselves. They made their 
presentation to the task force committee and to the joint legislative 
committee on migrant labor in Albany. 

An organization known as the Sons of Libert}^ — a breakoff from the 
too liberal John Birch Society — distributed a mimeo flyer on the 
windshield wipers of every car parked at the Patchogue railroad 
station. The ''Who's Who in Open Housing'' paper named seven evil 
people working for the Communist ideal and said that I was advocat- 
ing Government takeover of farm land and proposing collective farm- 
ing as in Red China. 

The directors of the Eastern Suffolk Cooperative had stayed up 
quite late one night to watch my appearance on the Alan Burke 
show with Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers. So they in- 
vited me to a meeting without telling me the purpose ahead of time. 

Because the rumor had spread that I was going to receive a second 
scar on my head to match the one I had received in an auto accident 
in Cutchogue, I asked two large VISTA lawyers to accompany me for 
bodyguards or legal advice, whatever ensued. 

The farmers were represented by a well-dressed man who spoke 
of laws for a while and then revealed himself to be a leader in the 
John Birch Society. The purpose of the meeting was to inform me 
that my TV association with Mrs. Huerta suggested Commvmist en- 
tanglements. 

Steve Doroski called one night to inform me that he liad agreement 
from councilmen in my church that I was to be fired. As a matter of 
fact, two church councilmen resigned their posts and giving dropped 
off in the church. But the bulk of the congregation voted to apply for 
program funds from the Lutheran Church of America to provide an 
assistant minister and a secretary- to work at the migrant problem. 

The Greenport Rotary Club and people in Green]:)ort in o-eneral 
showed a half-hearted support for attempts to rid Southold Town 
of migrancy. Greenport School is 20-percent black in the grades and 
one man thought it would be useful to stop these people from moving 
in. 

The suggestion of violence came from manv sides in Southold, 
though, and one undertaker spent an evening telling me that he didn't 
want to have my funeral service. But violence did not come. Only 
pressure, suggestions about moving, and an occasional telephone call 
asking about the health of that Nigger loving pastor. 

The bureaucratic sidestep: A pattern seems to emerflfe every time 
light is shed on some separate and unequal treatment of farmworkers. 
As a sample, consider Suffolk establishing a farm labor commission 
with the voice of the grower but without the voice of the migrants 
whose destiny is involved. There seems to be a kind of bureaucratic 



35 

sidestep wlien there is an issue. A structure is set up which seems to 
answer the outcry of the public. But the structure is only an optical 

illusion. • 1 J 1 

A prime example is the grant project which was provided by the 
Federal Government for housing codes for the State of New York 
under section 314 of the Housing Act of 1954. The State was supposed 
to study existing experience in developing standards for transient 
housing, including hotels, motels, boatels, travel trailer parks, and 
migratory worker camps; and based upon this study to develop model 
standards for such housing and procedures for their enforcement and 
administration; and to publish and distribute such standards and 
procedures. The cost of the project was to be $121,746, with the Fed- 
eral share $81,164 and the State to make up the balance. 

The draft of the model code in 1964 and 1966 included migratory 
farmworker camps in the category of transient housing. But in 196T 
all references to migrants had been dropped from the code. A pro- 
test was made by radio WISICA and the Suffolk Sun, but this went 
unheeded. Then a group of people representing human relations com- 
missions, antipoverty agencies, civil rights groups and major unions 
fired off a telegram to Washington protesting the deliberate omission 
of migrants from New York State's transient housing code. Finally, 
information was released to the press that migrants would indeed 
be covered by New York's housing code. 

To understand tlie situation fully, it must be understood that New 
York's housing code originally was slated to include three chapters. 
One was for small cities, a second was for townships, a third was for 
transients. When Southold Town, for instance, adopted its housing 
code, there was a clear exemption for migrant labor camps. When I 
pressed the town board on this issue, it was explained that the omis- 
sion came about only because migrants were to be covered under the 
provisions of chapter 3 for transients. Since the town serves many 
tourists, it seemed that the need for covering them would automati- 
cally work a change for the betterment of migrant camp conditions. 
But this was not to be the case. The State simply used Federal funds 
to finance a new chapter 4 of the State housing code designed to cover 
migrants only. This made it easy for rural communities to establish 
laws for the protection of tourists without having to disturb local 
farmers. Since the migrants have no lobby, there is little possibility 
that the towns will ever enact the beautiful words of chapter 4 into 
law. And so a fairly large sum of Federal and State money was spent 
to create an optical illusion. 

In July 1967, the U.S. Employment Service announced that at the 
beginning of the new year it would require 50 square feet of living 
space for each migrant processed. The statement in itself was only 
dressing in that the Employment Service has no power of enforcement 
cxce})t that it may wiihhold labor after 3 years of violations. 

However, the word had spread and the notice provided a convenient 
excuse for the Health Department of New York when its archaic space 
requirements came under attack in "What Harvest for the Reaper?" 

In response to pressure relative to the housing code and pressure 
from citizens who had viewed the film. New York amended its chapter 
15 of the sanitary code through administrative procedure within the 
health department and prescribed 50 square feet of living space for 
migrants housed in camps of five or more persons. 



36 

Shortly thereafter, under considerable pressure from the farm lobb}^, 
the U.S. Employment Service reduced its standards to 40 square feet. 
But it was too late for ]obl)ies in the State of New York. 

Even though 50 square feet of space — the size of the top of a pool 
table — is an affront to human dignity, the farmers complained that the 
cost for remodeling camp housing was prohibitive. 

Xow, this is understandable. Any time a man pays more for some- 
thing than it is worth to him, the cost is prohibitive. Since potatoes are 
worth more than human lives on the market, storage sheds are usually 
well ventilated, buttressed, concrete buildings in excellent repair. 

Migrant housing, World War I barracks, shacks, abandoned buses, 
et cetera, reflect a sense of important values in our society. Costs for 
people are always prohibitive and sometimes this can be used to per- 
suade the democratically elected representatives of the people. 

So Senator Theodore Day of New York's Committee on Agriculture 
and Markets joined with Senator Earle Brydges of the rules committee 
and introduced a remedial bill in the New York Senate. 

Assemblyman Walkley of Wyoming County introduced its compan- 
ion to the assembly in the 1969 session of the legislature. The James 
Bond license to kill bill proposed that camps licensed in 1967 — before 
the change in the sanitary cocle- — would be allowed 10 yeai's before hav- 
ing to conform to the new standards of the health department. 

An attempt was made to create a new optical illusion, allow the pub- 
lic to think that things had changed while, in fact, they hadn't. How- 
ever, word leaked out and public pressure stopped this effort in 
committee. 

But one bill was passed in New York which caused many fellow 
pastors to congratulate me on a victory. This was the bill which pro- 
vided a $1.40 minimum wage for farmworkers. Again, we saw a 
prize example of legislative slight of hand. 

Suffolk workers are already getting $1.57 an hour average wage. 
Some are earning as high as $1.70 an hour. The illusion comes into 
focus when you move through the body of laws protecting farm- 
workers. 

The rule is that the minimum always becomes the maximum. The 
rule applies in housing standards, nutrition, and in wage scales. The 
wage rate will tend to reduce pay rather than increase it. 

And this is further complicated by the existence of downtime 
which allows pay to stop on the job when machinery stops. Thus a 
worker may put in an 8-hour day and only be paid for 4 so that $1.40 
an hour in many cases will actually mean only 70 cents an hour in the 
payclieck. 

And this will be further diminished by the absence of a Avorkweek 
contract in the industry. A man trapped in housing 2,000 miles from 
his home is used like a high school boy who mows lawns. His mini- 
mmn hourly pay has little to do with his take-home pay at the end of 
a Aveek. And finally, by what logic of thinking do we decide that 
$1.60 is the minimum necessary to keep a resident worker from starv- 
ing while a transient needs only $1.40 ? 

Antipoverty projects are on the surface a boon to the farm labor 
community. But they are prohibited from unionizing activities and 
thus have no way to' allow the worker a say in his own destiny. 



37 

Band aid projects multiply in number, but little changes. Projects 
are set up to train men for carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring, et 
cetera, but no way is found for the men to increase their earning power 
within the industry and only occasionally do we find ways to help 
a man escape from the industry. 

Much is made about correcting illiteracy, and this is good, but other 
uneducated men earn $3.50 an hour at auto industry jobs and still 
others earn $4.50 a hour at the proving gromids in Nevada. It is only 
an illusion to suppose that a man who learns how to drive a tractor 
will ever be able to earn a livable income as long as he pursues farm 
labor as an occupation. 

A grower sits on the personnel committee of the committee which 
will administer title 3 antipoverty projects for the State of New York. 
Two winters ago he denied heat to his Puerto Eican laborers and a 
local citizen drove a bus into the camp to rescue the men. Perhaps he 
is reformed and we nuist not condemn a man for his past sins. But no 
farm laborer sits on that committee to protect his own rights. 

On May 15, 1969, I introduced the following resolution to the Sec- 
ond Annual Conference of State Directors of Migrant Education at 
Atlantic City, N.J. 

AVhereas the Second Annual Conference of State Directors of Migrant Edu- 
cation, representing 47 States, is committed to relieving the poverty and power- 
lessness of migrant farm labor families throngli educational process and 

Whereas close association with farm labor families has revealed that the 
principal obstacle to meaningful change in a farm laborer's life is the system of 
separate and unequal laws which deny him full citizenship rights and oppor- 
tunities enjoyed by others in this country, to wit: (1) He is excluded from the 
protection of the National Labor Relations Act and therefore cut off from any 
voice in his economic destiny, (2) he is paid a minimum wage determined by law 
to be substantially less than that provided for other Americans and (3) he is 
housed in buildings deemed unfit for i>ermanent residents and, according to law, 
lives under crowded conditions which hinder his full human development; we 
therefore support all legislation written to provide the farm worker with 
rights and opportunities equal to that of other Americans. We favor inclusion 
of the farm laborer under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act but oppose 
a separate and unequal Farm Labor Relations Act now in congressional 
committee as a basically inadequate proposal. 

The reactions were a fascinating study of fear within the bureauc- 
racy. An attempt was made to amend the resolution so that the first 
"whereas" would be omitted and the resolution would end with the 
words : "educational process." 

A man stood up to explain that the whole philosophy of migrant 
education was contained in the resolution. If educators were not com- 
mitted to setting free the migrants, then they must restrict themselves 
to educate only to adjustment in slavery. The amendment was 
defeated. 

A number of speakers stood up to speak about having onlv a 
delicate relationship with the growers which they didn't^^want to 
endanger. Such a resolution might make the camp "no trespassing" 
signs apply to teachers. A resolution was then made to refer the 
resolution to the executive committee of 17 States for action at lunch. 
The committee of 17 then voted to table action and once again we 
saw the bureaucratic sidestep. 

Suffolk's hot potato : Following the film, I led a legislative action 
program to secure petition signatures and letters to key legislators. 



38 

During tlie 1969 session of the legislature I gathered 5,000 petition 
signatures and stimulated approximately 2,000 letters on behalf of 
migrant legislation with special emphasis upon removing the exclusion 
of farm laborers from the New York Labor Kelations Act of 1937. 

I also personally wrote twice to each State senator and assembly- 
man. Of course, all bills were finally killed in committee because I 
did not have enough awarerness of proper key people outside of the 
legislature. 

In April, I joined with the Suffolk Council of Churches and Sea- 
sonal Employees in Agriculture — a title III program — in inviting 
Congressman Allard Lowenstein, of the congressional agriculture com- 
mittee, to investigate migrant camp conditions. 

And then the word came through that a replacement had been ar- 
ranged to take my place on the Suffolk Human Kelations Commission, 
that the farmers had circulated petitions for the man, and that word 
Jiad come down from "high up" and through many committees to my 
town supervisor that I must be replaced. 

Word also came through that my principal defender in the other 
party had rescinded his decision to block my replacement. Then this 
appeared in the newspajDers. Letters and telegrams m supj)ort came 
from the Federated Unions of Long Island, the League of Women 
Voters, the University Women, the Civil Rights Co-ordinating Com- 
mittee, and from many key union and political officials. 

Suffolk CORE and NAACP offered to picket the home of each of 
the 10 supervisors if I was dumped and finally a meeting was held 
between the Suffolk Human Relations Commission and the Suffolk 
Board of Supervisors. The issue was not Bryant, but migrants. 

The meeting ended in a stalemate with the replacement withdrawing 
and the supervisors not making a reappointment. It is an open question 
whether an unpaid position of a Human Relations Commission makes 
me a civil servant or civil enemy. 

New Church and Union Concern : As of this month, the Lutheran 
Church in America has funded St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Green- 
port, N.Y., to operate a program of mission, social mission, and legis- 
lative programing on behalf of the 24,000 migrant workers who enter 
the State of New York annually. 

The $20,000 package includes funds for an assistant minister, a 
secretary, and office and traveling expenses. As of next month, Mr. 
Charles Kerrigan, of the LTnited Automobile Workers, has promised 
UAW funds for the organization of farmworkers into their own 
indigenous union. 

Whether the workers elect to affiliate with the United Farm Workers 
of California or to establish themselves locally as an independent or- 
ganization is a matter for the workers to decide themselves. There will 
be an attempt to educate State labor organizations at the grassroots 
level concerning labor's commitment to the farm laborer. 

In addition, efforts will be made by the New York State OEO to 
establish Suffolk County as a model community for migrant workers, 
A group of doctors are now formulating plans to relieve the nutri- 
tional problems of migrant workers and treat the symptomatic de- 
pression that usually afflicts the worker. 



39 

A group of nuns are seeking to establish nnrsing services for mi- 
gvants, A number of college students are establishing a migrant service 
center to act in an ombudsman role for the workers. 

The health department has agreed to rigorously enforce existing 
code requirements. A number of activist women have agreed to be 
present at all court trials relative to camp violations and alert the 
public to unnecessary postponements which endanger the lives of 
human beings. 

The newspapers are watching the situation closely and the support 
of the Long Island Catholic is especially encouraging. Reinhold Van 
Dyke of the Long Island Council of Churches reports that he will 
have a social worker to assist him as migrant coordinator. And, in 
general, the picture looks more favorable on the east coast than it has 
in years. 

Let us end the atrocities : It is with great gratitude that I, for one, 
receive this invitation to speak before a friendly and powerful group 
of legislators. I remember my part in the fight to gain rights and decent 
living conditions for the fishermen who worked out of New Bedford, 
Boston, and New York. 

We knew what it meant to work under a crew leader who could 
break watches at will and cause us to work for 3 or 4 days without 
sleep. We knew what it meant to be far away from home with no way 
of escape under harsh conditions. 

But we had a union — and although our educational level was low — 
we fought our battle and obtained the kinds of rights we knew we 
needed. 

I see no essential difference between agricultural workers and fisher- 
men in their right to strike at harvest time so that life is shown to be 
more important than food. 

I remember my 10 friends who sunk on the hulk called the Gayhead 
and the 11 men who went down on the Margie and, Pat which was 
held together with guy wires. I see no difference between them and the 
migrants who burn in shacks, who drink for relief from physical and 
nutritional torture, who knows the loneliness of life without a family. 

I am a fisherman and I had the Labor Relations Act to protect me. 
"Wlien I walk into a migrant camp, I am reliving my past. But I had 
a way out. 

I am an American and so I have rights. My farm labor friends. 
Myrtle Lee Grant, James Bittle, Alf Terrell, Jubilee, and James 
McNeil should have had rights, too. We are all Americans. Can't we 
insure it that no brother is entitled to less opportunity than we have ? 

When this country is torn by strife and people who say that democ- 
racy is dead, can't we demonstrate that we believe in our system suffi- 
ciently to extend the full rights of citizenship to our "rented slaves," to 
the poorest of the poor ? 

There should be no such thing as a powerless American. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you for a most eloquent statement. 

Reverend Bryant. One factor that we have not considered here is 
the role of the crew leader as the inbetween man before these men 
were paid. 

Senator Mondale. "WTien I was down in McAllen, Tex., along the 
Texas-Mexico border, we talked to a lot of the workers who were wait- 
ing to be picked up. Some particularly young Mexican kids, I would 



40 

say 16 or 17 years old, came up to me and complained that they had 
worked for 3 days and hadn't gotten a penny, that the crew chief had 
taken it all out and told them that it was for social security, all of it. 

Reverend Bryant. At the hearings which Mr. Lowenstein con- 
ducted in Eiverhead recently, one worker came up and showed me 
a payroll receipt for $120 for a week's work and he said, "Can you 
tell me why I was only paid with a $20 bill." 

How can I tell him why he was only paid with a $20 bill ? But this 
is a very frequent thing. 

Senator Bellmon. Would you say then that this particular crew 
chief, Anderson, was fairly typical ? 

Reverend Bryant. Andrew, as I said, was more sophisticated than 
the average crew chief. He seemed to have a better level of education. 
He was smoother. I was there the day that he was hired for the job. 
We had one good farmer in that cooperative who died unfortunately 
just before this film Avas made, and when he died all controls let loose 
at the camp. 

I remember when Brick Stelzer hired him and the first year we 
had VISTA workers who checked over everything he did and said. 
That was the jesiv he lost money. When he learned the tricks of the 
game he made money and he made it very fast. That is what happens 
to most of these men. 

Senator Mondale. Senator Schweiker. 

Senator Sch^veiker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I would like to address a few questions to the panel, whoever has 
the information. 

About how many migratory workers are there on Long Island? 
Do you have a rough idea ? 

Reverend Bryant. Approximately 2,000 now. Nobody knows the 
exact figure. We had up to about 4,000 a couple of years ago and the 
number has diminished constantly. Figures are taken about Septem- 
ber 15, the peak of the season. There is no count made of the number 
who come and go, or of those, for instance, wlio are there for 8 months 
to a year and are called migrants but are really permanent residents. 

The count on the number of people in camps of less than five is 
a completely speculative thing. There is no way of getting statistics 
on this. 

Senator Schweiker. Is there one camp that serves the area or more 
than one camp ? 

Reverend Bryant. There are 87 camps. There were 89 at the time 
the film was made. 

Senator Schweiker. On Long Island ? 

Reverend Bryant. Yesi; this is in Suffolk County. There are several 
in Nassau County, in addition to nurseries. 

Senator Schweiker. What is the average camp population ? 

Reverend Bryant. It runs about 25, The Cutchogue camp, when it 
had all the buildings in operation, ran about 230 at one time. It is down 
to about 80 at present. 

Senator Schweiker. Where do most of the 2,000 come from or is it 
pretty diversified ? 

Reverend Bryant. Florida, Arkansas. Five hundred of the workers 
would be Puerto Rican laborers. 



41 

Senator Mondale. Do they come from out of Xew York City or up 
from Puerto Rico? 

Reverend Bryant. They generally come from Puerto Rico itself. 

Senator Moxdale. Just for the season ? 

Reverend Bryant. There are Puerto Rican people recruited from 
New York but the majority are recruited in Puerto Rico. I think we 
counted 74 of them who we're contract laborers. Tlie rest came in with- 
out contracts because some friend of the farmer knew somebody in 
Puerto Rico and the men came up on their own. 

Senator Schweiker. What do you mean by contract laborer? 

Reverend Bryant. That is a laborer protected by the Common- 
wealtli of Puerto Rico. That guarantees a minimum wage. It guaran- 
tees the 160 liours of work in a 4-week period, burial expenses and a 
few things like this, certain health provisions. 

This, iby the way, is something that we have been encouraging the 
State of New York to adopt. If the Commonwealth can protect its 
laborers, there is no reason why a State receiving labor cannot protect 
with that kind of contract. 

It would make for a great deal more efficiency in the migrant system 
if farmers had to be better administrators of the workers that they 
are using. 

Senator Schweiker. How manj'- workers if any are from the city or 
bussed locally. Are there any migrants that are bussed locally each day ? 

Reverend Bryant. There are a few but no statistics have been taken.. 
I am trying to find this out myself. I have a man in Jamaica who is 
making checks on the number of men 2:)icked up at the Jamaica rail- 
road station, for instance, but I don't know the figures. 

Senator Schweiker. Is the reason they go as far away as Arkansas 
simply because they don't have other close by labor available, Puerto 
Rican or otherwise ? 

Reverend Bryant. No ; I think it is simply that in the South— I work 
with the Human Relations Commission and I have become fairly fa- 
miliar with the educational systems in the South and with work sys- 
tems — as far as the black man is concerned, the minimum wage laws 
often do not apply in many communities for maids and people of this 
type. So people are more easily conned into coming north for the big 
trip from the South and they are able to be conned into coming out 
from New York City. 

They have ideas about what could happen, they could make a pile 
of money and come back with something for Santa Claus, as Andrew 
told them. 

So certain southern communities where the crew leaders come from 
are just ripe for the picking and men can be picked up. 

Senator Schweiker. You mentioned or someone mentioned in the 
film a $1.15 an hour wage. Is that correct ? 

Reverend Bryant. That is Federal minimum wage. 

Senator Schweiker. This is Federal or State or both ? 

Reverend Bryant. Federal. 

Senator Schweiker. What about a State regulation. Do you have 
a State regulation? 

Reverend Bryant. Up until this year New York State had no mini- 
mum wage for farm laborers, but this year they adopted one at $1.40 
an hour. 

36-513— 70— pt. 1 4 



42 

Senator SrnA^'T:iKER. So it -".rill become $1,40 Later on this j-ear'^ 

Reverend Bryaxt. It Avill become effective this year but the $1.40 an 
hour is still 20 cents less than the minimum wage for any other worker. 

Senator Scpiweiker. But above the Federal minimum ? 

Reverend Bryant. No, the Federal minimum wage is $1.30 an hour. 

Senator Schweiker. It went up to $1.30 and New York will be $1.40. 

Reverend Bryant. As to the minimum wage, we have to take a look 
at something. The workers on Long Island are already receiving $1.57 
an hour average and this applies to most of New York State. 

Talking to farm people who present their side of the picture, the 
general pattern is : 

This State has to compete with that State and its standards and we dare not 
go too far out of line. Otherwise we are going to be in trouble. Our expenses on 
our crops will be too high. 

The rule is that the minimum standards always become the maxi- 
mum. What I see in the $1.40 minimum wage is a tendency to lower the 
wage of the farmworker rather than to increase it. I think we will find 
that as the year goes on, more and more employers will conform to the 
minimum wage rather than go beyond it and the $1.57 wage will tend 
to shrink. 

Senator Schweiker. "Wliat about the mechanization there. Is that 
moving rapidly or is there little mechanization or will the migratory 
labor in the area eventually be out of a job. Where does mechanization 
stand in that area ? 

Reverend Bryant. Mechanization increased after the film mainly 
because there were more and more men who wanted to get rid of the 
headache. 

Generally, mechanization has proceeded very slowly in Suffolk 
Coimty, because our land is going to become housing land. 

I don't think, for instance, that potatoes ought to be the crop in 
Long Island. We have first-grade land. Potatoes are only a valuable 
crop every 5 years when there is a drought elsewhere on the eastern 
seaboard. In the years between, there is no money from them. 

IVliat the farmers are able to grow is land with a good tax cut. Land 
value is going up approximately $500 per year per acre. 

Senator Bellmon. Land goes up $500 an acre ? 

Reverend Bryant. For instance, in the Aquebogue region, just a 
short way from Cutchogue, a group of farmers have now committed 
themselves to sell their land at $5,000 an acre when the land developer 
chooses to have it. There is a real estate deal going on. 

When the proposition goes right, the land is sold. The value of the 
land is rapidly increasing. That $5,000 an acre land will overnight 
become $10,000 an acre as soon as the developer touches it. As soon 
as the houses are up, it will be worth $20,000 an acre. 

So there is a definite land deal involved. One of the interesting 
aspects of that was that Riverhead violated its own zoning code in 
order to allow trailers for migrant workers. The story was that this 
was going to be a great improvement in housing for the workers, and 
it was. 

But they set a 9-month restriction on how long those trailers could 
be inhabited, which means that as soon as the land becomes available 
for development purposes those people who are on it will not be black 



43 

residents so that overnight a hind housing- black people can be cleared 
of the black people and new development processes take place at 
good rates. 

That is the general psychology of the thing. 

Senator Schweiker. How far are the migrant camps that we are 
talking about from downtown New York City for example? 

Reverend Bryant. They are 80 to 100 miles from New York City. . 
You also have some camps that are within 50 miles of New York 
City. The most important thing is how far the migrant camp is from 
the nearest community, and usually that is about 2 miles. 

The workers can't go sliopping and actually get free of the camp. 

Senator Schweiker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Senator Mondale. You worked in this area on the human relations 
council for how many years ? 

Eeverend Bryant. Since 1963, when the commission was formed. 

Senator Moxdaijs. You have already testified that in that process 
3'ou have tried to come to know the workers themselves and talk to 
til em '^ 

Reverend Bryant. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. And to gain an understanding of what their lives 
are like. You were familiar I take it with many of the workers in the 
film that we have just seen? 

Reverend Bryant. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. I gather from what you said earlier that it is 
your testimony that there is not now any union representation to as- 
sert the rights of the farmworkers in wages or working conditions or 
job security or any of the other elements that have long since been 
generally accepted in the industrial sectors of the American economy? 

Reverend Bryant. That is right. 

Senator Mondale. And there was an element pictorialized in the 
documentary about the news that came to the farmworkers that an- 
other farmer was paying more than they were receiving. Some of the 
farmworkers thought of leaving or putting pressure on their current 
employer to raise their salaries accordingly but that was not successful. 

In other words, even though they might make more nearby for some 
reason they didn't find themselves able to bring any power to bear to 
bring themselves the larger return ? 

Reverend Bryant. Well, the only one they could bring power to 
bear on would be the crew leader and they are absolutely powerless 
before the crew leader. 

Senator Mondale. What power does the farmworker have in rela- 
tionship to the crew leader in terms of the deductions that he makes? 
For example, I think you mentioned a 55-cent meal. Do the farm- 
workers in fact have any power that they can bring to bear about the 
quality of the meal ? 

Reverend Bryant. Not really. 

They can try to walk off the camp but they are pretty far from home 
so that they can't really do anything. 

Senator Mondale. Their only remedy is to get home. 
Reverend Bryant. That is right, or get out of the stream somehow, 
settle in the community if they can. 

Senator Mondale. What can you say of the educational level and 
sophistication of the«e farmworkers that we saw in the film? 



44 

Reverend Bryant. Most of them have a fairly low educational level 
but are intelligent. 

Senator Mondale. Do they have any skills other than farm work ? 

Reverend Bryant. Quite frequently. Charlie White has been a con- 
strnction worker all his life. He is in migrant labor because he is past 
the age to be able to work in construction. I met a number of older 
men who have had previous trades and skills, but this is one place 
where a poor old man could earn a living, or felt that he could earn 
a living, and not go on the dole. Part of the psychology of the average 
migrant is that he wants to fulfill the American dream. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, he doesn't want to be on welfare? 

Reverend Bryant. That is right. 

Even though most of these men are eligible for partial welfare, a 
subsistence allowance in Suffolk County, almost none of them go on 
welfare. Thev don't want it. They don't want to be wards of the 
community. They are trapped by the American dream of working 
hard, making something and going someplace and they are psycho- 
logically held back. 

Senator Mondale. In the film they point out that Mr. Anderson 
the crew chief went around soliciting these people to come up and 
work on the grounds that they are going to set aside several hundred 
dollars and, as he put it, be a good Santa Claus. 

The film says in fact that most of them went home in debt. Is that 
accurate in your opinion ? 

Reverenci Bryant. Yes; very definitely. Most of the men left in 
debt. One of the things the film didn't talk about, for instance, hap- 
pened just before the camera crew arrived. Andrew had recruited 
24 people of Puerto Rican extraction from New York City to pick 
strawberries, and the season was late. It was very rainy that year 
and those men not only didn't get any work at all but they were alert 
enough to realize what the charges were to be put on them and they 
went out into the woods with clubs and clubbed rabbits so that they 
would have food and cooked it on their own and went up to the sound 
and tried to dig clams for themselves and they finally walked off. 
This was just before the film began. 

Senator Mondale. There are some existing regulations as to farm- 
work, housing, sanitation and the rest. Are those laws and regulations 
totally enforced at all times in your community? 

Reverend Bryant. No. The system works like this: The grower 
or the cooperative or processor is notified ahead of time that there 
is going to be an inspection made. Then the inspection is made at a 
time when conditions are usually at their best. 

Now, occasionally there is an attempt at a crackdown. Several 
problems come up and here is where you run into your court system. 

Right after the film was made there was a serious fire in Bridge- 
hampton. Long Island, in which three people burned to death. The 
Henry Jacobs camp in Bridgehampton had 31 violations filed against 
it for heating and space requirements. 

Senator Mondale. This is where the fire occurred, is that right? 

Reverend Bryant. Yes. This was over a period of 2 years. Each 
time the thing came before the local justice of the peace, he postponed 
action and there was no action taken at all until the workers had 
burned to death and the attempted action led to Mr, Jacobs having a 



45 

heart attack and so nothing ever really was accomplished except that 
he died and the camp was closed. 

Mr. Borella in Syosset had charges brought against him for not 
providing sufficient ventilation for his camp. A number of us went to 
the court every time the thing came up to sort of exert public pressure. 
We wanted the law enforced. 

Borella's attorney came forth with a countersuit against the depart- 
ment of health for trespassing. The interesting thmg was that the 
county was found guilty of trespassing or entering the property with- 
out a search warrant and Borella sent his men home because he was 
through with them and no action took place. 

Very frequently when the health department does attempt to crack 
down nothing happens. I know that our health department man and 
a labor department man were both assaulted in their attempt to re- 
view the conditions of one camp in Bridgehampton and nothing hap- 
pened after that. 

Once again they were trespassing. 

Senator Mondale. I assume it is manifestly obvious that the migi-ant^ 
does not have any political power in the community ? 

Reverend Bryant. He has none. 

Senator Mondale. He is not a resident and doesn't vote so that if 
there is a regulation which affcets him, housing or minimum wage, the 
officer who is charged with enforcing it is aware of the fact that he 
might offend some forces who live and vote in that community. He 
knows that if he does not enforce it that it will only offend some de- 
prived temporary lielp who don't live and vote there. 

Reverend Bryant. That is right. 

Senator Mondale. There is no union to assert his rights. He is not 
politically powerful and most of them are culturally deprived and 
have low levels of education, training, et cetera. 

What would you say about their power in terms of labor availability ? 
Have there been efforts in which farmworkers have tried to assert their 
rights, and have been replaced, that you are aware of. 

Reverend Bryant. I have not seen any efforts of the farmworkers 
to assert their rights. I think they are about the most passive group of 
people I liave ever met in my life. I think the conditions in a bullpen 
make men like this. A bullpen is a room without discipline. It is where 
the bully rules, vchere the alcoholic throws up on the floor and there 
is broken glass on the floor. 

It is a place where you can't lock up your personal belongings, a 
place where you can't read a book. It is a place without furniture. I 
think the housing in itself degrades the man and dehumanizes him and 
finally renders him completely helpless to fight about anything. 

Senator Mondale. I think this is an element that is often ignored. 
We talked earlier about the visibility of the problems of the poor. It is 
the psychological and human destruction that finally brings a man to 
live a sort of shadow life where he dimly perceives his problems and 
is less able to assert his rights as we always assert them in our own 
communities. 

Wiat about your role. Reverend. You are a troublemaker in the 
community talking up for these people. How have you been received? 
I am the son of a Methodist minister and have a couple of ideas. 

Reverend Bryant. Let us put it this way. 



46 

In the early days when I tried to help the farmers get money from 
the Farmers Home Administration to rebuild that camp that was a 
deal where they wanted a 75 percent grant and 25 percent loan and 
then thought they were going to get a 66% percent grant and a 331/3 
percent loan, I was a hero and they took me out and wined and dined 
me. 

Senator Mondale. That is when they wanted Farmers Home Ad- 
ministration money. 

Reverend Bryant. That is when they wanted money. When we 
finally got a deal for them where they could get a 50 percent grant and 
a 50 percent loan they cried, "No deal." They didn't want that because 
it was going to cost them too much money. 

Senator Mondale. This is for housing ? 

Reverend Bryant. That was for the attempt in 1966 to rebuild the 
camps. So as long as I was on that side of it it was all right. 

But as soon as I began to put pressure on the farmers because of 
their closing of the child care center then I was becoming an enemy. 
'\'\rhen I wrote the task force committee proposal for Suffolk County 
the Task Force Committee on Migrancy, that is when I became politi- 
cally undesirable. 

Senator Mondale. Were there efforts to silence you ? 

Reverend Bryant. Yes, sir. 

Senator Mondale. How would these efforts be made ? 

Reverend Bryant. The effort was made primarily to dump me from 
the Human Relations Commission. There were also some efforts made 
following the film by some of the farmers to influence members of my 
church council to get me fired from my church. There were some efforts 
in the local newspaper to call me a political opportunist. 

There were some telephone calls in the middle of the night and things 
alongthis line. So far I have managed to survive. I think maybe it is 
because I have been out there 13 years. That is kind of a record. 

Senator Mondale. Have you received any help from State or na- 
tional associations of churches who might be interested since many of 
them are trying to do a better job of asserting interests ? 

Reverend Bryant. Well, on a State level, no ; not particularly. From 
my synod, the Metropolitan Synod of New York, I received consider- 
able help. 

For instance, we ran a legislative action campaign, circulated 
througliout all of our churches for contracts for workers, minimum 
wage on a par with other workers of the State, for coverage by the 
State Labor Relations Act, et cetera, and we got 5,000 signatures and 
through civic groups, et cetera, we were able to get approximately 
2,000 letters. 

Of course, the State ignored all this. It really produced no action. 
But now the Luthernn Church in America on its national level has 
what they call an ACT program, an acting crisis program which is 
set up to counterbalance the drop in economic opportunity funds on 
the governmental level and out of that I will be receiving approxi- 
mately $20,000 to provide me with an assistant and secretary and 
some travel expenses, et certera. 

Senator Mondale. Do farmworkers in this film, or in your com- 
munity, have legal help? Is there an OEO legal service program or 
maybe a bar association financed effort that permits them to turn to 
somebody when they think thei r I'ights are denied ? 



47 

Reverend Bryant. I had a very interesting experience. I headed 
the Suffolk Town VISTA project and I have had two attorneys as- 
signed to me. 

Senator Mondale. VISTA attorneys ? 

Reverend Bryant. Yes ; and VISTA did a very interesting thing. 
I told them in the first place they could offer legal advice but not try 
legal cases even though one had passed the bar in the State of New 
York. 

But VISTA provided no automobiles so I have men who have no 
access to legal libraries. 

Senator Mondale. Has a lawsuit been brought on behalf of the 
farmworkers in any respect ? 

Reverend Bryant. There was a lawsuit brought in upper New 
York for trespassing. 

Senator Mondale. But none in behalf of the farmworkers in your 
area ? 

Reverend Bryant. No. 

I know there is going to be some support from the United Auto- 
mobile Workers. There is going to be an attempt to organize the men. 
Money has been earmarked for this purpose not to organize them in 
the United Automobile Workers but to provide an organizer so that 
they can form their own union and then decide where they are going 
to belong. It is their choice, their thing. 

"Wliat will probably happen is that they will organize and then 
they will petition for the right of collective bargaining and they 
will be denied by the State of New York and then a constitutional 
issue will come up because New York State has some very interesting 
items in its constitution whicli suggest that this depriving of a seg- 
ment of the population of their rights may be unconstitutional. This 
kind of lawsuit will come up. 

Steve Doroski has told me that if I want to try the no-trespassing 
test he will be prepared to bring it all the way to the Federal courts. 

Senator Mondale. But at this point it is fair to say that the aver- 
age aggrieved farmworker in your community does not have avail- 
able to him an attorney to assert his rights. He can't afford it and 
there are no OEO legal services. 

You have VISTA attorneys to which you have made reference. 

Reverend Bryant. Who have been rendered ineffective. He really 
doesn't have any legal possibilities. He has access to legal-aid services 
if he can reach it, but not for the kind of cases that would change his 
condition. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, he might receive some personal 
assistance, but if it threatens the power structure, he won't. 

Senator Bellmon. 

Senator Bell^fon. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one question. 

Did you see an effort on the part of any farm organization to be- 
come involved in the effort to help migratory workers? 

Reverend Bryant. Any efforts on the part of a farm organization? 

Senator Bellmon. Yes ; Farmers Union, Farm Bureau ? 

Reverend Bryant. No: Farm Bureau has been dead set against 
anythinof we have for the farmworkers. T did find in Albany some 
sympathetic reaction from the Grange. T am a fifth-degree member 
of the Grange and from an upstate county and these are primarily 
nonusers of migrant laborers. 



48 

I think that segment of the farm population is kind of disgusted 
with what goes on in this other half of the farm population which 
says that it needs exploited labor in order to survive. 

I would like to make a couple of comments on some side things. 

One, I think looking over the economic picture since 1935, I think 
that the farmer, the small farmer has been hurt as much as the farm 
laborer by the denial of the Labor Relations Act. 

It has been the big man, the big processor who is able to take the 
most advantage of exploited labor. He runs a much more economical 
operation and there has been a constant pattern as recorded by 
the task force committee in New Jersey of large farms swallowing 
up small ones. 

It has been a constant thing and it is happening in my area and 
has been happening in upstate New York where the large grower 
takes over the small one and the small grower has no bargaining 
powers with his processor, 

I think the powerlessness has affected the farmer as well as it has 
affected the farmworker. I think, too, that some study ought to be 
made of the effect of farm labor when it is introduced into a new 
community because a pastor friend of mine pointed out what hap- 
pened in a community in Pennsylvania, I believe Media, but I am 
not certain. 

He remembered when farm labor was brought in and these God- 
fearing Pennsylvania Dutch men began to use this kind of labor. 

Before they had the labor, anything went wrong on the farm they 
always said : 

I must have sinnned. There is something wrong. There is something wrong. 
There has to be something bad here with my relations with God. 

But once they had the labor then a new thing happened. They be- 
came junior executives. They would go downtown and have a beer and 
say, ''You know what that damn labor did today" and complain. 

What my friend noted was that he seemed to see in that community 
an increase in the divorce rate because attitudes changed toward wives 
and I have caught glimpses of this with several of the members of 
the board of directors of this cooperative. 

There are stories that I would rather not tell you now. Their rela- 
tionship toward their wives became one where they were the boss, she 
was to jump around, and the relationship m the church where you 
know in the German communities there has always been the Herr 
Pastor, the honored leader of the community, and in that community 
the pastor became sort of an ecclesiastical office boy, and I am con- 
vinced that for instance in a community like ours police become cor- 
rupted. If they have to pass by the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages 
or they may be called into raid a crap game that is held in the bull 
pen and ignore the crap game that the crew leader is running over in 
the other building, there is a corruption that takes place and if it 
takes place there it has to take place in other areas of the community. 

There is sort of a withdrawal on the part of the farmers. Instead of 
being aggressive people in their marketing, et cetera, they have a guilt, 



49 

and I tliink that it holds them back from their free expression or their 
free develo])ment. 

I think the farmer and the farm community has been as much the 
loser as the farmworker but I don't think they realize it. 

Senator Moxdale, Well, I should say for the record that the Farmers 
Union (NFU), and the National Farmers Organization (NFO), have 
both indicated support of the National Labor Relations Act inclusion 
"which I think shows some of the concern for the average family 
farmer. 

Reverend Bryant. Along those lines though I know that there is 
a new farm labor Relations Act being proposed. My personal feeling 
is that in every area of the farmworker's life he has had laws passed 
for him that are separate and unequal from the rest of the population. 
These laws are for the most part parallel to slave laws that were built 
up by Great Britain just prior to our Revolution. 

Most of these laws would be completely unnecessary if the worker 
had the same rights and opportunities as any other human being. If 
he is to be included in the Labor Relations Act it should be the 1935 
Labor Relations Act, the Wagner Act. 

Senator Mondale. That is what the Senate bill, S. 8, provides. 

Reverent Bryant. This is what it has to be and it cannot be a 
separate thing which gives him no power to strike in the harvest. 
Once they sign a contract, all contracts, the United Farm Workers 
have a no strike, no lockout clause. At that time they ought to have, 
you know. 

There is nothing to worry about in a strike of harvest time with a 
union which has a contract. The only time you have worries about 
strikes is when the contract is violated or the contract is dropped. If 
a Labor Relations Act comes into being which forbids strikes at key 
times then the people have no power and it is useless. 

My trade is commercial fishing. I have lived on the forecastle. I have 
worked with farmhands who came out of the State of Maine, potato 
pickers. I know the struggle that the Atlantic Fishermen's Union went 
through in order to get decent living conditions, to get sound boats 
that we could go out on and not be sunk. 

I see strong parallels between the fight of the fishermen for their 
rights and the fight of the farmworkers for their rights. I cannot un- 
derstand why we make food more sacred than life. 

The food seems to be such a particularly important item that we al- 
ways have to protect it. Wlien we were fishermen if we had to dump 
a catch in order to prove a point we dumped it and we went broke but 
we made our point and gained our rights and I see no reason why farm 
labor can't do the same thing. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you very much, gentlemen, for an excel- 
lent contribution. Reverend Bryant, we will place your prepared state- 
ment in the record at this point, I along with some of the documents 
that you have filed with the subcommittee. 

(The prepared statement of Reverend Bryant along with other per- 
tinent material follows :) 



50 

Prfpared STATE^rENT OF Eev. Arthur C. Bryant, Pastor, St. Peter's Luthern 
Chuech, Geeenpoet, N.Y. ; Vice-Chaieman, Suffolk County Human Rela- 
tions Commission; Chairman, Southold Town VISTA Peoject 

Poverty and Powerlessness, U.S.A. 

POWEELESSNESS 

The last time I saw Charlie White, a central figure in the documentary 
•'AVhat Harvest for the Reaper?", he was bedridden at the Eastern Long Island 
Hospital and hoping to overcome his pneumonia. That was in December 1968. 
Charlie had left Andrew Anderson's crew and gone to work for Isaiah Moore. 
He contracted pneumonia while working in an unheated, toiletless potato shed in 
Peconic, L.I. I asked him whether he had received his workmen's comi)ensation 
as yet. He said he hope to get it within a few days. This 74 year old man, former 
construction worker, had entered the migrant stream at the age of 72 because he 
didn't want to go on the dole and his daughters in Florida had too little money 
to care for him. Within a few days of his arrival at Cutchogue he lost a finger 
while loading a truck at the camp. There was a dispute between the crew leader 
and the farmer over who was responsible for compensation. The legal aid society 
was consulted and Charlie was advised to not leave New York State if he wanted 
to receive his compensation. So, two years later, an old man with pneumonia 
was waiting to receive his way out momentarily. 

In April 19G9, I spoke with Alfonso Terrell at the Cutchogue Labor camp. Al- 
fonso, brother of prize fighter Ernest Terrell, had lost a finger. He said it wasn't 
so bad while he was at the hospital because he received his meals regularly and 
had a clean bed. But at the camp he had no money and could see his indebted- 
ness mounting beyond the point where he would ever be able to repay. It had 
been several weeks and thei-e was no compensation in sight. Jubilee, from the 
Aquebogue camp, who had also lost a finger, though that his situation was worse 
than Terrell's. His crew leader had asked him to leave the camp. He found a 
Riverliead family willing to take him in. But in three weeks he had received only 
$]!).( !0 from the workmen's compensation board. 

Powerlessness is the story of Myrtle Lee Grant. Like many others who are in 
migrancy because they are marked by a physical infirmity (epilepsy is all too 
common). Myrtle came into migrancy because there was no place left to go. 
Myrtle was mute. At age 45, however, Myrtle was happy because VISTA volun- 
teer Gay Krisman was teaching her how to read and write and there seemed to 
be a way out. But on Sunday, January 14, 1968, she and James and Gussie Far- 
rell burned to death in a crowded shack called the Jacob's camp in Bridgehamp- 
ton. Henry Jacobs had 31 heating and sanitary violations filed against his camp 
over a ijeriod of two years by the Suffolk County Health Department, but a local 
justice of the peace had granted postponements on court action through the en- 
tire period until a space heater exploded on that bitterly cold day. Two notes 
on that fire which engulfed fourteen people, injured three and killed three. One 
was that a door had been nailed shut to keep out the draft and the other was 
that Myrtle died without being able to cry. 

James McNeil died in a Bridgehampton fire just two weeks ago. He had escaped 
the 1968 fire. The landlord and the man whe sub-let the one room shack argued 
about whose responsibility it was to pay for electricity. The lights were shut off 
and James McNeil was using candles. 

An interesting sequence to the Bridgehampton burning was the Cutchogue 
freezing. Isaiah Moore, successor to Andrew Anderson at the Cox Lane camp was 
well aware of the danger of a space heater exploding. Like many other crew 
leaders in the area, he kept the beat turned down during the cold spell in order 
to be on the safe side. But one day five of his men said that they were too sick 
to get out of bed and this annoyed Isaiah because he would lose GO(f: a head when 
they didn't report to work. So he said that they were not going to stay there and 
use his kerosene. And then he disconnected the fuel line to the space heater. The 
men huddled in bed all day and when one of the others returned I received a 
telephone call about the incident. I called the health department. But it was too 
late. Within two weeks three of the men died. However, the health department 
did impose a penalty. The investigation showed that the fuel line was piped above 
the floor and this was dangerous. Isaiah was told that he had to re-pipe the line 
under the floor so that no-one would trip over it. 



51 

We called the Governor's Inter-departmental committee on Migrant Labor and 
the New York State Division of Human Rights to investigate the case of James 
Bittle who died several hours after he was refused admission to the Central 
Suffolk Hospital. The 41 year old laborer from the James Brown camp in Aque- 
bogue complained of fever, chest pains, and diflSculty breathing. But the emer- 
gency ward doctor said that it was just something going around, prescribed 
aspirin and oral penicillin and sent the man back to the camp with instructions 
to see a physician in the morning. The report of the State H R Division showed 
that the hospital did not discriminate against black people and the autopsy report 
showed that the man had died of "fatty liver". Although any good medical book 
will tell us that cirosis of the liver is caused by either malnutrition or poisoning 
(such as insecticide poisoning), the County Medical examiner told the news- 
papers that this condition is caused by being "too long on the juice". After the 
case was closed, the Riverhead supervisor said he resented having the State 
brought in to a local incident and having the good name of the hospital threatened. 
Except for the forty migrants who attended the funeral service, none of the good 
people of the town resented the death of the black man. As Warren Sayre, a 
Bridgehampton potato farmer said when the fire destroyed the silent body of 
Myrtle Lee Grant : "It's an unfortunate incident, but it's their own fault. They're 
just a bunch of winos and you know what happens when they get wound up." 

LEGISLATED SERFDOM 

Webster's defines "serf" : a person adscript to the soil and more or less subject 
to the will of the owner. When I asked Governor Nelson Rockefeller why farm 
workers were omitted from the New York State Labor Relations Act of 1937 
and then subjected to a series of slave laws separate and unequal to the laws 
governing the stable population, I spoke of the misery created by the nasty space 
requirements, the unequal minimum wage, the omission of field hands from un- 
employment insurance, the inadequate fire controls, and the legislated poor diet. 
The Governor replied that the laws were enacted to help the plight of the de- 
pressed farmer and not to create misery for the farm worker. The Governor was 
right. That was the historical situation. However, both the National Labor Rela- 
tions Act exclusion and the various state labor relations Acts with their exclusions 
produced a serious problem for a democratic society. When the great bulk of our 
citizens had their inalienable rights of citizenship enhanced by the right of col- 
lective bargaining, those without the right became second class citizens and the 
states found it necessary to produce a body of slave laws similar to those of 
Great Britain in the 1770's. Migrants caught up in the stream are powerless 
politically, voteless because they are homeless. They are also powerless eco- 
nomically because they are deprived of the right of collective bargaining. And 
because they are powerless economically they frequently become powerless to 
break away and enter into the main stream of American life. They are serfs sub- 
ject to the will of the owner and even the finest paternalistic measures accomplish 
nothing to remove the chains of slavery. Back in 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah 
wrote: "Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep 
writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of 
my people of their right, that they may make the fatherless their prey, and that 
widows may be their spoil." (Is 10:1, 2) In 1969, the poor of my people are 
robbed of their right and find themselves powerless before un-equal laws. 

RAGE. SUPPRESSED AND REPRESSED 

One workman in the dnoumentary "What Harvest for the Reaper?" expresses 
consciously suppressed anger when he says "It hurts you inside to get insulted, 
to get drug down like this." He releases his anger in an acceptable way when he 
leads the camp in the signing of old prison songs. Sometimes he gets it out 
of his system by ordering weaker men around. He is angry because he has no way 
to force the crew leader to pay him a wage other men in the camp receive. 
Finally he uses his controlled rage to con a friend into financing his way out of 
the migrant stream. He survives. His more pleasant fellow worker says : "You 
know what I think? I think it's going to be a better world some day. It's going to 
be a better world some day !" But this man has driven his rage down deep, 
repressed and hidden it where it can't escape. His range is turned against himself 
because he is powerless to stand up to his crew leader, powerless to stand up 
to his fellow workers, powerless to change his life. So he has continued with 



52 

tbe stream and moved to a tin-shed camp in Riverhead where a woman is the 
crew leader. He said to me : 'She's worse than Andrew ever was", and then he 
drank from his pint of Twister. He no longer has choice. He must commit suicide 
slowly or quickly. He hates the powerlessness within himself. He hates himself. 
His dream of a better world will not be in this world. 

Occassionally we get glimpses of migrant life. The bull pen is a study in itself. 
No prison was ever better designed to destroy the identity of a human being. 
It is the place where the bully rules, where the alcoholic throws up on the 
floor, where the T.B. victim coughs in everybody's face. It is the dimly lit room 
without furniture except beds. There is no place to read a book, no closet to 
lock up one's personal belongings, no family, no love, no hope. The State of New- 
York is advanced in that it now prescribes 50 square feet of floor space per 
man although there is no provision in the state sanitary code for a reading or 
a recreational room. Most states have now accepted the totally unacceptable 
standard of 40 square feet prescribed by the U.S. Employment Service. The city 
of New York requires eighty square feet of space for any child above the age 
of two. When growers protest the destructiveness of the migrant w-orker in 
the bull pen. it never seems to occur to them that the crowded, undisciplined 
minimal standards for bull pen housing are in themselves destructive, violent 
attacks upon humanit.v which deserve some form of reciprocation. 

Workmen Charlie White complains about his inability to keep any of his 
money and counts up the costs of food and lodging and blanket fees and then 
speaks of the cost of soda before he says "Andrew's got it all". What is hidden 
here is the State law which limits to $16 the cost of food per week per man. 
Andrew and many others like him have found a way to beat the system. He 
serve the food with no beverage, no milk, no coffee, no water. He sells an 8^ can 
of soda to a man for 25?^ if the purchase is cash, S54 on credit. In a number of 
camps bottles of Twister or Ariba, 51«^ a pint, are made available on the bever- 
ageless table. This costs $1.00 cash, $1.25 on credit. A man living in a camp two 
miles from the nearest store is powerless to fight the system. For many men the 
rage is repressed and the wine is preferred and eventually the anger within is 
only released by death. 

When racial troubles flared up at the firemen's block party in my village of 
Greenport, the rumor swept through the crowd that an angry band of migrants 
from the Cutchogne Labor Camp were coming into town in a pickup truck. I 
couldn't believe th;!t this was pos.sible. But the troopers thought they had better 
check it out anyway. At the camp they found the men sleeping, unaware of the 
outside world. But had they found the men awake and aware, it would have 
changed nothing. No group is more powerless. No group has suppressed its rage 
more deeply. 

MIGRANCY IS A COAIMUNITY SICKNESS 

I was asked to process a complaint filed with the New York State Human 
Rights Commission three years ago. A re.staurant in Orient, Long Island, distrib- 
uted menus with a reprint of an article from the New York Mirror which said 
that the meals at the inn were superior and then praised the atmosphere of the 
place. The article said that the view from the windows, with darkies working in 
the fields, brought back a deep nostalgia for the old south. The State Commission 
asked the Suffolk Commission to persuade the owner to remove a piece of litera- 
ture offensive to many of our citizens. So I drove out to see to a man I had 
known over a period of years to talk reasonably with him. But when I arrived, 
I found the inn locked and the windows boarded. I a.sked neighbors what had 
happened and learned that the owner had received a copy of the letter sent to 
our conmiission, became infuriated, ordered his guests to leave, fired his help, 
and went out to get drunk. The old inn remains closed. 

I was the spokesman for the Eastern Suffolk Co-operative when the farmers 
sought to obtain a loan-grant package from tlie Farmer's Home Admiiiistration 
in 19f)6. When the original request for a $70,000 grant, $25,000 load to rebuild 
the camp was turned down, local FHA officials told myself and the farmers that 
it would be possible to obtain a 60% grant, 34% long term loan. But then the 
administrative ruling came through that only non-profit co-operatives and 
municipalities would be eligible to receive a grant. The farmers came to my office 
to tell me that the whole thing had fallen through and shortly afterward a New 
York Times reporter called to check on the progress we were making toward 
re-building the largest migrant camp in Suffolk County. I told him that we were 



53 

stopped ill our tracks and that the real losers were not the farmers but the 
migrants. It seemed a shame that the country's legislators had voted large sums 
of money to correct the scandal of migrant housing and the Department of Agri- 
culture had set administrative rulings to prevent the money from being spent 
for its intended purposes. The Article appeared in a Sunday issue of the Times 
and created quite a flurry of public concern. A representative from the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture called me to arrange a re-negotiation and, quite apart from 
this, I received a call from Senator Robert Kennedy's office offering to put heads 
together on this problem. A meeting was held in Senator Kennedy's office and I 
was asked to represent County Executive H. Lee Dennison and the farmers. At 
this meeting, after much discussion and a number of long distance telephone 
calls, an agreement was reached to provide a loan-grant combination for the 
housing at the Cox Lane camp in Cutchogue. But then I asked about percentages. 
The FHA officials said that there would be a 50% loan, 50% grant. The farmers 
said : "No deal unless the grant is 60%. Senator Kennedy's staff agreed to search 
for the $17,000 difference and I drafted a proposal which was sent to 100 founda- 
tions. Only the Ford Foundation responded and their comment was that they 
would fund programming, but not bricks and mortar. The farmers rejected a 
plan for a social services trained manager for the camp to replace the crew 
leader on the grounds that the savings in money would be off-set by the trouble 
the man would cause. Our new CAP agency had recently been incorporated in 
Greenport and we offered to inter-relate with the farm co-operative, form a non- 
profit co-operative not dominated by growers as the Department of Agriculture 
had specified in its administrative principles. The farmers rejected this pro- 
cedure as an attempt to take their power of control away from them. I ap- 
proached the town fathers with a plan to either have the town apply for funds 
to build and operate a humane camp or allow a non-profit citizens agency to do 
the same. I was told that this would be impossible because zoning ordinances 
forbid the establishment of new camps. Finally the re-building attempt ground to 
a halt and the delapidation in the camp continued. 

In 1967 the co-operative attempted to close the New York State child care 
center at the camp on the grounds that tliey were receiving insufficient rent for 
the space. I protested through the news media and finally compronii.sed for half 
the building to be used for a child care center. The other half was taken over 
by a second crew brought into the camp. Following the film, the child care 
center was abandoned entirely. 

In the fall of 1967, the Suffolk County Labor Department released its report 
on migrant labor. The report showed that migrants only averaged 26 working 
hours per week during the season but also noted that migrants seem to have been 
taken out of the bottom of the barrel. I was amazed at the callousness of the 
report and re-acted by writing a proposal that the County establish a task force 
committee on migrancy to intensively study the problems and devise ways to 
relieve the condition of the existing labor force while establishing a plan to phase 
out migrancy so that local labor would be utilized. I asked that migrants, grow- 
ers, church groups, county agencies, and civil rights groups be represented on 
the task force. The supervisors rejected the plan until the Bridgehampton fire 
forced them to bring it out of the desk drawer. Then the County established the 
Seasonal Farm Labor Commission, carefully excluded myself and the migrants 
from participation in the commission, and met bi-weekly until May, 1968. Al- 
though a positive vote was taken l)y that commission to encourage inclusion of 
the farm laborers in the National Labor Relations Act for perhaps because such 
a vote was taken) the report of the commission has not been released as of this 
date. 

I suppose that a visitor to a migrant camp is often repelled by the alcoholism 
prevalent. What he often does not realize is that the alcoholic farm worker is 
not the input but the end product of a .system. What he does not realize is that 
the alcoholic migrant is symptomatic of a sickness in our society which regards 
slaverv with nostalgia. What he does not realize is that a penalty is paid by the 
whole" society when any segment is brutalized and forgotten. The most obvious 
most obvious effects on the overall community are the monetary costs for health, 
welfare, crime and delinquency: but beyond that the migrant system scars the 
souls of the masters as well as the slaves. 

A Pastor hailing from a Pennsylvania Dutch community suggested that a 
study ought to be made of a community newly injected with a migrant labor 
force. He spoke of a town he knew where honorable. God-fearing farmers built 
a migrant camp some years back. He could remember the change when men, who 



54 

once confessed their sins when crops did not flourish, became junior executives 
when they had migrants working under them. When things went wrong they 
went out for a beer and said to each other : "Do you know what that damn mi- 
grant did today?" Suddenly they had someone to blame. The Pastor noted that 
separations and divorces seemed to increase when the junior executives adopted 
a complaining attitude toward their wives. He felt that the role of a Pastor in 
that town degenerated from spiritual leader to ecclesiastical office boy. He 
wondered how any community could escape corruption with a migrant system 
in operation. I thought of that conversation with an old Pastor when I learned 
that a justice of the peace had no sense of justice for migants caught in a fire 
trap. I wondered what force is in effect in a state which year after year allows 
farm labor bills to die in committee without legislators even bringing them to a 
democratic vote. I wonder about police forces unconcerned about the illegal sale 
of alcoholic beverages. How does this affect their operation in the remainder of 
the community? 

The white community often asks why the black community does not go out to 
help their brothers in distress. The black churches in a migrant community are 
notorious for their separation from the migrants. An owner of a particularly 
ugly camp in Riverhead was elected President of his NAAOP unit as though his 
role in migrancy had nothing to do with the civil rights issue. But then, we have 
to realize what the black man instinctively realizes, that the four million black 
people excluded as domestics and farm laborers from the Labor Relations Act 
corresponds directly with the four million count of slaves in 1860. Any black man 
who identifies himself with migrant labor runs the risk of marking himself 
with the stain of slavery. 

SOME LOCAL REACTIONS TO itlGBANT PUBLICITT 

The proposal for a Task Force Committee on Suffolk migrancy brought imme- 
diate negative re-actions from local politicians. Bryant had gone too far this time 
and the exclusion of myself from the task force committee represented a delib- 
erate withdrawal of support from both parties on a local level. The first showing 
of the film on NET brought the comment from one supervisor that I had done more 
damage to Suffolk County than any man in a hundred years. Since my term was 
running out on the Human Relations Commission, I was informed that I would 
not be re-appointed. 

The farmers organized a truth squad and made their own presentation when- 
ever they learned that the film was going to be shown. They complained that the 
strawberry pickers had actually received $30 for a day's work instead of $6, as 
though $5 apiece for six man represented a living wage. They complained that the 
$3,000 per acre figure quoted in the film sounded like crop value rather than land 
value, but they did not speak about the annual increase of land valuation which 
represents profits whether a crop is grown or not. They did not point out the error 
I had made when I said that two men died in a fire in the camp when actually 
four had died. They said that they had been misled into participating in the film, 
but did not acknowledge that they had signed releases for all their statements. 
They obtained the help of the County Agricultural agent and showed slides of 
good buildings in some camps, but never depicted the internal conditions of the 
bull pens. They hired a lawyer to make sure that they did not say anything to 
incriminate themselves. They made their presentation to the Task Force Com- 
mittee and to the joint legislative committee on migrant labor in Albany. 

An organization known as the Sons of Liberty (a breakoff from the too liberal 
John Birch Society) distributed a mimeo flyer on the windshield wipers of every 
car parked at the Patchogue railroad station. The "Who's Who in Open Hous- 
ing" paper named seven evil people working for the Communist ideal and said 
that I was advocating government takeover of farm land and proposing collec- 
tive farming as in Red China. 

The Directors of the Eastern Suffolk Co-operative had stayed up quite late one 
night to watch my appearance on the Alan Burke show with Dolores Huerta of 
the United Farm Workers. So they invited me to a meeting without telling me 
the purpose ahead of time. Because the rumor had spread that I was going to 
receive a second scar on my head to match the one I had received in an auto . 
accident in Cutchogue, I asked two large VISTA lawyers to accompauy me for 
body-guards or legal advice, whatever ensued. The farmers were represented by a 
well dressed man who spoke of laws for a while and then revealed himself to be 
a leader in the John Birch Society. The purpose of the meeting was to inform me 



55 

that my TV association with Mrs. Huerta suggested communist entanglements. 

Steve Doroslvi called one night to inform me that he had agreement from Coun- 
cilmen in my Church that I was to be fired. As a matter of fact, two Church 
Councilmen resigned their posts and giving dropped off in the Church. But the 
bulk of the congregation voted to apply for program funds from the Lutheran 
Church in America to provide an assistant minister and a secretary to work at 
the migrant problem. 

The Greenport Rotary Club and people in Greenport in general showed a half 
hearted support for attempts to rid Southold Town of migrancy. Greenport School 
is twenty-per cent black in the grades and one man thought it would be useful to 
stop these people from moving in. The suggestion of violence came from many 
sides in Southold, though, and one under-taker spent an evening telling me that 
he didn't want to have my funeral service. But violence did not come. Only pres- 
sure, suggestions above moving, and an occasional telephone call asking about 
the health of that Nigger loving Pastor. 

THE BUEEIAUCBATIC SIDESTEP 

A pattern seems to emerge every time light is shed on some separate and un- 
equal treatment of farm workers. As a sample, consider Suffolk establishing a 
Farm Labor Commission with the voice of the grower but without the voice of 
the migrants whose destiny is involved. There seems to be a kind of bureaucratic 
sidestep when there is an issue. A structure is set up which seems to answer the 
outcry of the public. But the structure is only an optical illusion. 

A prime example is the grant project which was provided by the Federal 
government for housing codes for the State of New York under Section 314 of the 
Housing Act of 1954. The State was supposed to study existing experience in 
developing standards for transient housing, including hotels, motels, boatels, 
travel trailer parks, and migratory worker camps ; and based upon this study 
to develop model standards for such housing and procedures for their enforce- 
ment and administration ; and to publish and distribute such standards and 
procedures. The cost of the project was to be $121,746, with the Federal share 
$81,164 and the State to make up the balance. 

The draft of the model code in 1964 and 1966 included migratory farm worker 
camps in the category of transient housing. But in 1967 all references to migrants 
had been dropped from the code. A protest was made by radio WMCA and the 
Suffolk Sun, but this went unheeded. Then a group of people representing human 
relations commissions, anti-poverty agencies, civil rights groups and major unions 
fired off a telegram to Washington protesting the deliberate omission of migrants 
from New York State's Transient Housing code. Finally, information was re- 
leased to the press that migrants would indeed be covered by New York's hous- 
ing code. 

To understand the situation fully, it must be understood that New York's 
housing code originally was slated to include three chapters. One was for small 
cities, a second was for townships, a third was for transients. When Southold 
Town, for instance, adopted its housing code, there was a clear exemption for 
migrant labor camps. When I pressed the town board on this issue, it was ex- 
plained that the omission came about only because migrants were to be covered 
under the provisions of chapter 3 for transients. Since the town serves many 
tourists, it seemed that the need for covering them would automatically work 
a change for the betterment of migrant camp conditions. But this was not to be 
the case. The State simply used federal funds to finance a new chapter 4 of the 
State housing code designed to cover migrants only. This made it easy for rural 
communities to establish laws for the protection of tourists without having to 
disturb local farmers. Since the migrants have no lobby, there is little possibility 
that the towns will ever enact the beautiful words of chapter 4 into law. And 
so a fairly large siun of federal and state money was spent to create an optical 
illusion. 

In July, 1967, the U.S. Employment service announced that at the beginning 
of the new year it would require 50 square feet of living space for each migrant 
processed. The statement in itself was only dressing in that the Employment 
service has no power of enforcement except that it may withhold labor after 
three years of violations. However, the word had spread and the notice provided 
a convenient excuse for the Health Department of New York when its archaic 
space requirements came under attack in "What Harvest for the Reaper?" In 
response to pressure relative to the housing code and pressure from citizens who 
had viewed the film, New York amended its Chapter 15 of the Sanitary code 



56 

through administrative procedure within the health department and prescribed 
50 square feet of living space for migrants housed in camps of five or more 
persons. Shortly thereafter, under considerable pressure from the farm lobby, 
the U.S. Employment service reduced its standards to 40 square feet. But it was 
too late for lobbies in the State of New York. 

Even though 50 square feet of space (the size of the top of a pool table) is an 
affront to human dignity, the farmers complained that the cost for remodeling 
camp housing was prohibitive. Now, this is understandable. Any time a man 
pays more for something than it is worth to him, the cost is prohibitive. Since 
potatoes are worth more than human lives on the market, storage sheds are 
usually well-ventilated, buttressed, concrete buildings in excellent repair. Mi- 
grant housing, world war I barracks, shacks, abandoned buses, etc. reflect a 
sense of important values in our society. Costs for people are always prohibitive 
and sometimes this can be used to persuade the democratically elected repre- 
sentatives of the people. So Senator Theodore Day of New York's committee on 
Agriculture and Markets joined to Senator Earle Brydges of the Rules Com- 
mittee and introduced a remedial bill in the New York Senate. Assemblyman 
Walkley of Wyoming County introduced its companion to the assembly in the 
1969 session of the legislature. The James Bond license to kill bill proposed that 
camps licensed in 1967 (before the change in the sanitary code) would be 
allowed ten years before having to conform to the new standards of the Health 
Department. An attempt was made to create a new optical illusion, allow the 
public to think that things had changed while in fact they hadn't. However, 
word leaked out and public pressure stopped this effort in committee. 

But one bill was passed in New York which caused many fellow Pastors to 
congratulate me on a victory. This was the bill which provided a $1.40 minimum 
wage for farm workers. Again, we saw a prize example of legislative slight of 
hand. Suffolk workers are already getting $1.57 an hour average wage. Some 
are earning as high as $1.70 an hour. The illusion comes into focus when you 
move through the body of laws protecting farm workers. The rule is that the 
minimum always becomes the maximum. The rule applies in housing standards, 
nutrition, and in wage scales. The wage rate will tend to reduce pay rather than 
increase it. And this is further complicated by the existence of down time which 
allows pay to stop on the job when machinery stops. Thus a worker may put in 
an eight hour day and only be paid for four so that $1.40 an hour in many cases 
will actually mean only 70(f an hour in the paycheck. And this will be further 
diminished by the absence of a work week contract in the industry. A man 
trapped in housing two thousand miles from his home is used like a high school 
boy who mows lawns. His minimum hourly pay has little to do with his take 
home pay at the end of a week. And finally, by what logic of thinking do we 
decide that $1.60 is the minimum necessary to keep a resident worker from 
starving while a transient needs only $1.40? 

Anti-poverty projects are on the surface a boon to the farm labor community. 
But they are prohibited from unionizing activities and thus have no way to allow 
the worker a say in his own destiny. Bandaid projects multiply in number, but 
little changes. Projects are set up to train men for carpentry, plumbing, electri- 
cal wiring, etc., but no way is found for the men to increase their earning power 
within the industry and only occasionally do we find ways to help a man escape 
from the industry. Much is made about correcting illiteracy, and this is good. 
But other uneducated men earn $3.50 an hour at auto industry jobs and still 
others earn $4.50 an hour at the proving grounds in Nevada. It is only an illusion 
to suppose that a man who learns how to drive a tractor will ever be able to 
earn a livable income as long as he pursues farm labor as an occupation. 

A grower sits on the personnel committee of the committee which will ad- 
minister title 3 anti-poverty projects for the State of New York. Two winters 
ago he denied heat to his Puerto Rican laborers and a local citizen drove a bus 
into the camp to rescue the men. Perhaps he's reformed and we must not condemn 
a man for his past sins. But no farm laborer sits on that committee to protect 
his own rights. 

On May 15, 1969, I introduced the following resolution to the Second Annual 
Conference of State Directors of Migrant Education at Atlantic City, New 
Jersey: 

Whereas the Second Annual Conference of State Directors of Migrant Educa- 
tion, representing 47 States, is committed to relieving the poverty and power- 
lessness of migrant farm labor families through educational process and 



57 

Whereas close association with farm labor families has revealed that the 
principal obstacle to meaningful change in a farm laborer's life is the system 
)f separate and unequal laws which deny him full citizenship rights aud op- 
portunities enjoyed by others in this country, to wit: (1) He is excluded from 
^he protection of the National Labor Relations Act and therefore cut off from 
luy voice in his economic destiny, (2) He is paid a minimum wage determined 
jy law to be substantially less than that provided for other Americans and (3) 
de is housed in buildings deemed unfit for permanent residents and, according 
to law, lives under crowded conditions which hinder his full human develop- 
nent; we therefore support all legislation written to provide the farm worker 
ivith rights and opportunities equal to that of other Americans. We favor in- 
clusion of the farm laborer under the 1933 National Labor Relations Act but 
oppose a separate and unequal Farm Labor Relations Act now in congressional 
committee as a basically inadequate proposal." 

The reactions were a fascinating study of fear within the bureaucracy. An 
attempt was made to amend the resolution so that the first '•whereas" would be 
Dmitted and the resolution would end with the words : "educational process." 
A man stood up to explain that the whole philosophy of migrant education was 
contained in the resolution. If educators were not committed to setting free the 
migrant, then they must restrict themselves to educate only to adjustment in 
slavery. The amendment was defeated. A number of speakers stood up to speak 
about having only a delicate relationship with the growers which they didn't 
want to endanger. Such a resolution might make the camp "no trespassing" 
signs apply to teachers. A resolution was then made to refer the resolution to 
the executive committee of seventeen states for action at lunch. The committee 
of seventeen then voted to table action and once again we saw the bureaucratic 
sidestep. 

SUFFOLK'S HOT POTATO 

Following the film, I led a legislative action program to secure petition signa- 
tures and letters to key legislators. During the 15)69 session of the legislature 
[ gathered 5,000 petition signatures and stimulated approximately two thousand 
letters on behalf of migrant legislation with special emphasis upon removing the 
exclusion of farm laborers from the NT Labor Relations Act of 1937. I also 
personally wrote twice to each state senator and assemblyman. ( )f eour.^e all 
bills were finally killed in committee because I did not have enough awareness 
of proper key people outside of the legislature. In April, I joined with the Suf- 
folk Council of Churches and Seasonal Employees in Agriculture (a title III 
program) in inviting Congressman Alard Lowenstein of the congressional agri- 
cultural committee to investigate migrant camp conditions. And then the word 
came through that a replacement had been arranged to take my place on the 
Suffolk Human Relations Commission, that the farmers had circulated petitions 
for the man, and that word had down from "high up" and through many com- 
mittees to my town supervisor that I must be replaced. Word also came through 
that my principal defender in the other party had rescinded his decision to block 
my replacement. Then this appeared in the newspapers. Letters and telegrams 
in support came from the Federated Unions of Long Island, the League of 
Women Voters, the University Women, the Civil Rights Co-ordinating Com- 
mittee, and from many key union and political officials. Suffolk CORE and 
NAACP offered to picket the home of each of the ten supervisors if I was 
dumped and finally a meeting was held between the Suffolk Human Relations 
Commission and the Suffolk Board of Supervisors. The issue was not Bryant, 
but migrants. The meeting ended in a stalemate with the replacement with- 
drawing and the supervisors not making a re-appointment. It's an open question 
whether an unpaid position on a Human Relations Commission makes me a civil 
servant or civil enemy. 

NEW CHURCH AND UNION CONCERN 

As of this month, the Lutheran Church in America has funded St. Peter's 
Lutheran Church, Greenport, N.Y., to operate a program of mission, social mis- 
sion, and legislative programming on behalf of the 24,000 migrant workers who 
enter the State of New York annually. The $20,000 package includes funds for an 
assistant minister, a secretary, and office and traveling expenses. As of next 
month, Mr. Charles Kerrigan of the United Automobile Workers, has promised 
UAW funds for the organization of farm workers into their own indigenous 

36-513— 70— pt. 1 5 



58 

union. Whether the workers elect to affiliate with the United Farm Workers of 
California or to establish themselves locally as an independent organization is a 
matter for the workers to decide themselves. There will also be an attempt to 
educate state labor organizations at the grass roots level concerning labor's 
commitment to the farm laborer. In addition, efforts will be made by the New 
York State OEO to establish Suffolk County as a model community for migrant 
workers. A group of doctors are now formulating plans to relieve the nutritional 
problems of migrant workers and treat the symptomatic depression that usually 
afflicts the worker. A group of nuns are seeking to establish nursing services for 
migrants. A number of college students are establishing a migrant service center 
to act in an ombudman role for the workers. The Health Department has agreed 
to rigorously enforce existing code requirements. A number of activist women 
have agreed to be present at all court trials relative to camp violations and alert 
the public to unnecessary postponements which endanger the lives of human 
beings. The newspapers are watching the situation closely and the support of 
the Long Island Catholic is especially encouraging. Reinhold Van Dyke of the 
Long Island Council of Churches reports that he will have a social worker to 
assist him as migrant co-ordinator. And, in general, the picture looks more favor- 
able on the East Coast than it has in years. 

let's end the atrocities 

It Is with great gratitude that I. for one, receive this invitation to speak be- 
fore a friendly and powerful group of legislators. I remember my part in the 
fight to gain rights and decent living conditions for the fishermen who worked 
out of New Bedford, Boston and New York. We knew what it meant to work 
under a crew leader who could break watches at will and cause us to work for 
three and four days without sleep. We knew what it meant to be far away from 
home with no way of escape under harsh conditions. But we had a union — and 
although our educational level was low — we fought our battle and obtained the 
kind of rights we knew we needed. I see no essential difference between agricul- 
tural workers and fishermen in their right to strike at harvest time so that life 
is shown to be more important than food. I remember my ten friends who sunk 
on the hulk called the "Gayhead" and the eleven men who went down on the 
"Margie and Pat" which was held together with guy wires. I see no difference 
between them and the migrants who burn in shacks, who drink for relief from 
physical and nutritional torture, who know the lonliness of life without a fam- 
ily. I am a fisherman and I had the Labor Relations Act to protect me. When I 
walk into a migrant camp, I am re-living my past. But I had a way out. I am 
an American and so I have rights. My farm labor friends, Myrtle Lee Grant, 
James Bittle, Alf. Terrell, Jubilee, and James McNeil should have had rights 
too. We are all Americans. Can't we insure it that no brother is entitled to less 
opportunity than we have? When this country is torn by strife and people who 
say that democracy is dead, can't we demonstrate that we believe in our system 
sufficiently to extend the full rights of citizenship to our "rented slaves", to the 
poorest of the poor? There should be no such thing as a powerless American. 



[From the New York Times, Thursday, Dec. 23, 1965] 

Vista Brightens L.I. Migrant Camp 

3 Volunteers Will Spend Christmas With Poor 

(By Francis X. Clines) 

GREENPORT, L.I., Dec. 22 — A few members of the domestic Peace Corps ex- 
changed Christmas good-bys here this week on the rural north fork of Long 
Island, before separating for the holidays. Two of them headed home, somewhat 
reluctantly, as three others stayed in the slums and migrant farm camps where 
they have lived for the last six months. 

"I'm apprehensive about my mother," said one of the departing workers, a 
frail-looking secretary from Maiden, Mass. "The last time I saw her, she wept 
at the sight of the shack I was living in. It was a mistake to let her visit me 
here." 



59 

There's No One Else 

The girl, Ellen Upham, smiled, recalling the contrast between her cubicle in 
the Negro migrant camp and the well-kept house to which she was returning. 
She left Maiden last spring,, enlisting for a year in the Volunteers in Service to 
America, or Vista, the Government's new charity-at-home program. Her annual 
pay is $600. 

Mrs. Ann Quinn, a diminutive Tucson widow, is putting off a visit to her 
grandchildren to cook Christmas dinner for five families here. 

"There is no one else to do it," she said. "The mothers are sick or working, 
or just gone." 

She added lightly : "I'm ready. It will be a fine Christmas." 

A local Lutheran minister, the Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, told of the rapport 
established by the Vista workers with migrant farmers and slum dwellers. He 
said : 

"It is the envy of community groups' that have been trying to reach these 
people for years." 

Harold Bushue, a retired Oregon cannery manager, said that patience and an 
open attiti;de were the keys to this rapport. 

"You live there in the same shacks as they do," he said. "You don't push 
your help, and day by day they start to see you really don't have an angle." 

"One colored migrant, Old Boney, told me he couldn't help hating me for being 
white," Mr. Bushue added. "But he also said he respected what I was trying to 
do." 

Mr. Bryant said that the volunteers by moving in with the migrants, had 
learned "subtle things" that would have been "impossible without deeply rooted 
communication." 

For example, he said : "We learned that, as Southern migrants, the workers 
needed blankets on August nights. A simple thing, but we were ignorant of it 
for years." 

Problems hitherto not protested because of the migrant's sense of futility, he 
said, such as clogged toilets, were discovered by the Vista workers and brought 
to the attention of the farmers responsible for the camps. 

"I must say," Mr. Bryan said "that the farmers have been very cooperative." 

The volunteer workers were invited here by a group known as Community 
Action for Southhold Town, which operates in cooperation with the local anti- 
poverty agency. 

With only 15 to 20 Negroes remaining in the camp this winter, the Vista 
workers have been living in the area's slums, which are populated mainly by 
poor whites. 



[From the Long Island Press, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1965] 
Li's MiGEANT Farm Worker: Beaten, Exploited, Afraid 

The migrant farm workers was pictured yesterday as an exploited member 
of society who all too often must pay to get work and who occasionally is beaten 
if he complains about his lot. 

That picture was painted in Riverhead at a joint legislative committee hearing 
on ways to improve the working and living conditions of the thousands who 
follow the sun to harvest the nation's crops. 

The hearing ended both with promises of legislative reforms and charges by a 
Negro committee member that one of the ministers who testified was nothing 
but an "Uncle Tom." 

Much of yesterday's critical testimony was directed at the crew leaders who 
hire the workers from the farmers and the union leaders, who try to organize 
them. 

When Assemblyman Arthur Hardwick Jr. of Erie County asked why so few 
workers had showed up to testify, a committee aide replied : "Because they're 
afraid." 

The aide, Suffolk Democratic Chairman Lawrence Delaney, said he and others 
had talked to 2-5 migrant workers in an effort to get them to come. 

"Some were just afraid to testify," he said. "They told us they might be in 
trouble." 



60 ; 

Delaney was particularly critical of Local 202 of the Teamsters, which he said 
began organizing migrants when teamster truckers refused to enter processing , 
warehouses. j 

"Every migrant we talked to pays a dollar a week to the union," Delaney said, | 
"and gets nothing in return." i 

Delaney's remarks were substantiated by three migrant workers who were ! 
persuaded to testify. [ 

Two of them — Clinton Barber and Leroy Wells, both of Calverton — said crew i 
leaders promised them at least 20 hours work a week if they would join a union, | 
but received no benefits. I 

They and Henry Miller of Riverhead testifed that they often were forced to 
stay on the job without pay when grading and harvesting machinery broke down. 

William S. Hanley, agent for Local 202, said in Manhattan that the efforts of 
his union have succeeded in raising the workers' base salary to $1.35 an hour. 

Hanley estimated that his union represents only about 400 of the 3,500 migrant 
workers who are on Long Island during the peak summer months. 

******* 

The legislators told of speaking to migrant workers who had Social Security 
deducted from their pay when they had no Social Security cards. 

They also spoke of workers being gouged by crew leaders who sell them liquor 
when stores are closed. And they spoke of cases of brutality. 

James Ruffin, a case worker for the Suffolk Welfare Department, said he knew 
of instances of workers being beaten or mistreated by crew leaders. 

"Some were hospitalized," Ruffin said, "but they were afraid to give informa- 
tion. Witnesses also were afraid to talk." 

Prior to the hearing, committee members toured four labor camps in the River- 
head area accompanied by several Suffolk legislators. 

Assemblyman Harvey N. Lifset of Albany, committee chairman, said he found 
the camps were ""pretty fair" compared to some of those upstate. 

Several clergymen urged the lawmakers to return to Albany and legislate : 
Universal coverage of seasonal farm labor by Workmen's Compensation. This 
is now done voluntarily by many growers and processors. 
A $1.25-an-hour minimum wage for agricultural workers. 

A universal payroll form which would include "just" deductions for room, 
board and transportation. 

Guaranteed pay for "on-the-job site" time with a maximum lunch period of 
one hour. 

Mandatory summer school for workers' children. 

Law to pay doctors who treat migrant workers. This already is guaranteed by 
the Suffolk Health Department. 

The Rev. Buck Jones, himself a former migrant worker, called for their com- 
plete unionization coupled with free legal aid and elimination of unscrupulous 
crew leaders. 

The "Uncle Tom" charge was hurled by Hardwick when the hearing ended and 
he offered to shake hands with a Negro minister who was critical of the com- 
mittee's press relations. The minister. The Rev. Booker T. Mattox of Manhattan, 
refused. 

The Rev. Mr. Mattox, representing the Progressive Baptist Convention of 
America, also criticized migrant aid committees that "think they know all the 
answers." 

Defending the crew leaders, the Rev. Mr. Mattox said migrant workers who 
want to work can make good wages. He cited his own experience picking crops in 
the South. 

How would he improve the lot of the workers? 

". . . Teach them to do well," he said, "teach them prudence, how to buy, how 
to live, how to take advantage of opportunities and how to save." 



[From the New York Times, Monday, Feb. 14, 1966] 

L.I. Hopes to Give Sea Legs to Farm Workers 

(By Francis X. Clines) 

Greenport, L. I., Feb. 13 — You can lead a farm laborer to water, but can you 
make him fish? 

Antipoverty oflBcials here think they can, and thereby raise his income, now 
barely enough for subsistence, to a comfortable $7,500 a year, and as much as 
$15,000 in good years. 



61 

"Imagine that for a man with a third grade education," said Gerald B. Rocker, 
eastern Suffolk aid supervisor for the Suffolk County Economic Opportunity 
Commission, who warmly backs a plan to take migrant laborers off local farms 
and put them aboard salt water trawlers as commercial fishermen. 

Mr. Rocker said Federal and county fishing and manpower specialists have 
unofficially endorsed the plan, under which a trawler would be chartered and 
run as a year-round school to train fishermen. 

Approval of the plan would mean a revival of the once busy waterfront of 
Greenport, a village of Southold, which formerly was a center of Long Island's 
oyster industry. The industry has declined during the last 15 years and agricul- 
ture now is the chief local occupation. 

PROPOSAL TO TEACH LABORERS HOW TO FISH WOULD ALSO HELP BOLSTER ECONOMT 

One of the most enthusiastic proponents of the shipboard school is the Rev. 
Arthur C. Bryant, himself a former commercial fisherman. He pointed out that 
while Long Island fishermen do not often call at Greenport, trawlers from as far 
away as North Carolina and Virginia use it as a base during the .season. 

Mr. Bryant visited fishing schools in New England last mouth on behalf of the 
local antipoverty group. Community Action, Southold Town (CAST), of which 
he is a member. He repoi-ted his findings at a meet-in his church, St. Paul's 
Lutheran, whose pulpit is shaped like the bow of a whale boat. 

CAST is the sponsor of the fishing school plan and is seeking the approval of 
the Southold Town government so Federal antipoverty funds can be made avail- 
able. 

The school would be patterned on the New England .schools and would have a 
staff or .specialists who would train the students in .>^uch salt water skills as net 
mending, deck seamanship, navigation and diesel engineering. 

CAST'S hope is that the school will provide a profitable occupation for impover- 
ished farm laborers, many of whom are unemployed, and will establish Greenport 
as a deep sea fishing port. 

According to Mr. Rocker, there are plenty of empty berths on fishing trawlers. 
"A shortage of skilled workers is one of the major problems of the industry as It 
tries to keep up with more efficient competitors, particularly the Russians," he 
said. 

He said he did not expect any trouble in attracting trainees to the school. "Our 
studies have shown that the annual incomes of 37 men trained at the New Eng- 
land schools range from .$7.0(MJ to $7,500," Mr. Rocker said. "And the maximum 
is near .$15,000." 

The New England schools were operated in Gloucester, Boston and New Bed- 
ford, Mass., under the Federal Manpower Development Act of 1902. The curricu- 
lum provided 13 weeks of training at sea and three weeks a.shore. Commercial 
fishermen took trainees aboard their trawlers with the cooperation of the Atlantic 
Fishermen's Union and the Department of Labor. 



[From Newsday, Long Island. N.Y., Sept. 10, 1966] 

Farm Co-Op To Evict State Day-Care Center 

(By Ray Larsen) 

Cutchogue. — The Eastern Suffolk Cooperative plans to evict a state-financed 
day-care program, which serves about 40 young children of migrant workers, from 
a cooperative-owned labor camp here to make room for cooking facilities for 
workers at the camp, it was disclosed yesterday. 

The eviction caught project officials by surprise and without new quarters in 
which to relocate the program. The Rev. Herman P. Stone of the Suffolk County 
Council of Churches, which supervises the center said, "I don't know what's going 
to happen with the children. They'll probably ... be pushed around and be left 
with nobody to take care of them." In most cases he said, both parents of the 
children work in the fields. 

The Rev. Arthur C. Bryant of Greenport, who works with migrants, said, "I 
think it's an awfully sad thing that the child-care center should be closed. I don't 
know who's at fault . . . but I do know that the losers are the children. It is 
very likely that most of them will wander around unsupervised. 

The director of the center, Shirley Hindsman, was notified Thursday that the 
day-care program no longer could be held in the small, one-story, wooden World 
War I barracks at the work farm. The program offers the children supervised 
games, a hot meal, snacks and cots for afternoon naps while their parents are 
working. The majority of the children it serves are 2-to-5-years old. 



62 

The center, Miss Hindsman said, has been operating for the past 10 years at 
the camp, which houses about 250 men, women and children in about 10 wooden 
buildings. The Rev. Mr. Stone said that the program and the building rent are 
paid for by the state. He said the church council donates volunteers, toys and 
supervises its operation. "It all came so sudden," the Rev. Mr. Stone said. "What 
we're doing now is trying to find someone who will rent us space so we can con- 
tinue the program. So far we have been unable to find anything." Neither Miss 
Hindsman nor the Rev. Mr. Stone could give figures for the state grant or the 
center's budget. 

The announcement of the closing came from William Chudiac, president of the 
38-f armer cooperative. Chudiac said last night that one group of about 30 workers 
from Arkansas had requested the building for cooking space because they had 
none. Chudiac said the group pays between $175 and $200 in monthly rent for 
quarters at the camp, compared to the $200 the state pays for the center build- 
ing for the entire summer. "We hate to lose that (workers') rent," he said. He 
said the cooperative needs the money to remain solvent. 

Chudiac said there still is a possibility that the manager of the camp, Andrew 
Anderson, can work out some agreement with the laborers' crew chief, Mrs. Fan- 
nie Wright, that will allow the center to operate. The cooperative tried unsuccess- 
fully earlier this year to obtain a $66,000 federal grant to replace the buildings 
with cement-block housing units. 

[From Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., Apr. 5, 1967] 
Trailers for Migrants OK'd on R'head Farms 

RiVERHEAD. — To assist farmers who are finding it difiicult to hire migrant 
workers because of a lack of housing, the Riverhead Town Board yesterday voted 
to permit farmers to install trailers on their property. 

The enabling ordinance was adopted unanimously after a 90-minute public 
hearing attended by about 40 persons. Critics contended under the ordinance 
farmers would no longer be obligated to provide permanent housing. The Rev. 
Arthur Bryant, vice chairman of the Sulfolk Human Relations Commission, said, 
"The question is how long the farmers intend to stay in business . . . If they do 
intend to stay, then permanent housing may he more economical." The farmers 
maintain that such housing would be too expensive. 

Under the ordinance, which goes into effect April 15, the trailers can be occu- 
pied between March 1 and Nov. 30, and occupancy of each trailer would be re- 
stricted to one migrant and his family. The farmers had asked that the trailers 
be permitted for full 12-month use, but the town restricted it to nine months to 
comply with existing zoning ordinances. However, Supervisor Robert Vojvoda 
said that the possibility of extending use to a full year is now being investigated. 

In other board action, a public hearing was set for 7 :30 PM April 19 on a pro- 
posal to regulate the use of beach buggies on town beaches. There is no such 
ordinance in effect now. Vojvoda said that the proposed ordinance, which he did 
not detail, was drawn up with the cooperation of the Long Island Beach Buggy 
Association and proposes, among other things, a $2 annual fee for beach use. 
"Last summer we had a lot of problems with unlicensed vehicles racing up and 
down the beach and dumping garbage," he said. 

The board also authorized its five members and the town attorney to travel to 
Washington April 17 to attend the U.S. Supreme Court session that will hear 
an appeal of Suffolk reapportionment. "This will be one of the momentous de- 
cisions of our time," said Vojvoda. 

It also was announced that the federally financed work of the Long Island 
Volunteers Inc. is being made a part of the newly formed Seasonal Employes in 
Agriculture. Both are private, nonprofit agencies. The volunteers group was the 
first private organization on Long Island to receive a federal antipoverty grant, 
receiving $203,633 in May, 1966, to enable it to provide migrants with instruc- 
tions in reading, auto mechanics, construction and consumer education. Mrs. 
Mary Chase Stone, chairman of the volunteers group, could not be reached for 
comment, but the Rev. Mr. Bryant said that the agency will now seek additional 
federal aid to begin a program to investigate the feasibility of settling migrant 
workers permanently in the community. Daniel Rubenstein, who has directed 
the volunteer program, will take over the new program. 



63 

[From the Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N.Y., Oct. 16, 1969] 

Task Force Ueged Migrant Ban Proposed for Suffolk 

(By Peter Kramer) 

Hauppague. — A report to be presented to the Suffolk Human Relations Com- 
mission proposes the elimination of the coimty's "migrant farm labor system" 
and guarantees of "human working and living conditions for seasonal farm 
laborers" caught in the proposed changeover. 

The report calls upon the County Board of Supervisors to appoint "a task 
force committee to -write a comprehensive plan for Suffolk County action." 

Noting that the 1967 migrant season is ending, the report suggests the task 
force committee be required to complete all reports and recommendations by 
next April so that useful plays may be implemented for the 1968 season. 

Prepared by the Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, Human Relations Commission vice- 
chairman and chairman of its migrant committee, the report is directed to 
County Executive H. Lee Dennison and the County Board. 

Pastor Bryant said that if the Human Relations Commission approves the 
report, it will be turned over to county government leaders for consideration 
and action. 

The report will be presented to the Human Relations Commission at its 8 p.m. 
meeting today at Felice's Restaurant, Patchogue. 

Pastor Bryant of St. Peter Lutheran Church, Greenport, said that his pro- 
posal was stimulated by a County Labor Department study last month of a 
Dennison proposal to replace migrant farm workers here with local residents. 

The Labor Department study concluded that there were not enough county 
residents available to replace migrants and that even if there were, many im- 
provements would have to be made in working conditions before such replace- 
ment might be possible. 

Pastor Bryant's report condemns Suffolk's migratory system, calling it "both 
corrupt and brutal" and deserving "a place in our history, but not in our future." 

"My inclination, when I started the report, was to get the county involved 
in the model-housing-for-migrants business," Pastor Bryant said. 

"The document in its final form however, is aimed more toward speeding up 
mechanization to eliminate the use of migrants. 

"Looking back over years of dealing with migrants and their problem in 
Suffolk, I came to the conclusion that there is really no way to control the 
present system except to reduce it to a size where we can deal with a limited 
number of individual human beings." 

Specifically the Bryant report : 

Supports acceleration of "the present phasing out of cheap agricultural labor 
through the use of mechanization." 

In this connection, it disagrees with the Labor Department suggestion that 
the Board of Supervisors "seek governmental assistance to subsidize the wages 
of farm workers to bring them up to a living wage for the area." Instead, Pas- 
tor Bryant proposes that, if such federal assistance is sought, "it be looked for 
in the direction of eliminating the migrant labor system . . . through low-cost 
loans or grants for the mechanization of Suffolk farms." 

Criticizes the Labor Department study for its failure to consult with local 
antipoverty, church and human relations groups interested in farm labor 
problems. 

The Bryant report suggests that, "should it decide to set up a task force com- 
mittee," The County Board consider representation from such groups as well 
as farmers, representative migrants, the Farm Bureau, the New York State 
Employment Service, the Suffolk Health Department, the NAACP and "the 
New York-based services of the Employment Bureau of the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico." 

Agrees with the Labor Department's characterization of the typical migrant 
worker in Suffolk as "a most irresponsible individual . . . having: alcoholic 
tendencies." 

In contrast, however, the Bryant report states "in our experience, we have 
been struck by the surprising number of high school graduates and veterans in 
the migrant system. It seems to be a carefully concealed fact that the mi- 
grant ... is a workman, a man who has come to our county expecting to find 
work rather than a welfare check." 



64 

Claims "a resident, year-round airricultiiral labor force" might be created 
if such "rights of labor" as "minimum work-week contracts, decent housing, di- 
rect and personal relationship with the farmer-employer and elimination of the 
crew leader" were granted to farm workers. 

Calls for establishment of "a universal payroll and deduction system" to 
reiilace present methods of keeping time, paying wages and making deductions, 
which vary from crew leader to crew leader. 

Suggests the task force committee should take a long look at farm labor i 
housing, which its says, "has been a major factor in the dehumanization of 
the farm laborer." 

Pointing out that the state's model-housing code specifically excludes migrant 
housing, the report says, "towns do not have to exclude migrant camps from 
their housing codes unless they honestly feel that migrants are a different type 
of human being needing just half as much breathing space." 



[From the Suffolk Sun. Hiuippague. N.T.. Nov. 2, 1067] 
Commission OK's Report 

The Suffolk Human Relations Commission has approved a report calling for 
the elimination of the county's migrant agricultural labor system and asking the 
County Board of Supervisors to set up a task force migrant study committee. 

George Pettengill, commission executive director, said Wednesday the commis- 
sion document should be submitted for action next week to tlie Board of Super- 
visors and County Executive H. Lee Deunison. 

Pettengill said the commission held a special session Monday night to consider 
the report — which was submitted last month by its Vice Chairman, the Rev. 
Arthur C. Bryant — "and the study was adopted unanimously." 

A summary of report highlights has been added to the document, Pettengill 
said. 

Main points of this summary include : 

Recommendation for establishment of the task force committee : support for 
phasing out the use of migrant farm labor in Suffolk "through mechanization 
and ti-aining"' ; backing of employing local residents "imder wages which should 
provide an adequate family income" : a suggestion that the task force committee 
should consider "such problems as housing and living conditions, length of work 
week, take-home pay, elimination of the crew leader system, the creation of a 
direct relationship with the farmer as employer and the establishment of a uni- 
versal payroll form for workers with all work time and deductions recorded" ; 
support for "full study" of "all practical mechanization possibilities which could 
benefit Suffolk farmers," and a contention that the task force committee should 
complete "all reports and recommendations by April 1968, in order to bring abont 'j 
changes by the 1968 growing season." 



[From Newsday, Long Island. N.Y., Dec. 4, 1967] 

Human Rights Panel Officials To Ukge Migrant Law Changes 

(By Jim Toedtman) 

New York. — The two top oflScials of the Suffolk Human Relations Commission 
were to recommend today that the state strengthen legislation affecting migrant y 
laborers' living and working conditions and outline changes they said would im- j 
prove the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws already enacted. 1 

The commission chairman, Ralph Watkins, and its vice chairman, the Rev. 
Arthur Bryant, planned to make their recommendations today at a public hear- 
ing being held here by a governor's committee which is trying to amend ad- 
ministrative machinery and state legislation involving civil rights. 

The Rev. Mr. Bryant said last night that he would urge the state to include a , 
section for migrant housing in the Model Transient Housing Code that is being 
drafted. Migrant living quarters are now covered by the state sanitation code, 
which allows "wall-to-wall migrants," he charged. He said he would call on the 
state to raise the standards which require only 30 to 40 square feet per man in 
migrant camps. 



65 

The Rev. Mr. Bryant said he would also call for an end to the "peonage (per- 
mitted) under commissions in the state law." lie said he planned to ask the 
state to provide contracts to migrants guaranteeing "a job, a minimum wage 
(.$l.y.^) and a minimum work week. That (the minimum work week) is the im- 
portant thing." lie said that the Puerto Rican government has contracts with 
firms employing Puerto Rican workers making similar guarantees. "New York 
State should protect its migrants by providing a contract similar to that negoti- 
ated by the Puerto Ricans." 

Watkins said he would ask for more eflSciency in the State Commission on Hu- 
man Rights investigations of discrimination in housing sales and rentals. The 
Suffolk Commission estimates that there are three to four Long Island cases of 
discrimination submitted weekly to the state commission and that it takes up to 
six months for each case to be heard. Watkins said he will ask for "greater use 
of injunctions to prevent the sale or rental of properties currently under investi- 
gation." He also plans to recommend a streamlining of the investigation process 
from two hearings to one conducted by a single commission member. 

The governor's 24-member committee to Review New York Laws and Procedures 
in the Area of Human Rights is holding a series of hearings throughout the state, 
according to Harry Minkoft of Great Neck, Chairman of the Long Island Ad- 
visory Committee to the State Commission for Human Rights. The governor's 
committee, which was appointed last month. 



Statement to the Governou's Committee To Review New York State Laws 
AND Procedures Dealing With Human Rights : Dec. 4, 1907 ; by the Rev. 
Arthur C. Bryant, Vice-Chairman and Migrant Committee Chairman of 
the Suffolk County Human Relations Commission 

On October 16, 19G7 the Suffolk County Human Relations Conmiission unani- 
mously approved forwarding to your Committee for consideration two proposals 
of its Migrant Committee. These were : (1) that New York State protect seasonal 
farm laborers processed through the New York State Employment Service by 
providing a contract similar to tliat used by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 
which would guarantee a minimum work week, a guaranteed minimum hourly 
wage (without the escape hatch of "down time"), and paid transportation to 
and from the place where the laborers were recruited, and (2) that New York 
State re-include coverage for migrants in the New York State Model Housing 
Code, chapter III (Transient Housing Facilities). 

In another action. On November 10, 1967, the Suffolk County Human Relations 
Commission unanimously voted to convey to State Housing Commissioner, Jiroes 
W. Gaynor, that "we regard the exclusion of farm laborers (from the N.Y. 
State Model Housing Code) as highly discriminatory against the Negroes and 
Puerto Ricans who comprise the bulk of this work force." We asked that the 
migrants be re-instated under the provisions of the 1964 draft for transient hous- 
ing. In a letter from Avrum Hyman to our Commission on behalf of the Di- 
vision of Housing and Community Renewal, also dated Nov. 16, 1967, we re- 
ceived a historical account of the exclusion of migrants from the present code 
draft which includes an opinion from Martin B. Gatherwood, Industrial Com- 
missioner that the inclusion of migrants is "a delicate issue", that the progress 
of the State Health department in regulating camps should "not be frag- 
mentized by also covering migrant labor camps under your 'Comprehensive 
Housing Code' ". Mr. Hyman also quoted Mr. Joseph A. Salvato, Director of the 
Bureau of General Engineering and Sanitation Services of the State Department 
of Health where Mr. Salvato suggests : "Certainly there should be no con- 
flict between the provisions of the Model Code and the State Sanitary Code. . . . 
It is our feeling that we are improving our standai-ds at a reasonable rate and in 
a reasonable manner." 

Now, tliese statements come from officials of a State which has the following 
in its Constitution : "No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws 
of this .state or any subdivision thereof. No person shall, because of his race, 
creed or religion, be subjected to any discrimination in his civil rights by any 
other person, or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any 
agency or subdivision of the state." It should first seem patently obvious that 
there is discrimination practiced in tliose townships which have adopted chai)- 
ter 2 of the Model Housing Code where all persons are guaranteed a minimum 



66 

of 80 square feet of space in a sleeping room except migrants and other trans- 
ients on the grounds that they are already ocvered by State law. But that State 
law is the sanitary code which roakes wall to wall migrants possible for an 
industry by providing for 30 or 40 square feet of space per person depending 
upon the year a camp was licensed. The delicate issue referred to above seems to 
revolve upon the minority status of the farm workers who are now granted un- 
equal protection under New York State law. 

By the same token, the State Industrial Commission has suggested a 1969 
minimum hourly wage for migrants of $1.35 as an indication of its good will. 
Suffolk workers now earn $1.50 an hour but only average 20 work hours during 
the season per week. The State Industrial Commission has not moved toward the 
elimination of "down time" (a discriminatory practice which makes the man 
less than the machine) nor has it removed the deception involved in hiring a 
man for a work week which does not materialize. Consequently, the Negro and 
Puerto Rican farm laborers are subjected to peonage under ommissions in New 
York State law. 

December 11, 1967. 

Letter to: The Joint Legislative Committee on Migrant Labor, Assemblyman 
Steven Greece, Chairman; State Senator William C. Thompson, Vice 
Chairman. 
From : Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, Vice Chairman and Migrant Chairman of the 
Suffolk County Human Relations Commission, Chairman of the Southold 
Town Economic Opportunities Committee and of the VISTA subcommittee. 
Gentlemen : The peonage system inflicted upon the seasonal farm laborers of 
New York State is probably a symptom of a sickness afflicting the entire agricul- 
tural economy of New York State. You already have before you a copy of the 
report of the Suffolk County Human Relations Commission which calls upon 
Suffolk to establish a task force committee to study the economy of New York's 
leading agricultural county in order to provide a comprehensive plan toward the 
phasing out of the present brutal and corrupt system. I ask you to read it and 
to study the appended newspaper and radio commentaries with especial em- 
phasis upon the excellent series of articles in the Suffolk Sun written by Peter 
Kramer. Whether the Suffolk Board of Supervisors will take action toward the 
basic and intelligent first step of study is an open question. Mere mention of 
migrancy seems to be fraught with political implications as has been evidenced 
so far by responsive press statements by Executive deputy industrial Commis- 
sioner Herbert Crispell ; Industrial Commissioner Martin B. Gatherwood ; the 
director of the Bureau of General Engineering and Sanitation Services of the 
State Department of Health, Mr. Joseph A. Salvato ; Deputy Commissioner 
Avrum Hyman of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal ; and State 
Housing Commissioner James W. Gaynor. All speak of the "delicate issue" as 
something to be approached with caution. But we believe that New York State 
is not only confronted with a moral issue of the magnitude of last century's 
slavery test, but is also faced with an impending economic crisis in its agricul- 
tural economy unless comprehensive planning and programming is embarked 
upon to bring its farm community into the twentieth century. It should seem 
obvious when voices are raised in agriculture to say that labor practices out- 
lawed in every other industry are necessary for survival that there is sickness 
or inefficiency as the underlying factor. In every other business mismanagement 
brings a penalty upon the management, but in agriculture the penalty is legally 
passed along to the employee and eventually to the citizens of the State in the 
areas of health and welfare. Therefore we propose to the State what we have 
proposed to Suffolk County, that a task force committee be set up as outlined 
to write a comprehensive plan toward the step by step phasing out of the existing 
migrant system and the immediate implementation of procedure toward guaran- 
teeing the seasonal farm laborer with the rights and dignity of labor. 

A first step should be taken by outlawing the tactic called "down time". It is 
an evasionary practice used to break the back of the minimum hourly wage law. 
The Suffolk County Labor Department describes it as follows: "When a machine 
breaks down or when the potato suppliers which bring the potatoes to the 
packing houses are late in arriving, a system known as 'down time' is imposed. 
In many cases an individual arrives on the .lob at 6 or 7 am, remains on the 
job until 10 or 11 pm, and is only paid for 3 or 4 hours. It appears that the 
employers will not do away with the down time system." In conversations with 
people involved in the grape-pickers strike in California, despite the many other 



67 

injustices evident there, down time was unknown. It appears that this is a local 
bit of deviltry. It makes the man less than the machine. 

A second step should be a guaranteed minimum work week for all farm 
laborers brought into the state of New York. The contract provided by the Com- 
monwealth of Puerto Rico beautifully describes reasonable working conditions 
for farm laborers and could very well be made into New York State law in its 
entirety. Not the least of its provisions is ARTICLE III— GUARANTEE : "The 
employer guarantees to provide the Worker 160 hours of agricultural or related 
work in each four week period during this agreement or pay the worker not 
less that 160 times the hourly or prevailing rate set forth in ARTICLE IV, 
whichever is greater. The guarantee shall commence 24 hours after the worker 
has arrived at. . . . " Interestingly enough, although a number of Puerto Rican 
laborers are employed quite satisfactorily under these conditions in New York 
State, continental Negro laborers and Puerto Rican laborers who enter the state 
without a contract are almost entirely without the protection of the law. In one 
camp in Suffolk, 2.5 laborers of Puerto Rican extraction were hired from New 
York City for the strawberry harvest. Because of the cool weather and the rain, 
the harvest did not materialize on time. Before the week was out the men were 
clubbing rabbits in the woods in order to obtain food. They did not want to go 
into debt at the commissary where the interest rate to the crew leader was 2 to 1 
or 100%. They had no work because someone else planned wrongly and so they 
knew hunger because a farmer and a crew leader made a legal mistake. But 
the farmer did not stop eating and neither did the crew leader. 

Provision should be made to provide universal coverage for these farm workers 
under workman's compensation. The present law allows an option for workman's 
compensation or private insurance. Private insurance provides no protection for 
the laborer since he must sue in order to obtain a claim. We have never met a sea- 
sonal farm laborer who could afford to sue. We have met a number who became 
wards of the state following a serious injury because they had no recourse ex- 
cept to welfare. Only the farmer is protected by private insurance. 

A payroll form with a list of allowable deductions should be submitted to the 
state by every employer. Part of the reason for continued pay abuses is the failure 
of the state to keep tab on the cunditions of employment. A fast-talking crew 
leader can get most of any payroll when he cashes the checks. 

Now we would note in parenthesis that a local poverty official and the Suffolk 
County Labor Department have both proposed relieving the plight of the farm 
laborer l)y having the Federal government subsidize his wages. The human Rela- 
tions Commission has taken a stand against such a procedure because under the 
present crew leader system such funds would never reach the worker. One crew 
leader of record made $44,000 last year while his men averaged only twenty work 
hours a week over the season. The only way to change the situation is to provide 
such protection for the laborer that the employer will make a good sound business 
decision when he hires. And in passing, it might be noted that if the crew leader 
were hired at a decent management wage, the farmer and the crew might find 
conditions greatly improved because honest men could then be attracted to the 
field. 

In the area of employment, we wonder what Herbert Crispell is talking about 
when he recommends a minimum hourly wage of $1.40 in February 1969 or an 
optional minimum weekly wage. He is proposing what no self-respecting union 
would accept (probably with an awareness that the seasonal farm laborers have 
no voting power in New York State) because "down time" and the lack of a 
minimum work week. Laborers now at a number of camps in Suffolk County are 
used two or three hours a day at the farmer's discretion as though they were 
high school boys with no overhead or responsibilities. What would such a mini- 
mum hourly wage mean here? 

As far as housing is concerned, the joint legislative committee is probably 
aware of our Commission's complaint to Commissioner Gaynor that the failure 
to include migrants under the provision of the State's new Transient Model Hous- 
ing Code is highly discriminatory against the Negroes and Puerto Ricans who 
comprise the bulk of the seasonal farm labor work force. But the housing code 
is good only in that it sets up an ideal for decent housing. The most troublesome 
thing we have to work with is the State sanitary code which provides as little as 
twenty square feet of floor space for a man sleeping in a migrant camp on an iron 
double deck bed that he pays $5.00 a week for. The wall to wall migrant provi- 
sions of the existing Sanitary Code are obnoxious to say the least. Legislation 



68 

might well be introduced to revise the State sanitary code to make it conform to 
the housing: provisions deleted from the 1964 draft of the Transient Model Hous- 
ing Code. It should be recognized that present crowding of men into non-parti- 
tioned "bull pens" is a dehumanizing factor which tends to destroy men. In addi- 
tion to the lack of privacy and space, the present code encourages the lawless 
conditions which prevail in many camps. The decent individual is subjected to 
bullying and attack to which he has no defense or escape. The knifings and 10(^ 
pistol (lye) attacks common in our migrant camps are a bi-product of our sani- 
tary code. The State, by the way, absorbs the cost of these — not the farmer or 
the crew leader. And it should be remembered that a revision of the existing 
code should not have the escape hatch now written into the code — that camps 
issued permits issued before 19.59 continue under the previous code provisions. 
What is right is right — what was wrong continues to l)e wrong. Besides this, the 
easy loan provisions of the Farmers' Home Administration make it inexcusable 
to any farmer, group of farmers, or County not to correct the housing conditions. 

It hardly seems necessary to mention that one toilet for twenty men is not 
enough. When workers cut holes in the floors of their bull pen, it may be socially 
unacceptable, but it is understandable. 

And then there's the perennial alcohol and cigarette problem. Cigarettes are 
sold at 500 a pack in most camps, at 650 a pack in at least one camp. Can't there 
be some control? And wine! Every camp has its wine merchant. Twister and 
Ariba sell at $1.00 a pint bottle. You can buy them at 500 a bottle in the liquor 
store. Now this use of wine is understandable. The Poles and the Russians use 
Vodka to warm up on a damp morning and the Hungarians use Slivovitz. But 
this cheap wine is addictive and is illegally pushed because of its addictive 
powers. No one seems to dare to clamp down on this exploitation of human weak- 
ness. When we drive a worker to the alcoholic ward of Central Islip Hospital 
however we know the State will pay for it. 

It seems silly that the 100% funding of Summer School for migrant children 
Is an optional thing for School Boards to decide upon. When one considers the 
anti-migrant reaction in many communities, we wonder that any Summer schools 
are provided. They should be mandatory. 

Child Care programs are set up to operate from July 1st through Labor Day in 
our area when the season extends from July 1.5 through December 15. We wish 
that an investigation would be made into the operations of the Producers and 
Growers association to see what they are trying to accomplish if anything. 

Health programs operate during the same months as the Child Care pro- 
gram. When the colds and the flu reach the camps, the Health services disappear. 
Why? 

Actually, to sum up, we're wondering why this twentieth century system of 
bondage continues at all in a State that uses the motto : excelsior f 



[From Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., Jan. 1.5, 1968] 

Three Laboreks Killed in East End Blaze 

(By Joe Demma and George DeWan) 

Bbidgehampton. — Three farm workers were killed and three others injured in 
a blaze early yesterday that gutted a rundown, single-story house recently cited 
by Suffolk County Health Department oflBcials for heating and sanitary violations. 

The building was occupied by about 14 persons who have been working on 
surrounding farms and in potato warehouses. Police said that the fire was appar- 
ently caused by an oil-fired space heater in one of the rooms. The dead were 
identified as Myrtle Lee Grant, 45, James Farrell, 40, and his wife, Gussie Mae 
Farrell, 35. Police said that they were among 14 persons living in the eight-room 
building. The three injured were Willie Ware, 72. William Frazier, 47. and Isiah 
Chisholm, 38. Ware was in fair condition in Southampton Hospital early today 
with fractured ribs, and Frazier was in fair condition with burns. Chisholm was 
treated for minor injuries and released. 

The owner of the building, Henry Jacobs, whose address was given as Main 
Road, Jamesport, is free in $600 bail awaiting trial in Southampton Justice Court 
on county health code violations on the building. Sidney Beckwith, head of the 
health department's housing and sanitation division, said that the charges include 
improper heating and improper sanitary facilities. "We've been concerned about 
this place for some time," Beckwith said. 



69 

Jacobs said yesterday that "there were some violations but they were taken 
care of. The hist I heard, everything was all right about a week or 10 days ago." 
Jacobs said there were "only supposed to be five or six of them in there, but the 
others always sneak in. When you tell them to get out, they say they are just 
visiting." He said that the building is visited regularly by Warren Sayre, a 
Bridgehampton potato farmer, who also collects rents. 

Sayre said yesterday, "I don't know anything about those violations. I'm 
supposed to collect the rent when there is any." He said that the tenants are 
supposed to pay $5 a week when they work, "but they don't work half the time." 
Of the fire, Sayre said, "It's an unfortunate incident, but it's their own fault. 
They're just a bunch of winos and you know what happens when they get 
wound up." 

Alan Gartner, resigning director of the Economic Opportunity Council of Suf- 
folk, expressed shock yesterday at Sayre's statement. "Mr. Sayre illustrates the 
kind of inhumanity brought about by the type of farm labor system we tolerate. 
Maybe another tragedy will move the State Housing Authority and other public 
olficials to provide an enforcible housing code for laborers." 

The Rev. Arthur Bryant of Greenport, vice chairman of the migrant labor 
committee of the Suffolk Human Relations Commission, called for a full investi- 
gation of the incident by the committee. The commission has long expressed its 
concern over the rundown conditions of migrant housing in the East End, the 
scene of several slum fires in the past. The worst such fire took the lives of five 
children in an East Hampton shack in January, 1963. 

The alarm yesterday was called into the Bridgehampton Fire Department by 
unidentified persons at about 4 :05 AM, but Bridgehampton Fire Chief Richard 
Talmadge said that the building was engulfed in flames when his men arx-ived 
minutes later and that attempts to rescue occupants were impossible. The dead 
apparently had been asphyxiated. 

The gutted structure was a frame building partially covered with corrugated 
iron. Seven of the eight rooms were used as bedrooms. The eighth room, a 
kitchen, contained a juke box and a bathroom. Each room was heated separately 
with electric, oil or kerosene space heaters. The building stands at the end of 
Fister Avenue near the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Those made homeless by 
the fire moved yesterday into nearby concrete block dormitories owned by other 
potato dealers. 

An autopsy was to be conducted today on the three victims, and Seventh Squad 
detectives said that they had called in the Arson Squad to make a routine investi- 
gation of the fire. In November, 1956, Miss Grant was shot and seriously injured 
by a farm laborer during an argument over another laborer. In July of that year, 
another laborer was stabbed and critically injured by another man over an 
argument involving Miss Grant. 



[Prom Newsday, Long Island, N.T., Nov. 21, 1968] 

Harvey Abonson — "A 20th Century Form of Slavery" 

About 24,000 of them come to New York State each year, and 3,000 come to 
Long Island, and they work in potato fields and processing plants and nurseries. 
They are migrant workers and they live in shame and misery, and all the farm 
lobby rationalizations in the world don't change the simple, overriding fact 
that they are exploited people. 

They are for example, excluded from the national and state labor relations 
acts, which give other workers a chance to organize and bargain collectively. 
They are, in the forward-thinking state of New York, excluded from unemploy- 
ment insurance and they have been provided with inadequate workmen's com- 
pensation. They live like social lepers in bleak housing. And they face what the 
Rev. Arthur C. Bryant described yesterday as "the real southern bigotry we 
have on the East End of Long Island — even the black community attaches a 
stigma to farm workers. It's like being in hell." 

The Rev. Mr. Bryant is migrant chairman of the Suffolk County Human Re- 
lations Commission, and he talked to a group of students at Hofstra University 
yesterday about one of the hells we have created on earth. He talked of men 
dying of pneumonia in unheated barracks, and of crimes going oflScially unnoticed 
in labor camps, and of crew leaders making money on blanket rentals and the 
sale of wine. 



70 

And like most sincere people who get involved in fighting the abomination of 
migrant labor, he seemed up to here with tokenism and noble words and all the 
good works that don't change the system a damn bit. He said, for instance, 
"that it's a lot of nonsense about having to retrain men — a guy working as a 
migrant laborer already has a skill, except maybe he is getting $1.25 an hour. 
And if he learns how to drive a tractor, that's still all he's going to get." 

He said the migrant worker needs the right to representation by a recognized 
union, and that this isn't something that can be accomplished by government- 
supported groups working in the field. "If they get involved in union activities, 
their funds are cut off," he said. "You're supposed to play around with these 
people, but don't change the system." 

He talked that way, and you could feel his frustration and you could surely 
sympathize with it because you had seen the dust-ridden faces in the labor camps 
and felt the despair and sensed the loneliness. And you got annoyed when a black 
kid in the audience started going on about the "white devil who is perpetrating 
these atrocities" because there are black crew chiefs taking part in the exploita- 
tion and middle-class black residents who are ignoring the whole problem. But 
the black kid had a point. 

The black kid, a 21-year-old Huntington junior named Jim McKay, was spout- 
ing the new dialectic. But it's the system that's foul, and what difference does 
it make whether the devils are white, black, or blue-green with crimson polka 
dots. But he did get dovra to one nitty-gritty suggestion. "We've got to get these 
white people who go to meetings and rap about it to stop buying potatoes on 
Long Island," he said. 

The Rev. Mr. Bryant had a few ideas. He said a task force composed of county, 
farm and migrant representatives had studied the problem this past February 
through May, and he would like to see its report issued. He also said that we 
ought to flood the governor and state and national representatives with letters 
calling for meaningful legislation. "Right now," he said, "the most important 
thing is to get migrants covered by the state and national labor relations acts." 

He summed up the status-quo simply. He called it "a 20th Century form of 
slavery." 

[From the Congressional Record, Feb. 6, 1968] 
Return to Harvest of Shame 

Mr. Williams of New Jersey. Mr. President, the Subcommittee on Migra- 
tory Labor, continues its work of bringing the realities of the migrant labor 
situation to the attention of Congress. Each Congress, legislation reported by 
the subcommittee has been enacted wtih the hope that the tragic situation could 
be alleviated. 

Last night, the National Educational Television Network pictorially and mov- 
ingly confirmed the economic plight of the migrant farmworker, and demon- 
strated in pragmatic fashion the enormity of the job remaining to be done. The 
National Educational Television Journal documentary, "No Harvest for the 
Reaper?" was an excellent production similar in quality, but little different in 
subject matter or message, to Edward R. Murrow's "Harvest of Shame" which 
was first shown 8 years ago. The program has received high praise in the re- 
views, as evidenced by the New York Times article of February 6, 1968, which I 
ask unanimous consent to be printed in the Record after my remarks. 

Although the documentary presented scenes depicting only Arkansas Negroes 
transported to New York State farms, the same pattern of life is repeated each 
year throughout the coimtry, and includes over 1 million citizens that are paid 
miserably low wage rates, and left to the mercy of unscrupulous crew chiefs. 
Health care is inadequate or totally lacking, and housing is unsanitary and un- 
safe. Unrestricted child labor is prevalent, and migrant children have little or 
no opportunities for education. Compounding these shocking conditions is the 
fact that migrants are excluded from enjoying social and economic benefits avail- 
able to all other American citizens, such as unemployment, social security, and 
workmen's compensation insurance ; and, farmworkers are excluded from the 
protections of the National Labor Relations Act. The television program graphi- 
cally showed living conditions akin to those present in the slave days of involun- 
tary servitude. 

The National Educational Television documentary confirmed in all major re- 
spects the urgent need for this Nation to meet the goals for which the subcom- 
mittee has been working. For example, the film clearly depicted the impact of 



71 

the low wages received by the migrants for their long hour? of work, and con- 
firmed our contentions that coverage of minimum wage legislation should not 
only be extended to include more workers, but that the minimum rate must be 
increased. 

The need to extend and expand the migrant health program as provided in S. 
2688, which I introduced, was also emphasized by the documentary. This legis- 
lation, enacted 6 years ago, extended in 1965, but due to expire June 30, 1968, 
has been a very successful health program for the 23 percent of the migrant 
families actually reached. The continuing need is indicated by a comparison of 
the Nation's per capita expenditures for health care : For all citizens — over $200 
annually; for Indians — over .$320; yet for migrants — only $8, except for the 
areas where the program is in effect, then annual per capita expenditure is only 
$36. The subcommittee has completed hearings on S. 2688, and has reported the 
bill to the full Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. It is urgent not only 
that Congress enact this legislation soon in order to keep the program alive, but 
it is self-evident that an increase in the authorized appropriation of last year is 
necessary. 

The partnership of the farmer with the unscrupulous crew leader was also 
emphasized and the documentary showed the mechanics and effects of the crew 
leader's exploitation of workers. Although the need to protect the migrant was 
partially met in 1965 when Congress passed the Farm Labor Contractor's Regis- 
tration Act, the problem still deserves continued and special attention, for most 
crew leaders are still not registered and enforcement of the act is limited by in- 
sufficient Labor Department iJersonnel authorizations. Furthermore, as often 
discussed in the subcommittee's annual reports, the problem will continue to exist 
until such time as we enact programs to deal with the broader problems of 
underemployment and unemployment and recruitment of sufficient workers to 
meet the seasonal labor demands of the industry. 

Finally, the film graphically portrayed the urgent need to provide the agri- 
culture industry with the advantages and protections of the NLRA. "We must 
guarantee farmworkers the freedom to organize, and to choose a union to repre- 
sent them in presenting grievances and in collective bargaining. Tlie NLRA 
should be made available to provide needed stability in the industry, and to pro- 
tect the employee, the employer, and unions against unfair practices by provid- 
ing them with the procedures and processes of the NLRB. Extension of NLRA 
coverage to the agriculture industry is incorporated in S. 8, which I introduced at 
this session. 

For Senators who did not see the program I urge them to view a repeat telecast 
on Sunday, February 11, 1968, at 5 p.m. 

Furthermore, on February 12, 1968, the National Education Television Net- 
work will present yet another migrant worker documentary on the struggle of 
migrants to gain union recognition entitled "Huelga." I strongly commend this 
program to them. I ask unanimous consent that the documentary be printed in the 
Record. 

There being no objection, the article was ordered to be printed in the Record 
as follows : 

[From the New York Times, Feb. 6, 1968] 

TV : Exploitation, 1968 — Recruitment of Migratory Workers fob Long 
Island Harvests Results in New Slavery 

(By Jack Gould) 

Eight years ago the late Edward R. Murrow cast the spotlight of television on 
the nation's "Harvest of Shame," the plight of the exploited migratory worker 
who picks the food that is taken for granted in supermarkets and swank restau- 
rants. Last night Morton Silverstein of National Educational Television did a 
superb sequel. Nothing has changed. 

Under the title of "What Harvest for the Reaper?", Mr. Silverstein studied the 
cynical recruitment of Negro workers in the small towns of Arkansas and their 
transportation to a decrepit labor camp in Cutchogue, L.I. In Suffolk County they 
learn of slavery in the North, their continuing indebtedness to a sophisticated 
Negro crew chief, who leases the camp from the former membership of the East- 
ern Suffolk Cooperative. 

"What Harvest for the Reaper?", which was seen locally over Channel 13, was 
the recurringly depressing chronicle of the many elements of society that turn 
their heads when exploitation of a human being is profitable. 



72 

The farmers complained of depressed prices for their produce, the unreliability 
of imported labor and smugly shifted responsibility for the camp's operation to 
the crew chief. The crew chief, in turn, argued that he hadn't cheated anyone : out 
of the worker's weekly wage averaging $47 for 40 hours of toil — he deducted 
food, lodging, transportation and other expenses, which devoured the weekly pay 
check or more. 

The economic arguments notwithstanding, the N.E.T. Journal, narrated by 
Philip Sterling, spoke for itself. The camp, described as not the worst of barracks 
for migrant laborers in New York State, resembled a primitive prison. A single 
bathroom was used by 38 men, and the living quarters lacked even rudimentary 
privacy or relaxation. And the testimony of the migrants was that over the years 
the scene shifted monotonously from Long Island to Florida and back again. 

In some respects the most interesting aspect of "What Harvest for the 
Reaper?" was that such exploitation knows no color bars. The emphasis on the 
crew chief showed that he had qualms in making an estimated total of $40,000 a 
year for imposing economic bondage on the young Arkansas Negroes. And Mr. 
Silverstein documented the fact that a contract between potato processors andi 
Local 202 of the Teamsters Union was nonexistent for practical purposes. A bottle] 
of cheap wine to blot out the tedium sold for $1 in camp as compared with 51 
cents in town, according to Mr. Silverstein. 

A spokesman for the Suffolk County Department of Health spoke of the Cut- 
chogue camp as meeting minimum standards and then in the next breath con- 
ceded there has been inadequate maintenance, inadequate cleanliness and inade- 
quate supervision. Some of the farmers blamed the migrants for camp conditions 
and overlooked the built-in frustration of the chilling environment. 

Next week on N.E.T. Journal there will be a documentary on the struggle of 
California migrants to gain union recognition. Last night's hour, for which A. H. 
Perlmutter was the executive producer, left no doubt that correction of the migra- 
tory worker's social and economic disenfranchisement still has a long way to go. 

Mr. Murrow would be the first to be pleased that a new generation of sensitive 
TV craftsmen has renewed his battle in unsparing word and haunting photog- 
raphy. The wanderers who feed us all remain among the forgotten. 



"Why Do I Go Aeound in Circles ?" 
(By Rev. Arthur C. Bryant) 

Our unwillingness to actually bring good news to the poor combined with our 
haughty attitude toward minority people combine to make the lives of migrants 
pure hell. The plight of the migrant reminds me of the story of the little boy 
who looked up at his mother and said : "Mommy, mommy . . . why am I always 
going around in circles?" and she looked down at him and said: "Shut up! or 
I'll nail down your other foot". The State of New York, our State, counts 17,000 
migrant laborers, 99% of whom are minority group people. Seventeen thousand 
migrants statistically makes New York the sixth largest user of migrants in 
the United States. All of them are running around in circles of discrimination 
and poverty. 

Suffolk County ranks among the 100 richest farm counties in the United States. 
Last year the average work week of a Suffolk County farm laborer was twenty 
hours. This is not something to be envied. For these laborers were recruited to 
jobs where they hoped to work sixty or seventy hours a week at the prevailing 
minimum wage. The working conditions under which they picked your straw- 
berries, cauliflower, snap beans are hard to believe. But the working conditions 
under which they dug and graded and packed your potatoes are almost impos- 
sible to believe. 

Just consider some of the legal protections afforded migrant workers in New 
York State. For instance, migrants would be brought to existing State minimum 
wage standards beginning July 1, 1968 according to a bill submitted by Assembly- 
man Steven Grecco and Senator William C. Thompson. Guess where migrants, 
stand now and where they will continue to stand if the bill is not passed? And 
then add to this proposal for a minimum hourly wage two basic facts of life 
that are not even considered. One is that the migrant is up against a condition 
called "down time" which releases his employer from an obligation to pay him 
if a grading machine or a combine breaks down or is shut down in the course 
of a day. Under the system known as down time, the man is so subservient to 
the machine that he may spend as much as twelve hours a day on the job, but 



73 

be paid only for five or six hours. And in addition to tlie hazard of "down tiiue"^ 
the worker is frequently subjected to no time at all due to weather conditions 
or a slack season. There is no provision for a minimum work week for the greater 
majority of the workers. Only workers recruited through the employment services 
of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have a guaranteed work schedule of 160 
hours in a four week work period. But even Puerto Rican help is often secured 
without benefit of a contract. And so we have a situation like that which pre- 
vailed at the Cutchogue labor camp last May when the Crew leader recruited 25 
laborers of Puerto Rican extraction from New York City. They arrived in the 
rain and the cold and found themselves completely without work for a week. 
Then, knowing that they would become hopelessly indebted if they ate at the 
camp commissary, they went into the woods to club rabbits and walked to the 
beaches to dig clams and then just walked away and disappeared. 

The walk away escape of the twenty five was unusual. The regular thing for 
a crew leader to do when a man walks out on him is to call a farmer who calls 
the police to return the man now charged with theft. Most men would rather 
not face the police and so they do not often run away. It's sort of a bloodless 
disciplinary system which replaces the crew leader beatings which used to be 
the thing in migrant camps. 

So while the State of New York is earnestly endeavoring to get the farm 
laborer a minimum hourly wage, the workman is also up against a hydra like 
system designed to relieve him of what little money he is able to earn. Think 
of rent. I can take you to a typical shack owned by a leading produce 
company in Riverhead. Rent there is four dollars per man per week over 
against the five dollars per week charged in some worse looking camps. But 
in this particular wood frame unit measuring 63 feet by 29 feet there are 
twenty four men legally housed according to the new revised New York State 
Sanitary Code. Rent collected on this unit is $384.00 per month. The room 
is heated by a pot bellied wood stove. It is lighted by three .50 watt ovei'head 
light bulbs. The men sleep in double deck beds equipped with mattresses and 
nothing more. They have no sheets, pillows or blankets. Blankets nre avail- 
able at a five dollar rental fee although the same blankets at the army-navy 
store for $3.95 apiece. There are two fiush toilets which is unusually good 
for camps in the state of New York. However, there is quite a line up in the 
morning which adds to the frustrations of camp life. But this ratio of 12 to 
1 is good. The State Sanitary code calls for a ratio of 15 men to one John. 
And there are no chairs in the room, which makes it typical. No privacy, no 
escape from the cough of the T.B. victim, no escape from the broken glass 
and stench surrounding the alcholic, no place to read a book — you have a 
picture of one of the many legal places which dot our countryside and are 
called "bull pens" by the men who live in them. The walk to town from this 
bull pen is two miles and this is also par for the course in the migrant stream. 
But the earning power of the migrant is attacked in many other ways too. 
Food is eaten at the camp dining hall or sent out to places of work for lunch. 
There is no chance to escape the food bill. According to the New York State 
law the maximum that a crew leader can charge his men for a soul food 
diet of chicken, pigs ear sandwiches, spare ribs, collards and the like is $1.55 
per day. But many crew leaders get around this by not serving beverages with 
the meals. Therefore the bill goes high for sodas and extras. So most men 
report a weekly deduction from their pay of $16 legally for food and rent and 
then a further deduction of approximately $15 for extras like soda and cigarets 
made when the crew leader cashes the check. And then ponder this one. 
Cigarets sold for 50^ per pack in most Suffolk camps in 1967, but in at least one 
camp the going price was 65^. When men are trapped, they have to take 
what's handed to them. 

The entrapment is further complicated by an agricultural habit of long 
standing. Hungarian peasants use slivowitz to warm up on cold, damp morn- 
ings. Poles and Russians use Vodka. Both of these beverages are highly dis- 
tilled and carry little hangover producing sugar. But the drink used by South- 
ern American migrants is cheap wine, usually Twister or Ariba. It produces 
the same warming sensation, but also is highly addictive. The men carry it in 
pint bottles which are reminiscent of the pocket flasks used in Europe. And it 
is in the use of cheap wine that many men are hopelessly caught in the migrant 
stream. Tor crew leaders not only feel that it is useful to keep the men man- 

36-51.3— 70— pt. 1 — —6 



74 

ageable, but also valuable as a profitable commodity. Twister sells for 51^ in 
most liquor stores, but is pushed at $1.00 a bottle at the camp site. It's a good 
item to extend credit on ; a good item to befuddle the mind of the worker when 
his paycheck is cashed and deductions are made. 

And then there is the dice game at the camp. Like most poor people who find 
gambling a religious act to test the love of God, the migrants usually look 
forward to the weekend crap game. At this the crew leader usually puts up the 
ante for two for one money. If he puts up fifty dollars at the beginning of the 
game, he picks up one hundred dollars when the game is over. And so it is with 
gambling debts. Money borrowed for the game must be returned at the rate of 
two for one. 

Camp life is lawless life. Rusty guns and shiny knives appear frequently. 
Police seldom patrol and a number of camps do not even have pay telephones 
so that a man may call the cops if he feels that he is being bullied. Homosexuals 
and prostitutes gravitate to the camps. A young man drawn to migrancy because 
he cannot make a living in his home town, finds himself drawn into a spider 
web as well as to a job. He is often so crippled environmentally that he is un- 
able to pull himself out of it. 

Because the camps affect the surrounding communities in a negative way, 
there is usually little sympathy from the people best able to help. Churches 
generally shy away from the migrants and when a few brave citizens decide 
to get involved they are too often afliicted with a kind of tunnel vision. Most 
benevolent work for migrants consists of gifts of blankets, used clothing, toys 
for tots and the like. But this is band aid work at best and seems to skirt the 
real issues involved. 

One of the really frustrating experiences in migrant work is the apparent lack 
of sympathy shown by the neighboring Negro churches. And this is despite the 
fact that the membership of such churches is partly composed of ex-migrant 
families who dropped out of the stream. But this is understandable in the light 
of the story of the Negro boy and the white Catholic boy who met a priest on 
the street. Both boys said : "Hello, Father" and this made the priest curious. 
So he asked the Negro boy if he was Catholic too. The boy said : "Hell no. 
Father ; it's bad enough being colored". And it's like that for former migrants. 
It's bad enough being negro without having the stigma of "migrant" attached 
to oneself. 

A particularly crude camp in Riverhead, L.I., is owned by the president of 
the local N.A.A.O.P. It's a strange thing that a civil rights activist should be 
able to participate in this twentieth century form of Negro slavery. But the 
thought processes of a human mind are divided into many compartments and I 
am sure that this man does not relate the middle class drive for open housing 
with the lower class hunger for bread on the table. Yet, somehow the message 
has got to be heard that the symbol of Negro servitude is a very much alive 
migrant camp and this symbol remains destructive to all who long for true 
freedom. 

When a man's eyes are open to the grindstone of migrancy which crushes 
thousands of human beings, he begins to attend meetings of County, State and 
Federal officials who have the power to change things. But the first thing he sees 
is that there remains a consistent reluctance to change things in ^ny meaningful 
way. One senses that it is political in that migrants do not stay anywhere long 
enough to form a voting block and are therefore lobbyless. But then another 
factor enters the picture. One legislator after the other states that his heart is 
in the right place, but he doesn't want to punish the good farmers with the bad 
farmers. The governmental structures are geared to concern for the middle class 
and somehow the economic plight of a middle class gentleman farmer is more 
urgent than the pneumonia death of a migrant. And beyond that, there is an- 
other phenomenon. The governmental units with migrant concerns are self pro- 
tective structures. The Health Department does not want to step on the territory 
of the Labor Department and the Department of Agriculture does not want to 
appear as though it has not been doing a good job. Like Pontius Pilate, the 
government official typically does a bit of hand washing while he lets mob rule 
prevail. But then he states that his own sophisticated callousness is really a 
wise attempt to prevent mob rule. 

The most glaring example of governmental discrimination against an 
oppressed people is the failure of the State and Federal governments to include 
migrants in the Labor Relations Acts. The ruling bodies have also omitted 
migrants from unemployment insurance and made social security an improbable 



75 

thing at best, but these things pale by comparison with the blatant bigotry 
wliich prevents these minority group people from speaking for themselves. Since 
1935, the migrants have not had the power to bargain collectively which means 
that they have not been able to speak for themselves. They haven't been able 
to fight for decent pay, decent toilets, rest periods, health benefits, retirement 
benefits. And the excuse has been given that a strike at harvest time would 
be disastrous for the middle class farmer. No one .seems to take into account 
that there is no harvest for the reaper, that both the government and the 
farmer have led a strike against him. 

The California grape pickers strike points the way for the nation if people 
will stop to observe it. Somehow we've all been so concerned about the Viet Nam 
War, Civil Rights, and Anti-poverty programs that we've missed much of the 
magnificent accomplishment of Caesar Chavez who has led a movement without 
benefit of the Labor Relations Act. Mrs. Dolores Huerta, Vice Chairman of the 
United Farm Workers tells about the unionization of Christian Brothers, and 
how ujiionization meant the end of a migrant camp. She describes a poverty 
people surrounding a grape harvest who had to travel to Texas from California 
in order to make a living and a poverty people surrounding large growers in 
Texas who had to travel to California to make a living. Nobody wanted to 
migrate, but it seemed necessary to get a job. But when the strike was settled, 
the California workers were able to work in California and the Christian 
Brothers camp was no longer needed. Suitable work week contracts, minimum 
salary, rest periods, health benefits and the like are able to convert a migrant 
population into a stable work force. A traveling man finds himself able to go 
to work in the morning and return to his own house in the evening to his wife 
and children. He begins to fulfill the American dream and he has something 
to work for. And the community benefits with a corresponding decrease in 
crime, delinquency, health and welfare costs. It all seems so simple. But the 
lobbyists are still making themselves heard and the Labor Relations acts have 
not yet been opened to include farm laborers. 

Meanwhile, down on the farm, the farmer passes along all the ailments of a 
sick economy to his field hands. The truth of the matter is that the farmer is in 
a very serious plight and does need federal help. But he does not need a James 
Bond license to kill in order to survive. He needs guidance in better methods of 
production and harvesting. He does not need to overreeruit in order to get a 
fast harvest while field hands who have traveled a thousand miles to get a 
job find that there is not enough money available to keep a man alive. 

Suffolk County farmers have their own peculiar set of problems, but we 
suspect that these problems form a pattern with wider implications. Perhaps 
the first of these is the urban sprawl of housing developments. As the Island 
fills with people the acreage price of land increases and every farmer knows 
that the time is not too far oft when the most valuable crop he can grow will be 
houses. Therefore the farmer is not eager to spend money for farm labor housing 
which will be useless to him in ten or fifteen years. Therefore the labor housing 
delapidates. Therefore the plight of the farm worker gets more desperate as the 
Island becomes more prosperous. 

An interesting aspect of this occurred in Riverhead Township where the Town 
Board broke their own zoning regulations to allow farmers to house their workers 
in mobile trailers. Civil Rights people argued reasonably that the vastly superior 
trailer housing was a bigotted ploy. If the land will be going up for sale in the 
near future then it is suspected that the farmers do not want permanent Negro 
settlements on that land. 

Another aspect of this was the death of six farm laborers in Suffolk in January 
due to inferior housing standards. Three people burned to death in a Bridge- 
hampton camp when a space heater exploded in overcrowded quarters. Then, 
because overburdened space heaters were a threat in the January cold snap, the 
crew leader in a Cutchogue camp kept his heat down and five of his men became 
sick. Since he did not want to lose his sixty cents a head per day pocket money 
on his laborers, the crew leader decided to force them to work by cutting off their 
daytime heat. Three of those men died of pneumonia in the next two week period. 
The Suffolk County Health Department was unable to do anything about the 
deaths of the six. 

A second Suffolk County farm problem is the unwillingness of the farmers to 
convert to crops other than potatoes. The 1967 potato crop spelled financial ruin 
to a large number of farmers, but potatoes are being planted in large numbers for 
1968. Somehow, growing potatoes on first grade land was a good practice prior 



76 

to world war II when transportation was a problem and a good crop was one 
which could be put into storage for the right time of sale. And potatoes were just 
the right crop during world war II when the black market price went up to $8.00 
a bushel. But potatoes have not been the right crop since then and the farmers 
have had to compete with potatoes grown on second grade land in Maine and 
New Jersey. But, as one farmer said, potatoes are a lazy man's crop and it's 
hard for a man to give up his vacations. The land is just right for raspberries 
according to the Suffolk Farm news. For they are an exotic crop which can be 
handled mechanically entirely and Suffolk is an ideal site for easy transportation 
to the major markets of New York and New England. But no raspberries are 
being planted. Neither are many farmers converting to truck farming, to readily 
marketable fresh vegetables which must be speedily trucked. Instead, good land 
is being used for an inferior purpose while a labor force is legally exploited. We 
spend much federal money fighting the golden nematode disease which afflicts 
potatoes when the disease may be the potato itself. 

So we wonder whether we havn't the brains and the power to correct the 
senseless migrant farm labor system. Or is the migrant system only the whiplash, 
of a much larger system in this nation which makes the economy and the ma- 
chines more important than the human beings within it? If this is true, then we 
have to be concerned about the migrant, because he is us. He is what we are 
becoming. 

December 18, 1968. 
Mr. John E. Long, 

Consultant, Manpower and Training, New York Office of Economic Opportunity, 
New York, N.Y. 

Dear Buddy : I'm sorry I do not have all of my material available on the 1966 
attempt to rebuild the Cutchogue Labor Camp. My material on migrancy is 
rather extensive and I recently put it in the hands of a VISTA worker to 
file and sort for me. He is now away for the Christmas holidays. However, I 
found several pieces which I am enclosing. Item number two spells out the 
reason why the re-building project ground to a halt after some months of 
intensive effort. Since it is a personal letter and only hearsay, I'd appreciate it if 
you would use for general guidance only and dispose of it. 

The Newsday articles and the letter to Bob Griscom are items I'd like returned 
to my files when you are through with them. 

As I remember it, the movement to re-build the camp began in December 1965 
when the Co-op was informed by William Rainville of the Riverhead office 
of the Farmers' Home Administration that a grant and loan program was avail- 
able to farm co-operative for the rebuilding of farm labor camps. A rather large 
sum of money (I believe 2 billion) was approved by Congress for the overall 
uplift of migrant housing across the country and put into the hands of the 
Dept. of Agriculture for administration. Since I was Chairman of the Southold 
Town Economic Opportunity Committee and had recently been chairman of 
the migrant committee of the Suffolk County Council of Churches, it was only 
natural that I should work for the better housing desperately needed at the 
camp. 

The farmers felt that they could not afford to encumber themselves with the 
debt involved in a 50% grant, 50% loan combination and so applied for a 75% 
grant, 25% loan on their project. Shortly thereafter, we were assured by the 
Riverhead office of the FHA that a 66%% grant, 33%% loan combination was 
within the realm of possibility. The thing was processed and then in late March 
the farmers received word that a set of administrative guidelines which directed 
that only "non-profit co-operatives composed chiefly of non-growers" was eligible 
for a grant. An article appeared then in the Sunday New York Times in which 
I said something about it being a shame and that only the migrants were punished 
in the long run. And then Senator Kenedy and a Mr. Lyons of the FHA both 
responded with "Lets look this thing over again". 

The meeting in Senator Kennedy's office was presided over by Thomas 
Johnston with myself, the Rev. Ben Burns, Horace Wells, County Ag agent, 
Sidney Beckweth of the Health Dept. Barthly Beach and Mr. Lyons of the 
FHA, Harold Bushue and Ellen Upsham (VISTA), Wm. Chudiac and Al Patrick 
of the Co-op. I was the spokesman for the co-op. Calls were made to Washington 
and we seemed to get agreement that a grant loan combination was indeed 
possible, but when I pressed Mr. Lyons, he said it would have to be a 50-50 deal. 
The farmers felt they could only do it with the 66% grant and we had everything 
set with the exception of $17,000 which hung in limbo. Tom Johnston suggested 



77 

that we might be able to get a founclatiou grant for that amount and I agreed 
to provide a packet of materials and a proposal for Kennedy's office. This 
proposal was then duplicated and sent to a hundred foundations and the only 
response received was from the Ford Foundation. Christopher Edley of the 
Ford Foundation told Harold Bushue and myself that funds were available 
for a program (e.g. a social worker camp manager with a Masters degree) but 
not for bricks and mortar. 

I then made contact with a number of people to find ways to correct the housing 
situation at Cutchogue (for the sake of the uugrants) and Senator Kennedy sent 
several people from Washington to visit me in my office. Bib Griscom (pilot for 
the Caroline) had recently lost his son in a tragic accident and Kennedy assigned 
him to work with me until his affairs were in order. I then learned that the re- 
building project was blocked at the County level for reasons that were probably as 
legitimate as my endeavors for better housing. 

In September, I took Harry Minkoff and a group of people from the Long 
Island Advisory board of the State Human Rights Commission on a tour through 
the camp. Mr. Minkoff received a booklet of materials and proposals from me 
and sought to obtain help. Mrs. Saperstein of the same committee wrote a report 
with the reconunendations which was suppressed for some time l)y the then chair- 
man of the State Human Rights Commission and then finally released. 

We were finally up against a wall and we simply continued to do migrant work 
Tvith the bandaid efforts of our VISTA volunteers. It has bothered me no end 
all this time to know that an agency of the federal government has the authori- 
zation to correct a festering sore in our land and only plays games with a few 
demonstration projects. 

The "What Harvest for the Reaper?" film was made during the summer and 
fall of 19G7. We were involved toward the end of the filming and this overlapped 
the report of the Suffolk County Department of Labor which described and 
documented rotten farm laboring conditions in the County but passed them by 
with a statement that most of the laborers seemed to have been taken out of the 
bottom of the barrel. I hit the roof, since I knew a large number of these men 
personally, and wrote a proposal that the County appoint a task force committee 
composed of a wide spectrum of persons involved in the migrant labor prol)lem 
and bring a measure of control and decency to the system. The County was not 
open to the proposal and kept it in a bottom drawer until the January disastrous 
fire in Bridgehampton made the proposal expedient. The report of that commit- 
tee, which met until May, 1968, and which includes recommendations for the 
correction of migrant housing deficiencies, has not been released as of this date. 

The Co-op was under considerable pressure following the release of the film 
and demolished a collapsed structure, removed the Iiarb wire, and agreed to come 
np with a number of improvements dictated by the County Health Department. 
In May. 1908. the Co-op applied for loan funds to the tuiie of $10,000 from the 
FHA and fully expected to have no trouble since the FHA guidelines say that as 
a profit making co-operative they are eligible for low cost loans for the replace- 
ment of existing housing. However, although they complied with the rules saying 
that they must submit a financial statement, they have in effect been refused a 
loan under a new request from the FHA for a personal financial statement from 
each one of the members of the co-operative. In addition, they have learned that 
their loan was killed by probably the same official who held back on the 1966 
attempt. 

I am not inclined to cry over the $10,000 problem the co-op now has. A $10,000 
inve.stment in housing for 3.5 men in the building called "mortgage towers" is a 
very small sum when you consider the price of a tractor these days. But I am 
concerned with a breach of faith on the part of the FHA. Since this agency of 
government has revolving funds for the improvement of migrant hou.sing and has 
a mandate of the people to use those funds, we shouldn't permit game playing 
with the small people who have little political power. 

At the moment, the co-op is caught in a real bind and inclined to yell "murder". 
I doubt if it will get them very far. But, whether they yell or not. I think it might 
be useful for the Governor's Inter-Departmental to look into the situation. The 
results of such an effort might prove beneficial not only to migrant life on Long 
Island, but also over the entire state. 

Last year (on Christmas day) we conducted services in a cold room of the 
child care center at the camp. One young woman sat there with a baby girl in her 
arms, a baby with long graceful fingers, a quiet baby. I kept thinking then about 
another baby born in disgraceful housing, born with all the indifference of a non- 



78 

caring, tax collecting government facing it. I though about Christmas then and 
now and knew the system had to change somehow. 
Sincerely yours, 

Akthur C. Bkyant. 

Speech by Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, Vice Chairman of the Suffolk County 
Human Relations Commission, Chairman of the Southold Town VISTA. 
Project. 

What can te done about migrancy in Suffolk County? 

(1) Ask the County, nag the Country, get the County to release the report 
of the task force committee on migrant labor. The committee completed its 
work back in June — but nothing as happened since then. (Since the committee 
was farmer dominated, we must not expect great things from it. But then, since 
farmers did participate, we ought to expect the supervisors to implement the 
minimal improvements I'ecommended. ) 

(2) Urge the County to adopt the housing chapter of the State Health Code. 
A notoriously rotten migrant camp in Riverhead has been filled with seasonal 
farm workers who live year round in the camp. The camp would now be in 
violation of the low standards of Chapter 15 of the NY Sanitary Code (migrants) 
but the crew leader has had the camp classified as a rooming house instead of 
a migrant camp. Normally such a switch would bring the camp into an area of 
higher standards. However, this camp lies in Southampton Township which 
has no standards and the County has no control. 

(3) Volunteer time should be offered to SEA (Seasonal Employees in Agri- 
culture) a funded Economic Opportunity program for migrants in Riverhead. 
Action should be taken to make this program county wide serving 89 camps 
as well as the resident seasonal workers and strong efforts should be made to 
retrain people and help them escape the system. Although this program is pre- 
vented by the government from really doing a job — unionizing the migrants and 
enabling them to fight for themselves — the program is still of value and can 
be made effective. 

(4) Volunteer time should be offered to the United Farm Workers. The grape 
pickers' strike has to succeed if we are ever to get adequate unionization on 
the east coast. However, the grape pickers should commit themselves to the east 
coast struggle at the same time. 

(5) Should potatoes be the primary crop in Suffolk County? Or have changes 
in transportation and processing indicated that our farmers are making a poor 
use of the land? 

Are migrant field hands really necessary for a potato farm operation? One 
farmer claims that he does far better with three year round employees than his 
neighbor does with fifteen migrants. 

One farmer in the film asks why he can't be guaranteed a price every year for 
his produce. Could this be done with potatoes? Would a guaranteed price and a , 
staggered system for planting and harvesting give stability to the industry and 
allow for the year round employment of permanent residents ? 

What are the psychological implications of migrancy? One man suggests that 
migrancy like slavery brings a moral decay into a community. Farmers be- 
come junior excutives, have someone to blame for everything that goes wrong, 
enjoy feeling superior to dark skinned workers — carry this over into their 
personal lives, have a changed relationship with their wives and children, have 
altered attitudes toward pastors and priests in church life. 

What are the implications of migrancy for the mental health of the migrant? 
Is the high rate of epilepsy a result of the recruitment of broken people for a 
peonage system? Or are the minds of the migrants broken by the crowded condi- 
tions in a bull pen, by the cheap alcohol, by the poverty, by the hopelessness? 

What does migrancy do to a community near a migrant camp? Why do neigh- 
boring communities generally support and sympathize with the owner of a camp? 
Why don't these communities become angry at the crime, delinquency, health, , 
and welfare problems that spill over and cost money and sometimes lives? When 
there is anger, why is it directed against the helpless and the exploited? 

What are the inter-relationships between the migrant stream and the political 
powers of a community? Why are federal, state and county laws geared to re- 
garding migrants as a sub-species of human being when clear evidence seems 
to indicate that it is to the disadvantage of the community when any people 
are subjugated? 



79 

Why has New York State allowed both its agricultural and its fishing indus- 
tries to sicken? Is there anything that the State can do to restore health to its 
food producing industries? Should the State make the effort? Is there a national 
plan to locate food producing areas in the center of the country? 

How do you re-educate a fullgrown man who has been oppressed by South- 
ern discrimination who has been poorly educated (if at all) who has no hope, 
who has learned to con people in order to survive, who has generally broken all 
family ties? 

What is the inter-relationship between the use of Negro labor in the South and 
in the rural North? Is there a relationship between the 50 square feet conges- 
tion rate in a migrant camp and the 121,000 people per square block congestion 
in Harlem ? 

Puerto Rico says that her workers should have a contract, be guaranteed 160 
working hours in a four week period, have paid transportation to and from the 
place of work. It is illegal to recruit farm labor in Puerto Rico without a contract. 
Why did only 69 Puerto Rican laborers in Suffolk County have contracts this 
year when 500 were brought up to work in our fields? 

What can 6e done about migrancy in New York State? 
Request through petitions, letters, personal contacts, etc. 

(1) That the State act to alleviate the conditions portrayed in "What Harvest 
for the Reaper"? Letters to the Governor must be marked "personal-not directed 
to the department of Agriculture". 

(2) That the New York State Labor Relations Act be extended to include farm 
workers. 

(3) That all farm workers be protected by unemployment and workmen's 
compensation insurance. 

(4) That all workers brought into New York from out of State or processed 
through the New York State Employment service be given a contract guarantee- 
ing 160 hours work in each four week period. 

(5) That New York raise the standards of the State Sanitary Code, chapter 
15, to conform to the provisions of the New York State Model Housing Code 
chapter on migrants. 

(6) That investigations be made into the illegal sale of cigarets and wine at 
migrant camps. 

(7) That farm workers be guaranteed the state minimum wage. 

What oan be done about migrancy in the United States? 
Request through letters, petitions, personal contacts, etc. . . . that : 

(1) The National Labor Relations Act be amended to make its provisions ap- 
plicable to agriculture. Contact: Rev. Eugene L. Boutilier, Director, National 
Campaign for Agricultural Democracy, Room 201, 110 Maryland Ave. N.E. 
Washington, D.C. 20002. 

(2) The minimum wage for agricultural workers be made equal to that en- 
joyed by other American workers covered by the interstate commerce Act. 

(3 That migrants processed through the U.S. Employment Service be pro- 
tected by a contract guaranteeing 160 hours of work in a four week work period. 

(4) That migrants processed through the U.S. Employment Service be guar- 
anteed a minimum of 80 square feet dormitory space per person. 

(5) That the grant and loan provisions of the Farmers' Home Administration 
be extended and made more readily available to farmers who wish to improve 
the housing conditions of their workers. 

And then there is something else 

With some money and leg work, we ought to be able to provide stake funds 
for migrants who wish to leave the stream but can't do it without capital. Stake 
fund activity can be very rewarding for people who want action now. 

February 1969. 

Re opportunities for migrant workers in the State of New York. 

To : Governor Nelson Rockefeller. 

From : The Suffolk County Human Relations Commission, Mr. Ralph Watkins, 

Chairman, Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, Vice Chairman and Migrant Chairman. 

The preamble of the Human Rights Law of New York Stdtes (July 1, 1968) 
states : ''The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the state has the responsi- 



80 

"bility to act to insure that every individual within this state is afforded an 
equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life and that failure to provide 
such equal opportunity, whether because of discrimination, prejudice, intol- 
erance or inadequate education, training, housing or health care not only 
threatens the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants but menaces the 
institutions and foundations of a free democratic state and threatens the peace, 
order, health, safety and general welfare of the state and its inhabitants." 

Twenty-four thousand seasonal farm workers annually migrate to the state of 
New York, the sixth largest user of migrant in tlie union. When they arrive in 
the state which has the finest civil rights legislation in the country, they find 
that they are systematically excluded from the equal opportunity promised to 
the inhabitants of the state, they are excluded from the New York State Labor 
Relations Act, are provided with a minimum wage which is inferior to that 
granted other workers in the state, and have their housing standards de- 
termined by an anachronistic state health code which provides separate and 
unequal treatment. 

Since better than 99% of the migrant workers are non-white, minority group 
citizens of this county, the Suffolk County Human Relations Commission is 
particularly concerned about their plight. Our Commission has worked inten- 
sively with the approximately 4000 migrants who come into Suflfolk, the foremost 
agricultural county in the state. We have learned, for instance, that the only 
protective contracts available to migrants are those legally binding on the users 
of the five hundred Puerto Rican migrants who come into the County. But only 
61 of the 500 came into the county protected by contract, the others having been 
illegally recruited by Suffolk farmers. Black migrants have been provided with 
virtually no protection. 

One third of the migrant force in New York State has been recruited through 
the services of the United States Employment Service and have accordingly 
been processed through the New York State Employment Service. Such workers 
have been directed to jobs which have no guarantee of a week of work. New 
York State sends men to jobs where work sometimes does not materialize for 
several weeks while camp indebtedness builds and traps men in an unwanted 
environment. And when work is available, the men find themselves against a 
system called "down time" where they are not paid if the machinery stops. Even 
the inferior hourly wage law for migrants is meaningless when it is possible 
and legal to pay a worker only five hours wages for a ten hour work day. We 
believe that it is possible for the state of New York to adopt work week con- 
tracts such as those used by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and see that 
these contracts ai-e enforced. 

Housing for migrant workers is governed by chapter 15 of the New York 
Sanitary Code. This code was revised last March to guarantee 50 square feet of 
living space per man in dormitory housing. The space provided for a grown 
man is approximately the size of the top of a pool table. This is in contrast to 
the New York State Model Housing Code for townships which guarantees 80 
square feet of living space for a child over the age of two. Under the same State 
Sanitary code, outhouses are still legal in up-state New York at a ratio of one 
John for 15 men. The Sanitary code effectively guarantees the existence of the 
"bull pen" system, as it is described by the workers. The situation is created 
where the bully rules, the alcoholic throws up on the floor, and the T.B. victim 
coughs in everyone's face. In addition, most "bull pens" provide a shortage of 
chairs, no place to read a book, no place to keep private belongings under lock 
and key. When the troubles brewed in the inhuman bull pen spill over into the 
community, the state picks up the tab for crime, delinquency, health and wel- 
fare problems. 

Migrants are not adequately protected by unemployment insurance. Field 
workers are denied access to unemployment insurance. Grader or shed workers 
are not informed of their rights and usually depend upon the welfare system 
when un-employed or under-employed. Migrants are also inadequately covered 
by workmen's compensation and in some cases have to bring suit (without 
funds) in order to secure justice. 

The illegal sale of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes is common within 
migrant caps and law enforcement oflicials seem unwilling to correct the situa- 
tion. The illegal pushing of cheap wines at the camps not only works a hardship 
upon the sober worker, but also creates severe problems in the communities sur- 
rounding the camps. 



81 

The principal defect in the migrant lahor system is the failure of the state 
and federal governments to include migrants under the provisions of the labor 
relations act. Consequently this portion of our work force has no voice in its 
own destiny and is instead ruled by a set of indifferent and paternalistic laws- 
Should the state really have the responsibility to provide "equal opportunity" 
to its inhabitants, then its first corrective step should be to extend the labor 
Relations Act to migrant workers. 

The state should look to the efforts of the United Farm Workers of Cali- 
foi-nia. When Union contracts were established with the Schenley Company, a 
migrant camp housing five hundred workers was emptied. Workers in the local 
pocket of poverty now go to work in the morning and return to their families 
in the evening and no longer have to travel to Texas as migrants. We believe 
that a legitimate opening for a good union for farm workers would go a long 
way toward opening year round jobs for permanent residents of the state and 
relieve the state of the many satelite costs that the taxpayer now assumes as 
a subsidy for a twentieth century form of slavery. 



[From the Long Island Catholic, Thursday, Apr. 17, 1969] 
Editorials — Farmworkers Plight 

A little over a year ago, The Long Island Catholic ran a series of articles 
on the farmworker, farmer situation on eastern Long Island. Last November we 
went back to the agricultural scene to take a follow-up look at what progress 
had been made in bettering the conditions of both the workers and the farmers. 
In the past few weeks, we have again revisited the farm world. 

We are not impressed. In spite of a .stated and publicized interest among indi- 
viduals, groups, and legal representatives in the New York State Department, 
we feel the farm worker in 1969 will find little more to cheer about than in 
previous years. 

Multiple agencies, both publicly funded and privately run, have offered their 
help to the men in the labor camps. Some progress has been made in getting im- 
proved living conditions, medical care, and education for literacy. 

But who has put more money in the farm worker's paycheck for the work 
week he puts in? Is the farmer's fear of a workers' strike at a critical point in 
the season a valid reason for excluding the farm woi'ker from the right to bargain 
collectively and speak for himself? Why is he still not eligible for compulsory 
workmen's compensation and unemployment insurance, receiving these benefits 
only if the farmer chooses to offer these protections? 

Other questions also bother us. Last spring. Suffolk County Executive H. Lee 
Dennison set up a nine-man task force to study the farmer and employee situ- 
ation in Suffolk. As yet, a report on their findings has not been published. Where 
is the commission's report? Why has there been such a long delay? 

Again, why must workers in the potato grading sheds, mostly run by industrial 
outfits, still be exploited by the "down-time" system, where they must put in 
their time, but get paid only when the machines are running? 

As for the farmers, no one denies their very real problems. Because we are 
concerned about these, our reporter called Farm Bureau and requested an inter- 
view with a few farmers, precisely for the purpose of doing a story on the prob- 
lems of agriculture from the farmers' point of view. 

Though the interview was arranged with this assurance, our reporter arrived 
in Riverhead. to find only one farmer present. He demanded that no story be 
written on the migrant workers. He said the farmers had been hurt by bad pub- 
licity, and that they were angry. 

Our suggestion is that the farmers put aside their anger and move immedi- 
ately in the direction of communicating with all county, public and private 
agencies concerned about the agricultural situation, so as to begin working to- 
wards professional solutions of these problems. Could we also question the 
morality of their equating the cost of improving camp conditions with the right 
of a man to a small square area of living and breathing space in the camp where 
he lives for an entire work season? 

We feel it is imperative that all conscientious residents of Long Island urge 
their state legislators to reject bills — such as the Walkley proposal to delay camp 
operators' compliance with the 1968 Sanitation Code — and to vote for bills 
which would tangibly aid the farmworkers, such as those advocated by the Suf- 
folk County Human Relations Commission and the New York Catholic Committee. 



82 

From our point of view, there is only one long lasting way to help the farm i 
workers. It must be through including them in the National Labor Relations Act 
and with effective legislation which will propel them into the ranks of equality 
with other American laborers. 

It is long past time for all of us — who enjoy the fruits of the farm laborers 
hands — to recognize the intrinsic value of his labor. 



[From the Long Island (N.Y.) Catholic, Thursday, Apr. 1] 

The Migeant Laboe Problem — Workebs, Farmers Air Views 

(By Antoinette Bosco) 

One year ago The Long Island Catholic first looked into the migrant situation 
in Suffolk County. The effort resulted in a series of articles that explored various 
aspects of the situation. This past month The Long Island Catholic re-focused 
its attention on the same issue. These two stories — from two different sides — 
offer an up-dated examination. 

The seasonal farm worker on Long Island will find his 1969 situation a little 
different from that of former years. 

On the positive side — 

More people in both Long Island counties are now aware that Eastern Suffolk 
County needs migrant and seasonal labor to maintain a productive agricultural 
economy. 

Some two dozen agencies, public and private, vocally and/or actually offer 
health, tutoring, limited job training and emergency needs services to the farm 
worker. 

Camp housing has been improved, at least to the extent that each man now 
gets another 10 feet of space, in accordance with the New York State Sanitary 
Code legislated last year. 

As of Feb. 1. farm workers recruited through the New York State Employment 
services began receiving 15 cents more per hour, bringing their hourly wage up 
to $1.30 — still significantly less than the minimum wage of other workers. 

The gains are few. The negatives are still overwhelming. 

Migrants and farm laborers are still specifically excluded from the National 
Labor Relations Act, which means they have no channel for collective bargain- 
ing, or for putting their just complaints on the table. 

They are not represented by a union, or even remotely close to starting one. 
They are not covered by unemployment insurance or workmen's compensation. 

Farm workers processed through the United States Employment service are 
still not protected by any kind of contract that would guarantee them a full 
month's work, or 160 hours of work over a four-week period. 

The "down-time" system has not been changed, where a worker gets no pay 
for idle hours on the job which are not his fault. A bill has been proposed to give 
them half -pay during these frequent work-stop periods. 

To add to the negatives, Republican Assemblyman Frank Walkley has spon- 
sored a bill in the state legislature to extend the limit to as much as 10 years 
before camp operators would have to conform to the 1968 State Sanitary Code. 

"They're even trying to take away the few feet the migrants got," commented 
the Rev. Arthur Bryant, migrancy chairman of the Suffolk County Human Rela- 
tions Commission and pastor of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Greenport. 

A flurry of public interest in Suffolk's migi-ants a year ago— which coincided 
with a six-part series on the problems of workers and farmers in The Long 
Island Catholic— brought representatives from the State Migrancy Commission 
to Riverhead in Feb., 1968, to hold hearings for airing of agricultural problems. 

Further state-level interest was evident in the apopintment of Jack M. Sable, 
a social worker and head of the State Economic Opportunity Office, as the 
rhairman of the Governor's Interdepartmental Committee on Migrant Labor. 
In March, Governor Rockefeller created an advisory council on migrant labor to 
work as a liason between local governments and private agencies and Mr. Sable's 
committee. 

After the Riverhead hearings, Suffolk County Executive H. Lee Dennison set 
up a nine-member commission as a "task force" to "gather information and sub- 
mit recommendations" to the county for ways of improving the conditions of 
both farmers and workers. 

While the work of the commission was completed in June, 10 months ago, no 
report is yet available as to exactly what the commission learned and recom- 



83 

mended ot Mr. Dennison. Miss Lucy Lemmer, who was chairman of this commis- 
sion, told The Long Insland Catholic in mid-March that the report would be 
available within a few weeks. It has not been received so far. 

Rick Van Dyke, migrant coordinator in Riverhead, hired by the Suffolk Coun- 
cil of Churches, said that fewer migrants are coming to this area each year. He 
predicts the probable decrease in 1969 will be from 150 to 200 workers. His 
estimate for 1967 was 2,934 migrant and seasonal workers. In 1968, this had 
dropped to 2,629 persons. 

"It's a small problem," said Rev. Bryant, "but a lot of people." 

The Lutheran pastor maintains that the basic problem is lack of legislation for 
farm worker rights. 

"It's a constitutional issue as I now see it. The farm workers have been voted 
out of citizenship. They have no voice in their own destiny. The government plays 
games, saying, we're not out to hurt the worker, but we're trying to help the 
farmer. And they sell the rights of human beings down the river. 

"Field hands can't organize. They're not included in the labor relations act so 
they can't speak for themselves. They have no representation, no guarantee of a 
minimum income, no unemployment insurance," said Pastor Bryant. 

The Suffolk County Human Relations Commission has taken positions on about 
45 1969 bills before the state legislature, all relative to race, poverty, and welfare. 
The work of preparing the statements on these bills was "developed by and ad 
hoc group of people from churches, universities and civil rights groups as well 
as from the Suffolk Human Relations Commission," said George Pettengill, execu- 
tive director of the commission. 

New York's Catholic bishops, through the New York State Catholic Committee, 
have asked the legislature to approve 12 bills which would eliminate some of "the 
inequities" long suffered by farm laborers. 

The 12 bills whose passage was "urged" by the Catholic committee, would seek 
the following : 

To extend workmen's compensation to farm laborers. 

To clarify workmen's compensation coverage of farm workers. 

To extend coverage of the Labor Relations Act to farm workers. 

To require written contracts for migrant farm workers. 

To give the attorney general the power to protect the migrant farm worker 
from unfair practices by stores and employees. 

To extend coverage of the minimum wage law to farm laborers. 

To require that the employer obtain a health certificate of any migrant brought 
into the State. 

To require adequate toilet facilities in farm labor camps. 

To require the employer to give the farm laborer his name, address and facts 
about deduction. 

To extend unemployment insurance coverage to farm labor. 

To require employer to provide a pay phone in labor camp. 

To require payment of partial wage to farm labor for idle time due to equip- 
ment failure. 

[From Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., Apr. 11, 1969] 

State Units Probe LI Migrant's Death 

(By Jim Toedtman) 

Riverhead — Gov. Rockefeller's Commission on Migrant Labor and the State 
Division of Human Rights opened investigations yesterday into the hospital 
treatment given to an Aquebogue farm worker less than 10 hours before he died. 

Dr. Jack Sable, chairman of the migrant commission, and James Foster, 
regional director of the human rights division, said that they were investigating 
the death Tuesday morning of James Bittle, 40, whose body was found at the 
Lipco-Agway labor camp on Edgar Avenue in Aquebogue. Bittle had complained 
of pains, a high fever and nausea Monday, and was treated at 8 PM for a sore 
throat at Central Suffolk Hospital. He then returned to the one-story barracks 
where he had lived for a week and died in his sleep between 4 and 6 AM. 

The Riverhead Town Police Department, investigating the death, reported that 
there was "no outward signs of violence," but said it was still awaiting the final 
autopsy. A spokesman for the Suffolk medical examiner said that the autopsy 
report would be made after additional studies of various body tissues. 

The state probe began a day after the Suffolk Human Relations Commission 
launched its own investigation to find "why this critically ill man was not ad- 



84 

mitted to the hospital," according to the Commission's vice chairman, the Rev. 
Arthur C. Bryant of Greenport. 

Patrick J. Farrell, assistant administrator of the hospital, said that he was 
unaware of the investigations, but said that Bittle had not appeared to be seri- 
ously ill when he was examined Monday by Dr. Fernando Cabebe. "I have re- 
viewed the record," Farrell said. "There was no need to feel that he should be 
hospitalized." 

Sable said that State Human Rights Commissioner Ruperto Ruiz was inves- 
tigating the incident for the governor's commission and would file a preliminary 
report today. "We want to detennine if by denying entrance (to the hospital), 
there was a violation of his human rights," Sable said. Foster said that his in- 
vestigation had also begun, but would not elaborate. 

James Brown, Bittle's crew leader, and Mrs. Helen Davis, health coordinator 
for the Seasonal Employes in Agriculture, a federally funded program for mi- 
grant workers, criticized the hospital for its treatment of migrant workers. 

"I've tried to get all my men into the hospital at some time. They'll give them 
a pill, but they won't take them in," Brown said. Mrs. Davis added, "Crew leaders 
can't get their workers admitted." But she said that the 10 persons he had 
referred to the hospital in the last four and one-half months have been admitted. 
Farrell said that the criticism was unfounded. He said that farm workers are 
"treated like all other patients." 

Bittle had migrated to Suffolk from Baltimore three years ago. For most of 
that time he worked as a landscaper for several contractors. Two months ago, 
however, he joined Brown's crew of 35 laborers employed by Lipco-Agway, and 
early last week moved to the drafty, "bullpen type" barracks with 13 other men. 

At the hospital, officials there said, Cabebe examined Bittle, foimd he had a 
sore throat and prescribed aspirin and penicillin and told him to see his personal 
physician, or the on-duty physician, Dr. Donald Farrell, the next morning. A 
friend of Bittle's, Clarence Taylor, said that Bittle was up "at about 4 in the 
morning and he (Bittle) asked me for a cigarette. He seemed all right then. Then 
we shook him for breakfast two hours later and he was dead." 



[From Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., Apr. 17, 1969] 

Assembly OKs Migrant Farm Wage 
(By Dick Zander, Newsday Political Writer) 

Albany. — Without any debate, the Assembly approved yesterday a proposal 
backed by Gov. Rockefeller that would set the state's first minimum wage for 
migrant farm workers at $1.40 an hour as of Oct. 1. 

The bill, passed unanimously, also called for raising that $1.40 figure to $1.50 
an hour as of Feb. 1, 1971. While there has been no state minimum for farm 
workers, there has been a federal minimum of $1.30 an hour. The bill, which is 
expected to be approved by the State Senate, apparently would have little effect 
on migrant workers in the state. Studies by the state, according to a spokesman 
for the Long Island Farm Bureau, show that the average farm worker earns 
$1.57 an hour. 

Philip Horton, tlie spokesman for the farm bureau, said that his organization 
backed Rockefeller's minimum wage proposal. Suffolk County farms are one of 
the major employers in the state of migrant workers. Last year during the farm 
season, 2,600 employes were hired, of which 1.800 were classified as migrants. 
The Suffolk Human Relations Commission has called for raising the state mini- 
mum wage for migrants to $1.60 an hour, which is the state minimum for most 
other jobs. Horton said of the commission's position, "This is going too high, 
too fast." The Rev. Arthur Bryant, vice chairman of the commission and head 
of its committee on migrant labor, said failure to raise the minimum to $1.60 
creates "an underclass." 

Other provisions of the new minimum wage bill provided (1) the state in- 
dustrial commissioner with authority to adopt res'ulations, after pulilic hear- 
ings, as to piece rates, non-hourly or weekly rates, food and Iodising allow- 
ances and other protections for workers, and (2) for the establishment of an 
advisory council, comprised of representatives of growers, farm workers and 
the public and an independent chairman to consult with and advise the in- 
dustrial commissioner on such regulations. 

Rockefeller en lied for passage of the measure yesterday in a special message 
to the Legislature. He also asked for aflirmative action on two other related 
proposals that already have been approved by the Assembly. One would 



85 

strengthen procedures for enforcing the public health law and sanitary code 
with regard to migrant labor camps and the other would permit farmers to 
provide, voluntarily, agricultural workers with unemployment insurance cover- 
age. Since the inception of unemployment insurance in the state, farm worliers 
have been excluded, even on a voluntary basis. Both of these bills now go to the 
Senate, where their chances of passage were considered good. 



Suffolk Countt Human Relations Commission, 

Hauppauge, N.Y., April 9, 1969. 
Re S3957 by Senator Robert Garcia 

A 394 by Assembylman Manuel Ramos 

We sincerely hope that you will help us to bring the above bills out of com- 
mittee and on to the floor for a vote. The bills would amend the New York Labor 
Relations Act, Art. 20, Sect. 701, paragraph 3 which presently excludes from the 
definition of employee "any individuals employed as farm laborers" by removing 
the exclusion. 

As we understand it, the 1937 exclusion was written in an attempt to help the 
depressed situation of New York State farmers. However, we see the inequities 
created as a basic violation of democracy in that the privileges of a favored group 
were enhanced at the expense of the rights of a weaker group. 

That collective bargaining is regarded as a "right" in this state is spelled out 
in the LRA itself. "It is likewise recognized that the denial of the right of em- 
ployees freely to organize and the resultant refusal to accept the procedure of 
collective bargaining, substantially and adversely affect the interest of employees, 
other employers, and the public in general. Such denial . . . tends to increase 
public and private expenditures for the relief of the needy and unemployed. It is 
hereby declared to be the public policy of the state to encourage the practice and 
procedure of collective bargaining. . . ." 

Exclusion of farm workers from the NYLRA has not proven beneficial to the 
farm economy. The history of these past 32 years has shown a constant swallow- 
ing up of the small farmer by large growers and processors who have had the 
advantage of cheap exploited labor. The resultant peonage state of the voteless 
and voiceless farm laborer is a horrible commentary on an otherwise progressive 
state. 

Inclusion of farm laborers under the National Labor Relations Act would only 
cover 10% of the 24,000 workers who migrate to New York State. The problem 
is basically a state issue. Two states, Hawaii and Wisconsin, include farm workers 
in their labor relations acts without visable hardship to their agricultural econ- 
omy. There is no responsible reason for continuing an old injustice. Farmer fears 
of Communism, crippling strikes, boycotts, etc. are much more real without the 
control of the Labor Relations Act than with it. 

The issue of migrancy as a twentieth century form of slavery continues to be 
a very pressing issue among voter groups, college students, and civil rights groups 
on Long Island. It is an issue in Rochester. Wayne County and many other up- 
state communities. It will not be solved with any further proliferation of pater- 
nalistic migrant regulations. Many of us regard the issue as one of democratic 
process and note that the Human Rights Law considers it a function of the state 
to : "insure that every individual shall have an equal opportunity to participate 
fully in the economic, cultural, and intellectual life of the state." 

The New Jersey Governor's Task Force Committee on Migrancy in 1968 
encouraged coverage of farm laborers under Labor Relations Act provisions 
in that state and noted : "It is a triumph of bureaucracy over informed citizenry 
that with all the commissions, studies, hearings, and reports over a forty year 
period that little has resulted in tangible benefits for the worker." It is time now 
to give the farm laborer a voice in his own destiny, argue his own case and stand 
up as a man among men. The key to this is removal of his exclusion from the 
labor relations act. Please do what you can to bring action on the above bills. 
Yours truly, 

Arthxjr C. Bryant, Vice-Chairman. 

Key representatives to write if you wish to correct a long standing injustice 
and bring these bills to the floor for a vot|^ 

Your own State Senator and Assemblytnan and Senator Earl Brydges, Wilson 
County, Chairman of the Rules Committee, Senator Thomas Laverne, Rochester, 
Chr. of the Labor & Industry Committee, Senator Warren Anderson, Bingham- 
ton. Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Theodore D. Day, Interlaken, 



86 

Chr., Agriculture & Marketing Committee (address communications to Senators, 
The Capitol, Albany, N.Y. 12224). Assemblyman Perry B. Durea, Montauk, 
Speaker of the Assembly, Assemblyman John E. Kingston, Westbury, Majority 
Leader, Assemblyman Stanley Steingut, Brooklyn, Minority Leader. 

(Address communications to assemblyman at The Capitol, Albany, N.Y. 12224) 
Legislature reopens April 15 — closes April 29, 19G9 

Time Is Short 



Suffolk County Human Relations Commission, 

Hauppague, N.Y., April 20, 1969. 
Hon. Perry B. Dure:a, 
Speaker of the Assembly and 
Senator Earl Brydges, 

Chairman of the Rules Committee, The Capitol, 
Albany, New Yo7-k. 

Gentlemen : Under separate cover, I am sending approximately 5,000 petition: 
signatures gathered at the doors of Churches of the Metropolitan Synod of the 
Lutheran Church in America. The petitions for migrant legislation will go 
to rob the poor of my people from their right, that widows may be their spoil, and: 
on the subject from this week's Long Island Catholic. As you are no doubt 
aware, there has been considerable support from many church bodies for a 
program to bring migrants under coverage of the state Labor Eelations Act. 

The religious point of view is spelled out in the opening sentences of the 
tenth chapter of Isaiah : "Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the 
writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and 
to rob the poor of my people from their rights, that imdows may be their spoil, and 
that they may make the fatherless their prey." 

There's no need to get overly religious, gentlemen, but let's face it — 32 years 
of having an unjust law protected by a small committee in an otherwise demo- 
cratic government is just too much. Since you have the power to bring S3957 
and A394 out of committee and present them before the legislature, we ask that 
you use that power. Please ! 

The issue is exactly the same as that which preceded the Civil "War. Long 
delayed action on equality of rights creates explosive tensions. We do not expect 
a Civil War in this century, but the members of our commission have walked 
the streets as mediators in racial strife too many times in these past few years. 
We are fully aware of the tension now felt in our society. 

The denial of rights to black farm workers is probably the key to the whole 
civil rights movement. Migrancy is a living vestige of slavery. The struggle for 
the rights of our "rented slaves" brings into clear focus the choice our society 
has to make between property values and human values. 

We are asking for a vote — a democratic thing. Please make it possible. 
Sincerely yours, 

Aethxtr Bryant, Vice Chairman. 



[From Long Island (N.Y.) Press, Apr. 28, 1969] 
LI Migrant Workers Still Living in Squalor 

Squalor and filth greeted a Long Island congressman yesterday as he took a 
whirlwind tour of two Suffolk migrant camps before holding a hearing on prob- 
lems of seasonal employes. 

Rep. Allard Lowenstein, accompanied by representatives of the Suffolk Human 
Relation Commission and Seasonal Employes in Agriculture (SEA), visited the 
Agway Inc. and Mort Zahler camps on Edgar Avenue, Riverhead. 

Lowenstein, Long Beach Democrat, said later : "There exists a large group of 
Americans living under conditions that would not be proper even in the most 
primitive times." 

"We have much more to do that we have done," he said. "This only reinforces 
my determination to do something." s-, 

The House agricultural committee member asked the migrants about condi- 
tions. Most asked for help but their tired faces showed little hope. 

At the Zahler camp, a forgotten string of Christmas lights hung from the 
shingleless, leaking roof to a spot above a screen door rotted and peeling. 



87 

The heat inside the two-room shack was oppressive even with the windows open 
and a cool breeze blowing. A man inside spoke briefly with Lowenstein but with- 
out grasping what the meeting was all about. 

Lowenstein next toured the "bullpen," a building housing 21 cots and little 
else. The blankets on the bed were thin and worn. Mattresses showed the effects 
of years without change. Stuffing billowed from some ; others were so grimy and 
faded, their original color had long since disappeared. 

Two of the migrants, Frank Funn, 40, and Samuel Carter, 58, said they were in 
the camp because this is the only thing they know. 

One of the workers said the food was "pretty good" in response to a question 
from Lowenstein. "We get plenty of rice and beans," he said. He made no men- 
tion of meat. 

But several other workers said they occasionally were fed chicken, pigs 
knuckles and feet. 

Bathroom facilities consisted of two commodes, a sink and a shower. Water 
trickled from a pipe onto the muddy floor and room reeked of urine. 

At the Agway camp the "bullpen" had been newly painted. Some of the beds 
had mattress covers. 

But on the whole it was far below the housing standards one has become accus- 
tomed to — even in the wor.st areas of Long Island or any place else. 

Lowenstein returned to the SEA building on Flanders Road to hear migrants, 
farmers and others state their cases on the question of migrant housing. 

"Farm workers are serfs — strapped to the soil," said the Rev. Arthur Bryant, 
Suffolk Human Relation Commissioner vice chairman. "They are voteless because 
they are homeless." 

He told Lowenstein farmers were only obligated to provide 50 square feet for 
each laborer as compared to 80 for any other person. 

The laborers are only guaranteed ));i.40 an hour while the state minimum wage 
is $1.60. "Are they any less hungry," he asked. 

Raymond Nelso of SEA called the migrants the "lowest of the low when it 
comes to wages. 

"They spend $158 million for the protection of wildlife and fish," he said. "The 
migrants have no protection." 

A student at the State University at Old Westbury testified he had not received 
more than $37 a week during the summer he spent in the Agway camp. 

Mark Aron of Scarsdale said crew chiefs sold wine to the workers at markups 
ranging between 100 and 150 percent. "There's nothing to do out there and some- 
times a bottle of wine take.s your mind off the loneliues.s," he said. 

He also said the workers were not paid for time spent because of mechanical 
difficulties. "You get out there at 7 :30 a.m. after an hour truck ride and you sit 
until the truck arrives," he said. "The grader breaks down and you wait some 
more." 

Farmers Albert Zanowski and William Chudiak defended farm management 
practices. "We have to compete with Canadian farmers who don't have to pay 
any minimium wage," he said. 

Zanowski said prices received have been below cost of production for the past 
three years. In December, 1968, farmers were receiving $2 for 100 pounds of pota- 
toes. Last month, the price dropped to $185, according to the farmer. 

"I'd like to be able to pay the seasonal workers $2 an hour but I can't," he 
said. He noted area farmers had spent $5 million in the past several years to 
improve the migrant camps. 



Report of Suffolk Human Relations Commission to Suffolk Boabd of 

SUPEEVISOES — ChAPTEE ON MiGBANCY, MaY 1969 
MIGRANT FARM WOEKERS 

Out of genuine concern for the class, economic and racial discrimination the 
seasonal farm worker experiences when he enters Suffolk County, in November, 
1967, the Suffolk County Human Relations Commission recommended to the 
Board of Supervisors and the County Executive the immediate creation of a 
task force committee to write a comprehensive plan of action toward the phas- 
ing out of the migrant farm labor system in Suffolk which would insure humane 
working and living conditions for any seasonal farm workers caught in a transi- 
tional stage. The County responded and a Task Force Committee was formed 
in January, 1968. However, since the County did not include migrant workers on 



88 

this committee as recommeuded by tlie Commission, the Commission protested 
this violation of the dignity of those human beings most vitally concerned. Our 
protests were ignored. 

Although the Task Force Committee met regularly from January until May 1 
1968 and final committee reports were submitted at its closing session, no com- I 
prehensive report has been issued to the public and the Board of Supervisors \ 
has taken no action as yet to relieve the intolerable working and living condi- 
tions inflicted upon migrant workers in this County. We ask that the Board of 
Supervisors release the report of the Task Force committee immediately and 
that time be allotted at Board meetings for discussion and implementation of a 
number of good recommendations made by the committee. 

The report urges the extension of the National Labor Relations Act to include 
farm workers. This should be made public for the guidance of our legislators. 
Since New York State is presently considering similar extension of its Labor 
Relations Act it is important that its legislators become aware that a County 
of a million people approves extending the right of collective bargaining to an 
otherwise voiceless people. 

The report also recommends that the County request the State of New York 
to take action so that county governments may create housing authorities. This 
would be a first step toward providing adequate housing for migrant farm work- 
ers and other poor people in Suffolk County. The task force recommended that 
consideration be given to government operation of labor camps or other cen- 
tralized housing, together with provisions for job transportation. This should be 
seriously considered. 

In addition to the task force committee's report, the SCHRC requests that the 
County support pending legislation extending tenant rights of access to mi- 
grants living in labor camps. We find it a gross violation of human dignity that a 
IDrocessor's "no trespassing" sign can prevent farm laborer from having visitors 
to his rented home. We ask that the County Health Code be extended to require 
portable toilets for workers in the fields and adequate flush toilet facilities at 
places of work. We ask that social service information be made available to 
every migrant entering the County and that funds be provided to enable a distri- 
bution of easily read material (in English and Spanish) describing rights and 
laws available to farm workers in Suffolk. And we further ask that the County 
make known its firm intention to rigorously enforce all existing laws protecting 
the living and working conditions of farm laborers. 

As this is written we note that the average wage available to workers at one 
good camp during January, February, and March 1969 was $25.00 a week. The 
rent at this camp is $4.55 a week. The costs for board are $16.00 a week. Bever- 
ages (including breakfast coffee) are not included in the costs for board. An 8^ 
can of soda sells for 25<^. A 51<J bottle of wine sells for $1.00 cash and $1.25 on 
credit. A typical breakfast consists of grits. Supper consisted of pigs knees the 
night we visited. It is outrageous that human beings are so treated in Suffolk 
County, 1969. 

American Association of Univebsity Women, 

New York State Division, 
Amagansett, N.Y., May 14, 1969. 
Honorable Albert M. Martocchia, 
Supervisor, Toton of Southold, 
Southold, N.Y. 

Dear Mr. Martocchia, please add my voice to those who seek the reappoint- 
ment of The Rev. Arthur G. Bryant to the Suffolk County Human Relations 
Commission. Enclosed for your information is a copy of my September 12, 1968 
letter to the Board of Supervisors, urging Mr. Bryant's reappointment. 

Frankly, I find it strange that the Board finds any wisdom in delaying action 
on this sensitive appointment. Last night I spoke with Perry Duryea who agrees 
with me that this is an important post and Mr. Bryant is a good man. 

I am serving on an AAIJW Study for Action Committee, appointed by our 
Division last June in response to the Kerner Report. We have finished a survey 
of our 70 New York branches and following are brief excerpts which illustrate 
that the problems of migrants are entangled with the entire community, not 
only in Suffolk but throughout the State : 

Majority findings indicate one or more of the following inequities (re fair 
housing) : insuflScient personnel to enforce equal housing laws ; housing shortages 
within the low-to-middle income range. . . . Second in order of weaknesses was 



89 

the inadequate housing facilities and appalling high rents for low and middle 
income earners of all races . . . Inadequate public transportation . . . Discrim- 
ination against migrants also received much comment. 

Remedies may be found in a number of existing programs— Human Relations 
Commissions, Housing Boards, Business-Community sponsored housing . . . 

Areas which report conditions similar to those in Suffolk include Monroe and 
Broome Counties, and communities including Cortland, Jamestown, Niagara, 
Ontario, Buffalo and Elmira. Only where the government officials were dedicated 
to a genuine attack on community problems was there any glimer of hope of 
eventual solutions. Even then, enlightened officials were often hard-pressed to 
find individuals willing and qualified to grapple with the agonizing situations and 
confiicts involved. • ^i * 4. 

Politicians may be weary from the many pressure groups urgmg them to act 
on issues But they can be no more exhausted than are those who have to plead 
and beg for an equal opportunity and for relief from their crushing burdens. 
Further delay in reappointing a man who has won the confidence of Suffolk's 
minorities could create doubts as to the Board's sincerity. Actually, we need a 
dozen more Mr. Bryants. „ ,, -r. ^, it 

Your vote and support is essential to the effectiveness of Mr. Bryant s work. I 
ur<^e you to help expedite his reappointment as one way of showing the citizens 
of "Suffolk that the Board of Supervisors supports the fine and very professional 
work of the Suffolk Human Relations Commission which the Board created. 

Sincerely, 

Mrs. James H. Reutershan. 

Area Representative for Community Problems. 



[From Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N.Y.] 
Controversy — Rights Board Verdict Awaited 
(By Patricia Carroll, Sun Staff Writer) 

Riverhead.— Southold Supervisor Albert Martocchia said Monday he has not 
decided whether he will block the reappointment of the Rev. Arthur C. Bryant 
to the Suffiolk Human Relations Commission. 

Martocchia spoke after representatives of several county civil rights organiza- 
tions had urged the reappointment by the County Board of the vocal critic of 
Suffolk's migrant labor system. 

Asserting that he favors improvement of the migrant labor system, Martocchia 
said he has not made a decision because he is still waiting for recommendations 
Rnd su'^ffGstioiis. 

While County Executive H. Lee Dennison makes the formal appointment to the 
Commission, he bases his action on an unwritten "gentleman's agreement" under 
which appointments traditionally are not made without the approval of the local 

town supervisor. ,, ,j „. 

The Rev. Bryant resides in Greenport Village, Southold Town. 

Dennison and Martocchia both said Monday that they will not make a decision 
until after meeting with the Human Relations Commission next Monday. 

Andrew Hull, vice chairman of the Suffolk Civil Rights Coordinating Council, 
urged that Bryant be reappointed. In a letter to County Executive H. Lee Den- 
nison, Hull said that in October, 1968, the council formally voted such support. 
The council represents 40 civil rights groups in Suffolk. 

Hull also charged in the letter that Martocchia had been directed by ' persons 
outside of Suffolk County" to recommend the appointment of some one other than 
Reverend Bryant. 

"We can only view such an action with alarm and indignation," wrote Hull, 
"In so far as it seems to us a clumsy and heavy-handed reprisal on the part of the 
agricultural interests that feel threatened by the Reverend Bryant's continuing 
criticisms of the migrant labor system and by his exposure of this system . . ." 
, Martocchia said at the meeting that he has received several suggested names 
and that the names and any opposition to Rev. Bryant do not come from the 
agricultural interests. 

"I'm in favor of improvement of the migrant labor system," Martocchia said. 
"Some of them (migrant farms) are pretty sloppy." 

Several persons joined Hull in asking that Rev. Bryant be recommended for 
reappointment. 

36-.513 — 70— pt. 1 — —7 



90 

^ Thelma Drew, first vice president of tlie Smithtown brauch of NAACP which 

IS not represented by the council, urges reappointment of the Reverend B want 

He's domg a marvelous job," she said, "and he's doing it on a volunteer basis •' 



[From Suffolk Sun, Hauppague, N.Y.] 
Tender Toes 

In his capacity as chairman of the Suffolk Human Relations Commission's rn,,, 
mittee on migrant labor, the Rev. Arthur Bryant, of GreenVo^l has been ?oi^edo 
step on some tender political toes. Nevertheless, he has succSed Tn dmwi,^ 
public attention to the plight of farm laborers and achieving some reform^ ^ 

Unfortunately, the Rev. Mr. Bryant's term in office has exSd For x^asons 
too obvious to mention, the Board of Supervisors is not inclined to reaDnoint him 
County Executive H. Lee Dennison hopes to retain his uipaW services b^ref us S^ 
to appoint a successor, but this is not a satisfactory arrangement Somewhere Se 
Se'™e7;rfvi?ei' L "' '"' """"' '' '''"^""^^ " ^^" "^' MTdonrs^otuch for 
Pick Bryant, or Else, Rights Leaders Warn 

Hauppauge— Civil rights groups asked Suffolk County Executive Denni-on 
yesterday to reappoint the Rev. Arthur Bryant to the Suffolk goimtyHiima 
Relations Commission. And one civil rights leader said that if DenSii fai le 
denriSratfon^^''"*"'^'' ''^'' ''''''' ^'""^^ throughout the county would hold 

Ben Watford, president of the Smithtown branch of the NAACP, said that he 
and other civil rights leaders are convinced that Bryant's reappointment lia^ 
been blocked smce last year because of the minister's work on beK of migrant 
farm workers in Eastern Long Island. "If he's dumped, we're going to ?airy 
t%?J^7,^ 'r- ^V^^f ^"''*^t^« picketing every supervisor in every town we 
S.unty?^ ''' '""^'''^ ^^ P^*^ P'"''""^ ^^ ^^^^y supervisor in' the 

Watford said that the demand would be given to Dennison during a meetin- 
at Dennison's office at 9 AM today. Scheduled to attend the meeting in support 
°! S^ ultimatum were Clayton Chesson, chairman of the Eastern Suffolk chanter 
ot the Congress of Racial Equality and Thomas DeChalus, the NAACP's Suffolk 
regional director. Watford said : "I'm going to tell him that we're going to trv 
to keep the summer cool, but we need help . . . We're going to apply the 
pressure.' = o n j 

Dennison said later, "I'm not happy about receiving threats. But I have an 
appointment and I'll keep it." He said he would not make any appointments to 
the commission until after the county board and the rights group meet next 
Monday. 

Bryant has maintained that his outspoken criticism of the migrant labor sys- 
tem stymied his reappointment. "Some things were bitterly resented " he said 
yesterday. "Nobody resented the death of three migrants in Bridgehampton, but 
they resented talk about it." Three farm workers were killed in January, 1968, 
in a fire in a labor barracks which had been cited by the county health depart'- 
ment for heating and sanitary violations. 

Demands for the reappointment of Bryant have come from a number of civil 
rights groups throughout the county. Representatives of four groups appeared 
at Monday's Suffolk Board of Supervisors meeting to express their support of 
Bryant, who is vice chairman of the commission. In a recent confidential report 
to the county board, the County Human Rights Commission recommended the 
reappointment of Bryant, adding : "His forthright denunciations of the migrant 
labor system and his attempts to change or end it have resulted in his being 
blackballed by the supervisors." 

[From Sunday News, New York, N.Y., May 25, 1969] 

A Vanishing Breed — Time Changes the Migrants' Lot 

(By Michael Alonge) 

On a warm Monday morning, the migrant worker camp on Queen St. in Green- 
port was quiet. The approach of a car passing the no trespassing signs on the 
pot-holed road was watched silently by a heavyset black man in khaki. 



91 

The Rev. Arthur C. Bryant, chairman of the Suffolk Couuty Human Rela- 
tions Commission's Migrant Committee, was driving some visitors on a tour of 
several migrant camps. AVhen the car stopped, the man in khaki spoke to the 
men mside, then entered a long wooden, unpainted building to summon the 
crew leader. 

"No, you can't talk to the men," the crew leader, a neatly dressed black man, 
told the visitors. "It's not right your coming around on a Monday morning. The 
men, some of them, aren't feeling so well from drinking wine all weekend." 

The crew leader said he had to drive a photographer off the camp ground the 
week before. 

"A man's got a right to privacy," he said. "This isn't a bad place to live." 

The visitors, he ruled, could not enter the wooden building where the men lived. 

Several miles away, in Riverhead, the visitors later were welcomed into a 
camp run by Lipco Agway Co., one of Long Island's largest distributors and 
packers of farm products. 

They were shown clean, well-lit barracks-style rooms, where 31 men ate and 
slept. Clothes were hung neatly in racks and the floor was spotless— not a cigaret 
butt in sight. 

Fonnie (pronounced Fawny) Tetterton, 47, is the crew leader. He is a black 
man who came from North Carolina 16 years ago. He talked freely about his 
job and the men who work for him. 

"There are some decent people here," he said. "Some, though, do better than 
others." 

Wages, ranging from $1.60 to $1.80 an hour, have never been better, he said. 

"A man can make a few dollars if he wants to," Tetterton said. 

During the off-season he keeps his own crew busy painting, making repairs 
and cutting the grass around the camp. 

He said he encourages his crew to open savings accounts. 

"Some people," he said, "you gotta help to survive." 

These two camps perhaps are extremes. But they are typical of the condition 
of migrant worker camps as they exist on Long Island today. 

For more than a decade, the number of camps and m'igrants in Suffolk has 
steadily decreased. There were 134 camps with 2,332 migrants in 19.j8. Last 
year, there were 87 camps with 1,239 workers at the season's peak. 

Born into poverty in Mississippi or Arkansas or the Carolinas, generations 
of black migrants have moved with the harvest as perpetual wanderers through 
rural America. From Long Island they go to Virginia or Florida to pick potatoes 
or strawberries as the seasons change. 

Poorly paid, frequently with little or no family ties, always unorganized 
and often in virtual bondage to ruthless crew leaders, the migrants, until re- 
cently, were truly a forgotten people. 

In January, 1968, three farm workers, a mute woman and two men, burned 
to death in a shack in Bridgehampton. The door had been nailed shut to keep 
out the cold. The owner previously had been served with 31 violation notices. 
None had been prosecuted. 

Soon afterward, a crew leader in Cutchogue disconnected a fuel line to a 

bullpen"— the place where workers live— to force five sick men out of bed and 

into the fields. He collected 60 cents per man for each day they worked and he 

wanted no fooling around. All day the sick men huddled shivering in their 

bunks. Three died. 

The often illiterate migrants averaged $47 a week. But before they even 
started work, they owed the crew leader $30 for the bus trip to Long island 
$o tor use of a blanket. $16 a week for meals, a fuel charge of $2, and bus fare to 
and from the fields cost $1.2.3. The crewleader took 15 cents from each dnUar 
earned by the worker. All deductions made in advance 

Then in February, 1968, a documentary called "What Harvest for the 
Reaper? was shown on National Educational Television. 

Graphically depicting the conditions existing in a migrant camp in Cutchogue 
It revealed how migrants were recruited with promises of good wages and living 
conditions and then were systematically cheated bv an implicit understanding 
between the crew leaders and the indifferent farmers. 

The resulting shock waves brought extensive newspaper attention, and finally, 
action by the Legislature. Living standards were improved, health regulations 
tightened and, at the last session, a $1.40 minimum wage established 

The Rev. Mr. Bryant, however, notes that 12 bills aimed at improving migrant 
worker conditions died in committee this vear. 



92 

But clie farmers and dealers became incensed and bitterly attacked the news 
media, Bryant and other "do-gooders" for causing all the trouble. They even 
formed a '"Truth Squad" to correct what they felt were "distortions" in the 
migrant story. 

Because of his activities on behalf of the migrants, Bryant, who is pastor of 
St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Greenport, has been singled out as the target for 
much of the farmer's anger. A petition seeking to block his reappointment to the 
Human Relations Commission was sent to the county Board of Supervisors. 

Herbert Cassidy, a dealer who will not allow Bryant on his property, said, 
"Conditions were never as bad as the press has claimed. We always had good 
camps and always paid good wages. Ninety-nine per cent of what's been written 
is not true." 

Indeed, two migrants working for Cassidy said they were satisfied with their 
jobs and one said he had made $98 the week before. 

The mistrust of "outsiders," "do-gooders" and newsmen especially is still 
quite evident. Cassidy refused to permit any pictures to be taken and at one 
point threatened to smash a photographer's camera. 

Even Richard J. Carey, a manager of the Lipco-Agway Co., which is head- 
quartered in Syracuse and has oflices scattered from New England to Maryland, 
wanted only "favorable" pictures taken at the Agway camps. 

He explained the reason for the "no tresspassing" signs as basically a pro- 
tection for the workers against and "undesirable" intruders. 

"We don't like people going in and out. It's not a priivlege to enter private 
property without permission," he said. 

Carey said, however, that his company has "cooperated in every way with the 
Health Department and the sanitary facilities are above standard." 

Asked if the migrants were restricted from leaving the camps, Carey said : 
"That's a stupid question. They are not restricted in any way." 

It was noted that the barbed wire fence at the Cutchogue camp ran by the 
Eastern Suffolk Cooperative Association, made infamous by the television docu- 
mentary, has been cut down. 

Agway and other companies have abolished the crew leader system and have 
entered the direct to hire workers. At Agway, the crew leader is now simply 
another company employee. 

Arthur Penny, executive secretary of the Long Island Marketing Association, 
a cooperative w'hich represents 20 to 30 packing and shipping firms in the area, 
pointed out several recent improvements made in the camps. 

He cited the elimination of "down-time" — the practice of not paying migrants 
for the time a machine is inoperative because of mechanical failure — as a signifi- 
cant step forward. 

The association, he said, has also moved to improve shipment schedules to 
Insure that the workers are kept busy throughout the day. 

"There is a constant effort to upgrade the camps," he said. "They may not be 
villas on the seashore but they are far better than the average found in other 
states." 

But Penny admitted that much of the improvement in the camps is a result of 
the publicity generated by Bryant and others. Whether these improvements 
would eventually have been made anyway is open to debate but unquestionably 
Bryant's constant needling has speeded the process. 

Senator Mondale. Our next witness is Mr. Juarez, of Okeechobee, 
Fla. 

Mr. Juarez, you may proceed. 

STATEMENT OF EUDOLFO JUAREZ, OF OKEECHOBEE, FLA. 

Mr. Juarez. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I have 
prepared a statement that I would like to present to you. This state- 
ment is based on what I myself lived through since I was old enough 
to work and became a migrant at the age of 5. Based on my experience 
and how I continue to see the way my people suffer, in this statement 
I would like to express my feelings, as well as my opinions, and the 
feeling and opinions of others that I have worked with side by side 
in the fields. 



93 

Of all the groups living in poverty, the migrant farmworker and 
his family in general suffer the greatest socioeconomic deprivation. 
The migrant farmworker and his family travels throughout the Xa- 
tion, living from day to day, depending upon his luck that the crops 
are good and that nothing happens, for instance, while he travels on 
the road. 

Him and his family will eat as little and as cheap as he can, for he 
has very little money to get there. If his car breaks down, the mechan- 
ics overcharge him as much as they feel they can get away with. Be- 
cause of bad weather and the time that laps between each crop, it is 
impossible for him to save any money — plus the high cost of living, 
plus the excessive amount of rent that he has to pay for the rat and 
roach infested pigpen that him and his family are forced to live in 
while he lives in Florida. 

So when crops are over in the State of Florida, there is no way tliat 
he can continue to survive, so he migrates. And because of that the 
migrant farmworkers have had great difficulties in their employment 
relationships, much of this arising out of exploitation and abuse by 
irresponsible farmers and crew leaders who sometimes underpay them, 
short count them, and overcharge them for transportation. Crew lead- 
ers on occasions, collect wages from the employers and then abandon 
the workers without paying them. 

His mobility deprives the migrant of many of the basic social serv- 
ices that are available to the local poor such as welfare, medical cover- 
age and care, vocational rehabilitation, and day care for children. More 
than often his housing does not meet code standards. 

Our children are pulled out of schools so that they may lielp pro- 
vide for the family in the fields or at home taking care of smaller 
children so that mothers can work. On many occasions our children 
have been burned to death while our oldest child, varying in age from 
8 to 12, tries to cook for his younger brothers and sisters while tlie 
parents are out in the fields trying to make enough money to survive — - 
iDuying foods, clothing, pay bills to vulture-type bill collectors, fast- 
talking salesmen from insurance companies who know that when work 
gets scarce the migrant farmworker will get behind on his payments 
and lose what money he has paid. But for the 7- or 8-month period of 
time or until he gets behind and the insurance is good and doesn't back 
out the same thing that happened to him and so many others might 
not happen again; for example, standing before a doctor or a nurse 
with a dying child in their arms begging, pleading, for them to do 
something for his child, wife, or her husband. Many children and par- 
ents have died while searching for a sympathetic doctor or hospital. 
And if they succeed, then the more reason why children should con- 
tinue to stay out of school to help pay that big bill. 

Our children suffer regardless of what you do. If he goes to school, 
often he goes without breakfast — and if you are able to find out about 
the free lunch program and was able to take the insults or had the 
courage to fight for it, and find someone to fill out the forms, then your 
child might get lunch. For there are very few schools who have people 
who will search for ways to help you and many persons who will 
search for as many ways possible to keep j^ou from getting such 
services. 



94 

This is also true in some of the Federal and State local agencies. 
For we have a very discriminatory and humiliating welfare system 
and unconstitutional residency requirements for receiving welfare and 
health services. Some of those people, when not able to deprive us from 
such services on terms of residency, plainly tell us we lune no right 
and that we don't belong — thus making most of my people mad, never 
to return. 

"Wliat this system and our society is going to have to know and un- 
derstand is that the migrant farmworker, even though tired, unedu- 
cated, hungry, and sick, have contributed and sacrificed just as much 
as anyone else and more than most to this Nation. We have cultivated 
this earth, planted and harvested all crops for generations in order 
to provide all the luxuries in food, clothing, and many other items that 
those of society which surrounds us enjoy today. 

My people, the migrants in general, composed of all types of Ameri- 
cans, regardless of race, color, or religion, our fathers, our sons, our 
kin, have died in wars fighting for the security and peace of this Na- 
tion as well as in the fields while harvesting the crops because of ir- 
responsible farmers and their insecticides sprayed in the fields. 

Gentlemen, bad working conditions ancl low wages for generations 
have maintained a slave labor system which insures that the migrant 
farmworker's children will have to live the same way he did ancl will 
continue to be slaves to agriculture and business. 

Hunger, malnutrition, sickness, and lack of education will continue 
to exist. Our children will continue to suffer because children cannot 
study if they are hungry, always ill, and trying to do homework in 
hot and crowded shacks. And our men today will continue to lack the 
initiative and power because a hungry man with children who are 
sick and suffering from malnutrition, who must be constantly strug- 
gling to live and keep his family alive will soon tire and if he continues 
to seek assistance in the traditional government-processed way, ancl 
makes no headway, God knows how long he will be patient in his 
struggle to get his children out of the cycle of poverty that this sys- 
tem, through discriminatory legislation, has kept. 

Mr. Chairman, members of this subcommittee, of all things I have 
said I hope you have paid attention. AVith all my heart I have pre- 
sented some of the problems that have existed since past generations 
and continue to exist to this day. I have lived them, experienced them, 
and suffered them. This is not hearsay. 

I am sure that others have told you the same things I have spoke 
about. Some of you have seen them with your own eyes. We have 
no reason to lie for we have nothing to lose for we have never had 
auA'thing. 

Those who have spoken against us, have because of profits, otliers 
for their own personal gain, some have, because they, too, suffer and 
really clon't understand who is to blame and because they misinterpret 
our needs to charity they tend to be against us. 

But more and more people are joining together and soon there will 
be enough people to keep men in power who will make, pass, and en- 
force laws that will be fair and equal to all Americans, just as there 
will be enough people to bring down those in power who are favor- 
able to one group only because of x^ersonal gain. 



95 

Therefore, discriminatory legislation practices should continue no 
more. The migrant worker should be covered by the National Labor 
Relations Act with additional favorable rights as well as workman's 
compensation laws, unemployment compensation, insurance laws, so- 
cial security codes must be enforced to improve the conditions of hous- 
ing provided to him. Programs such as liousing loans, small business 
loans which the migrant has never heard about until others who have 
recently come into tliis Xation. 

Let's stop worrying about other nations and do something about our 
own. Do something about the migrant so he can pull himself out of 
this repeating cycle. 

The men who are in power must fight hard to make real changes in 
society and society's laws. Change all discriminatory laws and atti- 
tudes. The men who are in power must help the powerless to gain 
power and all rights entitled to him. Bad programs of the establish- 
ment must be eliminated for good programs. Those which dispute the 
powers that be and fight for the i^oor must be maintained and en- 
couraged in their activities. 

If the poor are not given extra encouragement and help in gaining 
power over their own lives and influence into the general society in 
order to eliminate poverty ; if the governments, local and national, do 
not respond to the real needs of the poor through traditional processes, 
tlie poor will find other ways to make their needs known and to gain 
power. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you very much, Mr. Juarez. 

Senator Bellmon ? 

Senator Bellmon. Mr. Juarez, vou have been a migrant all your 
life? 

Mr. Juarez. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. Do you live in Florida ? 

Mr. Juarez. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. And you mentioned that when tlie crops are 
harvested there, you go to other States to work. 

Mr. Juarez. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. Which other States have you visited ? 

Mr. Juarez. The States that I have migrated through, I originally 
came from Texas. When I was 5 years old that is when along with 17 
other families we were sold to the sugar beet factories in the State of 
Ohio, and we haven't been able to make it back. 

The States that we have traveled through since then has been 
Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio. 

Senator Bellmon. Are these States where you have worked or where 
you have traveled ? Have you worked in all of these States ? 

]SIr. Jl'arez. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. You mentioned you were sold to a sugar beet 
company ? 

Mr. Juarez. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. How ? Can you explain ? 

Mr. Juarez. Well, through our crew leader, through a person who 
had a truck who recruited labor who found out that the sugar beet 
company in Ohio happened to be in need of labor and so he just went 
around and since he was known to most of the people there, even to 



96 

m}^ father, these families were talked into coming to Ohio where j 
the word that he gave was you can sweep money with a broom. 

So this is the way we were sold in the State of Ohio. I remember that 
it was a little town called Metamora, Ohio. From there, because of the 
rains we didn't get to even know what the sugar beets looked like. Then 
I didn't even know what sugar beets were. But we were kept there 
anyway because the man who brought us there just brought us there 
for what he got and he returned. We never seen him no more. 

Senator Bellmox. So you were left in Ohio and it was raining and 
you weren't able to work in the sugar beets, right? 

Mr. Juarez. Yes, and we created a big debt. My father and all the 
rest of the families got in real bad debt. They split up the families, the 
company did, and found other various jobs so that they could pay for 
the food that they had eaten, my father. And my cousin, which was 
the oldest one in our family, was the one who worked along with him. 

The job that they got was the railroad company, railroad tracks, 
working on the railroad. After he paid, after they paid the debt and 
we were able to make enough money to try to return to Texas, we only 
made it as far as Osceola, Ark., because while we were there waiting 
to transfer on the bus, one of my sisters was very sick and then we 
met another Mexican-American fellow there that told us about the 
good cotton that was being raised there and we had picked cotton 
before. 

So therefore we decided to end our journey there and maybe try to 
make a little more money and give my sister a chance to get well. So 
that is where we stopped and then from Arkansas then we traveled 
into Missouri and from Arkansas and Missouri we started migrating 
into Durand, Wis., to work with the pea vineries. 

The only reason we went to Wisconsin was because when I was 
about, 1 year, there was 1 year, way after we had already started 
migrating back into Ohio to pick tomatoes and Indiana to pick to- 
matoes and Michigan to pick cherries. When we went to Duran, it 
was because I stowed away in a crew leader's truck and I ran away 
from home. I was 12 years then. I was able after being tested by the 
foreman to prove my ability to do the job. 

I was given a job and was able to save about $200 to bring back 
to my father and thus told him about the good work over there. Then 
we started going into Wisconsin. 

Senator Bellmon. Mr. Juarez, you mentioned then when you were 
12 you became a full-fledged worker on your own, is this right ? 

Mr. Juarez. No, I was working in the fields. I became a migrant 
when I was 5 and then actually I was about 6 years old when I was 
working in the fields because that is when we started picking cotton, 
pulling cotton, chopping cotton. 

Senator Bellmon. Do you still make your living as a migrant ? 

Mr. Juarez. No, sir. I don't. My wife still works out in the field, 
yes. 

Senator Bellmon". What sort of work do you do now ? 

Mr. Juarez, Well, now I am employed by the South Florida INIi- 
grant Legal Services. I was lucky enough to get a job there after try- 
ing for about 2 weeks without working in the fields so that I could go 
over and try to get a job because it has been my ambition to get out of 



97 

the migratory road because I don't want my children to live the life 
I did. 

Senator Bellmon. Can you tell the subcommittee why migrant 
workers continue this kind of a life? Why don't they all get out of it? 

Mr. Juarez. Why don't they all get out ? 

Senator Bellmon. Yes. 

Mr. Juarez. Power. 

Senator Bellmox. Is this the reason they stay and can't get out? 

Mr. Juarez. Well, for some it is possible sometimes, but on very few 
occasions it is possible. For example, the only reason I was able to get 
out of that system and happened to decide to stay in Florida was be- 
cause there is a longer period of time where there is work available 
over there and if I stayed there was only about 3 to 4 months where 
there wouldn't be no work, and usually when a migrant tries to stay 
in one place or he wants to quit the migrant stream, there is a lot of 
questions that trouble to your mind. 

For example: Am I going to be able to do this job that I am able 
to get ? If I am not able, they will probably fire me. If they fire me, 
how am I going to pay my rent ? I don't know anybody here. IVlio is 
going to help me ? Who is going to lend me any money ? Nobody trusts 
me because I don't have anything to put as collateral. 

Thus these questions go in your mnid and a lot of them try. They 
will try for 3 and 4 years, continue to try each time in a place 
where it might look favorable to them where they see that there might 
be a job that they might be capable to do. But then there are doubts 
and, not knowing anyone in the community and then going into town 
and you get looks, people look at you with a question in their face 
like, what is this person doing here, where did he come from ? Or the 
police is liable to pick you up for vagrancy if you are just standing 
out there trying to find a job or be friendly with anyone. 

If you happen to be broke or are trying to find a friend, the police 
just picks you up and cliarges you for vagrancy, and you don't have 
any money to hire an attorney. It's a problem. 

Senator Bellmon. Your feeling is that most migrants feel helpless 
and as if they are sort of trapped in the sort of lives they live, is this 
right ? 

Mr. Juarez. Yes. Yes; that is true. 

Senator Bellmon. They would prefer other types of employment 
if they felt they could get it? 

Mr. Juarez. The majority of them, every one of them I believe 
would like to do something ditferent, you know. Some of them would 
like to continue and work, you know, but with a decent wage, with a 
decent wage. 

For example, a year back, a year ago or some time ago, we heard 
that somebody was going to try to provide a center where the migrants 
could stop and rest along the way while they traveled. This really 
raised their hopes because, while they travel on the roads, there is no 
place to stay, there is no place to stop. I have never lived in or slept 
in the hotel until September 11, 1967. 

Senator Bellmon. Was this September 1967 when you quit the 
migrant work? 

Mr. Juarez. No, I just happened to be with a good friend of mine 
who had money to pay for my room. 



98 

Senator Bellmon. How long since you have been a migrant worker ? 
Mr. Juarez. How long has it been since I what? 
Senator Bellmon. How long has it been since you got your present 
job and quit being a migrant worker? 
Mr. Juarez. About a year and a half. 

Senator Bellmon. Let me ask one other question. Do you notice 
that conditions for migrant workers have changed in the years you 
have followed this type of employment ? Have they become better or 
worse or stayed the same ? 

Mr. Juarez. They have become worse because there is no change. I 
have seen very little. In fact in Florida I haven't seen camps, you 
know that should have gone up or been constructed up a long time ago. 
I have seen one or two, but the others continue to exist and that is 
getting older every year. The people are still living in them. 
Senator Bellmon. That is all, Mr. Chairman. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you, Senator Bellmon, I thought those 
were excellent questions. 

Mr. Juarez, have you ever tried as a migrant either alone or with 
others to talk to your employers and try to get the salaries up, the 
wages up, or other working conditions corrected ? 
Mr. Juarez. Yes ; a lot of times. 
Senator Mondale. What has your experience been ? 
Mr. Juarez. They have one answer right away, "If you don't like 
it, you know where you came from." And you can't very well try to 
get anybody else to protest or protest yourself because you will be 
thrown out and if you don't have any money, where are you going to 
go, and then they consider you a troublemaker. So its very bad, you 
know, for that. It creates a bad feeling because then they can usually 
pay somebody else even in the group, for example, to deal with you in 
many ways. 

Senator Mondale. In your years as a migrant you haven't found, 
even though you have tried, evidence that there is power among the 
migrant workers themselves, at least the way it is now, to correct your 
own conditions through improved pay or improved working condi- 
tions ? That has not been your experience ? 
Mr. Juarez. No. 

Senator Mondale. What about political power of the migrant work- 
er? I assume that it is obvious that when you are on the road and in 
communities in which you don't reside, you don't have any political 
power. You don't vote there. You are not going to be there to vote 
in future years, and they all know it. 

Mr. Juarez. You don't have any political power anywhere. 
Senator Mondale. What about the place where you stay between 
crops and over the winter ? I think you said you live in Florida. What 
about the counties and communities in which you reside? Don't you 
have large numbers of Mexican-Americans or migrants with other 
backgrounds who can join together and try to gain some political 
power ? 

Mr. Juarez. No. Even the police, you know, the experience that the 
migrant has had with the police is something terrible. He can't trust 
a police officer. If he sees a uniform he can't trust it because the police 
has had a way with people who don't belong in that community or who 
are not from there because as soon as something happens, then those 



99 

people did it, since they come here it has happened, and usually, you 
know, like other people may get the benefit of a knock on the door, the 
the migrant gets his door knocked do^Yn or opened even at night at 11 
or 12 o'clock if they happen to be looking for somebody, they just go 
over and break the door down and shine the light on people that are 
sleeping on the floor because there is only room in that, only space 
enough in that room to put a bed or two and you don't have enough 
bedding for all of them in that room. 

Senator Mondale. Take that situation in, say. Collier County. What 
is your home county ? 

Mr. Juarez. Okeechobee. 

Senator Mondale. There are a lot of migrants and farmworkers in 
Okeechobee, are there not ? 

Mr. Juarez. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. Suppose the local police do that and they have 
one system of law enforcement for the powerful in the community and 
another for the farmworkers of the kind that you are discussing. Can't 
you seek a political remedy, in other words, get a new mayor or new 
comity board ? 

Mr. Juarez. Plow ? Who is going to believe you anyway ? There are 
people in here doubting it, you know. I should feel hate, you know, 
because I can sense people in this room, you know, because I have been 
sensing it all my life and I have been trained to that, and I should feel 
hate, you know, but I don't. I pity them, you know, because they are 
only sick people. 

In my way of feeling they are sick in their mind, and they are the 
ones who are causing this Nation to be in such bad conditions, to be 
falling apart. 

Senator Mondale. Now, in the normal community if there is a law 
enforcement officer that is dealing unfairly with people or a county 
board that is discriminating, the people might respond by defeating 
him in the next election. 

Yet when I was down in Collier County, the chairman of the county 
board said, "These aren't our people. They are Federal people. We 
don't have anything to do with them." 

Mr. Juarez. That is the attitude, you know. 

Senator Mondale. Yet, there were 22,000 farmworkers in that 
county. What struck me is why could so many live there and yet be 
dealt with that way? What has happened to the political process in 
those communities? Why can't they get away with that ? I was shocked 
by that. Can you give us any explanation of that ? 

Mr. Juarez. I don't know. You can't seem to find, there are very few 
people — well, now, you know now there are people if you happen — 
like myself, for example, now I am registered to vote and now we are 
going out and getting people registered, and we plan to register some 
more and this is what I mean about soon there will be enough of them. 

Senator Mondale. Do you find that at least at the present time there 
is only a small percentage of the farmworkers that are registered ? 

ISIr.' Juarez. Yes, and also even when they go to vote a lot of them 
don't know, even I now don't know how to read or how to find my way 
to vote in that machine or whatever you call it. 

Senator INIondale. A lot of them are afraid of the machine. They 
just don't know how to use it. 



100 

Mr. Juarez. Yes, and then another thing is that the crew leader, for 
example, he is considered the man who is the leader, the man with the 
power by the power structure in the community, and he is often given 
cases of whiskey, beer, wine, to distribute among the migrants, or 
money to get him to bring those people that are working for him out 
in the fields and thus he brings this whole crew and if they happen to 
be in debt with him, you know, they are just forced to vote whoever 
he recommends and since the people don't know actually who to vote 
for because they haven't met this person that they are voting for in 
the first place, they haven't heard him speak, they don't know how he 
feels on this or that, so they just go to vote and vote for whoever 
this crew leader recommends. 

Now it is getting a little better because you see the farmer believes 
tliat the only way that he can get labor is through the contractor 
or the crew leader. It is not true anymore. The only reason that they 
still continue to be this way is because the contractor or the crew 
leader is already there by the time the people get there. The people 
travel in cars, pickups or any way they can to get there to work, and 
they still believe you know that that is the only way that they can 
get labor, but it is not true. 

Thus they still believe that the crew leader and the contractor still 
has the power. He doesn't have it anymore. 

Senator Mondale. I noticed that there were a good number of Mexi- 
can-Americans who had come from Texas who lived in Florida. Many 
of them had left. You went around, but you finally got to Florida. 
Collier and Lee Counties are the two places where we saw thousands 
of Mexican-Americans when we went with the Hunger Committee. 
Wliy do they go to Florida ? 

Mr. Juarez. Well, you see the cycle of crops are not always in the 
same months of time. There is even a cycle of crops in the State of 
Florida and each group, even though there are very many migrants 
to this day, follows, each group specializes in certain crops. For ex- 
ample, those who like tomatoes will follow tomatoes until there is 
no more tomatoes. Then they will do something else. 

Then they will come to pick cherries. So they can pick tomatoes in 
Ohio and Indiana. In Texas because of the floods, because of bad 
weather and the hurricanes that passed over, their crops have been 
bad, and a lot of the people there know that there is work to be done 
in Florida. So therefore they migrate into the State of Florida. 

Senator Mondale. Could it be that the rather free supply of un- 
skilled poor farm workers from Mexico who freely cross the border 
into Texas and California encourages Mexican-Americans who live 
along the border to live somewhere else where they might not be as 
fully exposed to competitive labor ? 

Mr. Juarez. That is right. There are so many of them coming across 
and because the farmers continue to gripe about shortage of labor and 
then they are talked into that. 

For example, I know one man in Florida who was paid for to go all 
the way into Mexico to try to encourage or to find ways to bring the 
Mexicans from Mexico even all the way up to Florida. 

Senator Mondale. In Florida about 2,500 workers come in from 
the British West Indies to work in sugar cane. Now I am told that they 



101 

are bringing in 2,000 from the British West Indies for citrus this jear, 
Wliat impact will that have ? 

Mr. JuAKEZ. I guess they are trying to starve us. I guess they are 
trying to do away with us, like the man said, do away with the head- 
ache, because we find it awful hard to even find enough jobs for the 
people that are already there. If they bring in more people, I am 
scared to think. 

Mr. MiTTELMAN. Mr. Juarez, witli reference to the present situation 
in Florida, I liave seen some reports indicating that there is a terrific 
shortage of workers down there right at the present time for the citrus 
crop and that the wage rates have gone up to as high as $3.50 and $4 
an hour. Do you have any firsthand information concerning that 
situation ? 

Mr. Juarez. I didn't understand that, sir. 

Mr. Mittelman. The reports that I have seen indicate that there 
is a sliortage of workers available for tlie citrus harvest in Florida 
at the present time and that wage rates liave gone up to as high as 
$3.50 and $4 per hour working in the harvest in Florida right now. 
Do you know anything about that? 

Mr. Juarez. No, sir. You know, even the farmers complain that 
there is a shortage of labor, but I don't know where you get these 
reports. Do you get them on tlie local newspapers or from the local 
radio stations or from the local employment office, because if you do, 
then they must be sending them special delivery to you because the 
people never hear them. 

Mr. Mittelman. I believe there have been one or two articles in the 
press about them, and we have gotten some mail concerning the situa- 
tion in which those allegations have been made. I haven't had a chance 
to verify that and I am just asking you if 3'ou have any firsthand 
information about what the situation is right now down in Florida? 

Mr. Juarez. I don't think there is a shortage of labor because we 
have uncles and cousins and all kinds of kin throughout Wauchula, 
and Orlando, and all through there, and we visit them two weekends 
and they don't claim that there is a shortage of labor. 

Mr. Mittelman. Thank you. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you, Mr. Juarez, for very eloquent testi- 
mony. It is most helpful to us. I think it is ironic that so often we 
select the spokesman for migrants when migrants like yourself can 
do an awful lot better. You not only know it ; you live it. 

Mr. Juarez. I only wish, Mr. Chairman, that my people had enough 
money to come here and tell you. 

Senator Mondale. That is right, because when we heard from your 
people in Immokalee where they could afford to be there, I think they 
told it very clearly. 

Thank you very much, Mr. Juarez. 

Senator Mondale. Our last witness this morning is Mrs. Ed. Krue- 
ger, of Pharr, Tex. 

Will you come to the witness stand, please. 

We claim Mrs. Krueger in Minnesota. She and her husband, the 
Rev. Ed Krueger, served in our State for some time. Thus, as is true 
of everyone, we have a special genius and talent. Mrs. Krueger, will 
you begin. 



102 

STATEMENT OE MRS. ESTHER GUEVARA KRUEGER, 
OF PHARR, TEX. 

Mrs. Kruger. Thank you. 

Mr. Chairman and members of this subcommittee: My name is 
Esther Guevara Krueger. I am usually called Tina. I live at 807 East 
Tarrant in Pharr, Tex. 

I thought I had lived a sheltered life until after my father's death 
when I read his diary. It revealed that yve had gone hungry many 
times. Although my father was a minister, he had had no formal edu- 
cation. The $80 he was earning a month in 1935 was not enough 
to feed a family of 11, so he supplemented the income by picking- 
cotton. 

Our life improved 7 years later when my brothers joined the U.S. 
armed service and they sent money home. One brother served in 1942 
in the Aleutian Islands, one served in Germany and lost a leg; still 
another served in Korea. Now I have a son serving our country in 
the U.S. Navy. I am proud that although I have known anguish be- 
cause my brothers were in the front lines and that now I worry about 
my son, we have done our part in protecting our country and its 
citizens. 

Nevertheless I wonder sometimes why some of us, especially the 
migrant, are not fully accepted and why they are not treated equally 
by some of our citizens. The majority of my people work as migrants 
even though many of the young people are high school graduates and 
even college graduates; they have to migrate for lack of work. In 
south Texas where I have lived since 1966, I have been working with 
families that migrate every year. The experiences that they relate are 
heartbreaking. I honestly cannot understand how they can maintain 
their honor, dignity, and serenity. 

Families have told me of being contracted by recruiters such as 
for the Great Western Inc., and Utah and Idaho, and being misled 
in the long run. These families go in hopes of earning enough money 
to live on when they return home for the winter, yet some of my 
friends have told me that they have lived as cattle, in unsanitary 
conditions. They travel as cattle and they feel that some growers 
treat them like animals. I ask, "Is this fair?" What would you do 
if you were in the workers' place? I had often asked myself this 
question and believe me I wondered what it would be like to have 
similar problems. 

My opportunity came only a few weeks ago. I have been unemployed 
for more than a year for I was fired from my position as a day 
care center director funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity 
because the day care committee felt that they did not want a 
director who had been arrested and jailed. Actually, I had been an 
innocent bystander observing what was going on the night the 
Texas Rangers arrested about 16 people on May 26, 1967. When I 
saw Captain Allee and Ranger Jack Van Cleave and other rangers 
mistreat and manhandle my husband, I took a picture and Captain 
Allee had me arrested. 

My dismissal was purely political. Since March 11, 1968, I have 
not worked but I have done volunteer work, helping my husband 
in his work. So when several families invited me to join their group, 



103 

I accepted because I felt that this would be my opportunity to witness 
some of the allegations migrant families made. 

On April 30, 1969, the Ruiz family and I enlisted with Mr. Frank 
Pena, recruiter for the Great "Western Sugar Co. which recruits 
sugar beet workers for the States of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, 
Montana, and Kansas. At that time he said that we would be assigned 
to (xoodland, Kans. 

Then on May 23, 1969, he assigned us to Bayard, Nebr., and gave 
us an allowance of $16 per worker. On Memorial Day, May 30, 1969, 
a crew of 22 started at 11 :30 a.m. and drove all day. At 10 :30 p.m. 
we slept in a rest area. Next morning we proceeded to our destination. 
"We arrived in Fort Collins and immediately looked up another 
family. Mr. Marcos Lopez offered us his home for the night. We 
slept on the floor. Marcos Lopez took the other Lopez family from 
the group of 22 to his father's home. Next morning we drove to 
Bayard, Nebr., where we were supposed to go and be assigned to a 
grower. 

We arrived there at 2:30 p.m. There were three or four families 
already there waiting to be assigned to a grower. One family from 
Weslaco had been waiting since Wednesday, May 28, 1969, and about 
an hour after we had arrived a man who I presumed was a grower, 
came and took them. 

Before we went into the building, we talked to the families and 
were told that some of them had been waiting for several days ; and 
one wife told me her husband was inside reimbursing the company. 
We went in and saw the man, Mr. Samuel Chaercz from Crystal 
City giving some money. The general manager came and we intro- 
duced ourselves. He said he was very sorry but that he had bad news 
for us, that he thought he could not find housing for us. He told us 
that we were not the only ones who he was turning back to Texas — 
that there were others whom he had sent ''back home" already. But 
he said that if we waited a while he might find something. 

We told him we had families with babies and small chilch'en and 
that we were not about to spend the day and night outside their build- 
ing for 2 or more days like the families who were waiting outside. 
Also that if they were to send us back that we would not reimburse 
the company like Mr. Samuel Chaercz had done. ISIr. Chaercz later ex- 
plained to us that he was reimbursing the company because the com- 
pany had his truck title to his big truck. 

I asked him why he was leaving and he said that he had been 
assigned to a grower, a Mr. John Fastler, and that he had asked Mr. 
Fastler for a water container. Mr. Fastler replied that he would 
not give him one until he saw what work he could produce. Mr. 
Chaercz said that he felt that if Mr. Fastler was not concerned about 
his — ;Mr. Chaercz — needs, he would not work for such an inhuman 
person who did not care if his family drank water or not. 

When Mr. Chaercz reported this to the company, the manager, Mr. 
Giuaque, told him to go back home. Mr. Chaercz paid and got his 
title back and drove away in his old, battered truck. He thought he 
could get to Minnesota to work there. 

After Mr. Chaercz left, we again talked to the manager, Mr. Giua- 
que, and he told us that he had housing available but that they 



104 

were reserved for 50 hands wlio were coming in later. I asked him 
when these people had been enlisted, and he said that they had been 
enlisted on May 29, 1969. I asked him why was it that these workers 
were being assnred of housing if they were recruited nearly a month 
later than we were. Mr. Giuaque did not answer me. 

He said that he would try to be reasonable and see that we were 
helped to go back to Texas, that he knew that it was not our fault 
and that he realized that we were being unlucky. I asked him to sign 
a statement to the effect that we had been there to report for work, 
but that he had turned us back. He said he would if we would settle 
for the amount of the original allowance, that of $16 per worker. 

I told him that as far as I was concerned, I would not accept the $38 
he offered me because after all I had come 1,555 miles to w^ork in the 
beet fields and earn money, that the recruiter had assured us we 
would have work. I felt that we could have worked and earned money 
to tide us over for the time being and that it was only fair for him to 
give us a reasonable allowance for gas, food, and lodging. 

Mr. Guiaque said that why were we asking for lodging ; I told him 
that we were very tired of being on the road and sleeping in cars, 
out in the open or in empty dirty old houses and that I desired to 
sleep in a clean bed and have a shower. I bluntly told him I had not 
had a bath since the morning that I had left home and that had been 
4 days before. 

I casually mentioned that there were rules and regulations which 
protected the migrant worker. He replied that he knew of no such 
rules and had the gall to tell me that when he and his family went on 
trips he did not have to stop to rest, that they could go on and on. 

I told him the difference was that they went as tourists and were 
not poor, tired, hungry and hopeless, whereas we were all the oppo- 
site. He only answered that they were not obligated with the excep- 
tion of maybe the allowance. When I told him that I definitely would 
not accept the measly amount of money, he refused to give me the 
letter in which he stated we had been there. I immediately went to a 
notary public and notarized a statement, a statement which I wish 
to submit for the record. 

Senator Mondale. That will be included at this point in the record. 

Mrs. Krueger. Here it is. 

(The information referred to follows :) 



105 

June 2, 1969 

To Whom It May Concern: 

My name . is Esther Krueger," and I live at 807 E. Tarrant 
in Pharr, Texas. 

I was contacted by Mr. Frank Pena, Contractor for the 
Great 'estern Agency, Inc., recrutor for the States of 
Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming & Kansas. I was 
instructed to come to Bayard, Nebraska where upon I 
would he friven eraployeir.ent- 

On this day I appeared in person in the Great Western 
Agency, Inc., Bayard, Nebraska, and I was told that 
there was no housing available, therefore we could not 
stay. I asked Mr. Lowell E. Giauque for .66^ milage 
(we Sataci traveled 1 500 miles) plus $50.00 for food 
and lodging. He refused saying I would be granted only 
$38.00. I refused to accept it because I feel that it 
was not my fault there is not enough housing, also 
that . I cannot make it home on $38.00. 



Respectfully yours, 






•■'.,/, Esther Krueger 




The above Esther Krueger signed the above 
in my presence this 2Jvi day of June, 1969 



>■■'-, I 1 1 II I f/y'^V ■• 

y.^-^:^J ■. '^'^ •:'&'/ No^a^i^Fubfic 



^s^i^ 





'(. \A^- ',>' % commission expires 1/1/73 



36-51,3—70— ,pt. 1- 



S'" 



106 







>"C>~, 'if^ ^-xt^-y 



107 

Mrs. Krueger. We left Bayard, Nebr., at 7 :30 p.m., and we were so 
worried that we got lost and traveled 12 hours, whereas our trip up 
to Bayard had been 31/2 hours. After the 12-hour drive, we decided to 
chip in money and try to get a hotel where all families could rest. 
Finally, after many inquiries in hotels, one manager took pity on us 
and let us have four rooms. I slept with 11 children in my room, but it 
was well worth it. We all had hot baths and felt decent and human and 
a lot more like dealing with the harsh problems which lay ahead. 

Next morning we left for Boulder, Colo., but could not find work : 
we had a meeting and decided to travel to Michigan. We traveled 
through Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and on through i)art of Michigan. 
We arrived in INIuskegon, Mich., and there we left our children in the 
care of friends who have permanently settled down. We went to the 
Michigan Farm Employment Commission in Keeler, Mich., and ap- 
plied for work. Although I made it plain to the interviewer that in 
my family there were only two workers, myself and a teenage daughter, 
that I had two 6-year-olds, they put my two 6-year-olds as workers. 

The housing conditions are horrible. There are beds (boards made 
into bunk beds), one small table, a two-burner gas stove, and broken- 
down tables, and a chest of drawers. One high window and no showers 
in the camp. Actually I saw only two places which were new and had 
showers and water toilets. All the others are places that are not fit for 
human beings. As a matter of fact, sometimes growers in other areas 
use the same housing facilities used for migrants in the winter to house 
their cattle and then when the families come they have to get a hose 
and wash out the filth. 

I was approached by a group to see about the possibility of setting 
up day care services for migrant children. When I surveyed the area 
in Keeler, I saw the desire and need for such services and I immedi- 
ately looked for a location. I found a big hall that was being used for 
rummage sales. The irony of this particular situation is that I was told 
that the health inspector and fire chief would never approve a license 
for the place. Yet about a quarter of a mile down the road on all four 
directions there are huts that are used and licensed to accommodate 
migrant families. 

I saw children running and playino- in pools of muddy water. I 
hardly saw any toys. I know of children who have been left alone 
while the parents went to work and of the many accidents that have 
happened to them. 

I remember a particular case in Oklahoma one cold, dreary day. 
The parents went to work and left the children in t.he care of a 9-year- 
old boy. The 9-year-old started to run, and as he j.an across the room, 
he bumped into a small table where the stove was and knocked a pot 
full of hot beans over. He suffered 90 percent burns on his body. It 
was a sad sight to see the active little boy all bandaged and after- 
wards, after more than 7 weeks in the hospital, to see a once-beautiful 
face now all scarred. 

I often think oft his little body and wonder what his attitude will 
be when he starts to think as to whom to blame for his accident. Will 
it be his parents ? Is it fair for a child to blame his parents for some- 
thing that could have been avoided ? Will the child blame the grower ? 
I certainly hope so, because I know that parents do not migrate just 
for the fun of it. They migrate because they have to, not by choice or 



108 

chance. A case of just "have to" and it certainly seems to me that 
growers should be forced to provide decent wages and housing to 
these unfortunate people who are classified as migrants because had it 
not been for the migrants before the automatic picker machines came 
into existence, the economy of our country would not have been as 
great as it has been. 

Before I close, I would like to plead for justice and equality for all 
the farmworkers. Here in our great United States of America Avhere 
the banner of equal opportunity is flown, there certainly is no excuse 
for excluding some II/2 million hired farmworkers from the benefits 
of law enacted to help all other workers. After so many years of 
suffering for the migrant, give them an opportunity to uprate them- 
selves and give their children hope — hope for a better tomorrow, hope 
for a bright future. 

Senators, I have traveled more than 4,000 miles in 10 days ; 3,200 
miles have been in the migrant stream seeking work; the other 800 
miles have been in hopes of seeking justice, equality and dignity for 
the migrant. This is my reason for having traveled 800 miles on my 
own, in my 1962 Chevrolet. To tell it "as it is" in hopes that you can 
do something about the injustices that have existed for so many years. 
Thank you. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you, Mrs. Krueger, for a very useful 
statement because it puts another dimension on this problem that we 
have not yet explored, namely, that the migrant travels when he is 
desperately poor, and it is at his own expense that he bears the cost 
and the burden of finding employment. 

Mrs. Kreuger. Right. 

Senator Mondale. He will often be told there is employment at a 
certain point, arrive, and find that there is no job. 

Mrs. Kreuger. Right. 

Senator Mondale. Or he will arrive having been told of certain 
kinds of conditions and find they don't exist, but it is all at his expense. 
Would you say that migrants have had similar experiences to the one 
that you testified to ? 

Mrs. Kreuger. Oh, there has been many, many experiences to the 
one that I have just testified to. Coming back to protection of the 
migrant, there is no protection. 

I have here a labor list that the recruiter calls a contract. Yet it does 
say down here : 

I hereby certify that I have read the above and foregoing labor listing, that 
I have had the same explained to me, that I understand the contents of such 
labor listing sheet and that the information shown thereon is true and correct. 
I further certify that the persons listed thereon are members of my group and 
I agree to be responsible for them and for their debts. I further agree that I 
and also my group who are 14 years of age or older will work such acreage as 
may be assigned to us this year. It is my understanding that all work must be 
performed in compliance with the Sugar Act of 1948, as amended, and under the 
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended. It is also my understanding that 
our transportation allowance will be made for each worker in my group 14 
years of age or over, and I hereby certify that the persons listed above have 
authorized me to accept and expend all such transportation allowances made 
for them. I also understand and agree that if a worker named above does not 
complete the work assigned to him, I will make reimbursement to the above- 
named labor agent or his order for the transportation allowance made for such 
worker. 



109 

You are hereby directed to arrange for the enrollment of me and others named 
here for insurance coverage under group policy No. 3266G, issued by Security 
Life & Accident Co., and for reimbursement of premium for such insurance cov- 
erage at the rate of $5.50 per person age 14 or over and $3.50 per child under 
14, and said company is authorized to pay benefits for hospital, medical or 
surgical services payable to the undersigned or others listed thereon. The record 
to the hospital or person rendering such consideration in consideration of the 
advancment of said premium as aforesaid I promise to pay to your order on 
demand the amount of all premiums so advanced. I certify to the ages of the 
workers shown on this listing sheet as correct. 

Then the signature. 

Senator Mondale. Who signs that? Is this the crew chief or the 
employer ? 

Mrs. Krtjeger. The crew leader or if they are not under a crew 
leader, the individual. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, under that they make certain 
representations about the workers being over 14? 

Mrs. Krueger. Right. 

Senator Mondale. And about paying the cost of getting them up 
there, and back, if employment is not available. 

]Mrs. Krueger. No. No. This is only a protection to have the group 
perform tlie work for the grower, and if they do not, then they pro- 
tect the grower and the company because they make the families re- 
imburse them what they have given them. 

Senator Mondale. So the agreement there is that the worker has to 
reimburse ? 

]Mrs. Kruger. Right and actually there is no protection for the mi- 
grant. It is protection for the agency and the grower. This binds them 
to the agency and to the grower. This is why Mr. Chaercz was paying 
the allowance that they had given him to get his title from them. 

Senator Mondale. He wouldn't get his truck back? 

]\Irs. Krueger. Or he could go in his truck and they could arrest 
him for having taken stolen property. 

Senator Mondale. INIrs. Krueger, were you part of a migrant family 
as a younger person? Did you go around the country with your 
family ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Well, as I said before, I was born in a Methodist 
cradle. My father was a Methodist minister. When I was 14 to 20, I 
did migrate with my brother. 

Senator Mondale, When you did that, did you have the same kind 
of experience then that you would go in somewhere and then not find 
work ? 

Mrs, Krueger. Well, the housing, yes, and the problems, but I 
happened to have a brother that is just as verbal as I am, and so there 
wasn't too much trouble. But this is the case that when the people 
are not verbal enough, the agencies and growers will take advantage 
of them. 

Senator Mondale, You work with the migrant workers along the 
Texas border, do you not, the Texas-Mexican border? 

Mrs, Krueger, Yes. 

Senator Mondale. Is it your impression that most of them want to 
migrate ? 

Mrs. Krueger, No ; they would like to settle down. But the problem 
there is that there is no industry, there is no work, and even the stores 
in town, the department stores pay only 50 cents an hour. 



no 



Mrs. Krueger. From McAllen? 

Senator Mondale. From Mexico. 

Mrs. Krueger. Twelve miles. 

Senator Mondale. Twelve miles. Do the growers in that area and 
the department stores and banks and the other employers find it rela- 
tively easy to get Mexican labor from across the border? 

Mrs. Krueger. Yes; very easy. As a matter of fact, some of them 
know for a fact that some of the Mexican workers are there illegally, 
but they will just close their eyes because they laiow that they can 
have cheap labor. 

Senator Mondale. So that would you say that that supply of labor 
is almost inexhaustible and employers can get all they want? 

Mrs. Krueger, Right. 

Senator Mondale. Whatever the details of the present regulations, 
in fact they can get all the foreign labor they want? 

]Mrs. Krueger. Oh, yes; very much so. 

Senator Mondale. There is no problem there ? 

Mrs. Krueger. There is no problem there. 

Senator Mondale. Meanwhile the U.S. citizen, the Mexican-Ameri- 
can, or the resident alien, have to live at U.S. standards. 

Mrs. Krueger. Right. 

Senator Mondale. But he is exposed to the competition of people 
living in Mexican standards ? 

Mrs. Krueger. And he is forced to migrate. 

Senator Mon'dale. That is wdiy he is forced to migrate, because 
there is not the employment that permits him to live or survive. So 
that he gets in his car and starts moving. 

Mrs. Krueger. Right. 

Senator Mondale. What about the political power issue? Along 
these areas of southern Texas there are many ]\Iexican- Americans, 
are there not ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Yes, there are. 

Senator Mondale. Why don't they do a better job of electing sym- 
pathetic people? 

Mrs. Krueger. Well, for one thing I think down in the Valley there 
is, oh, I am not too good at figures, but I would say there would be 
about 80 percent Mexican- American population, but the thing is that 
we as Mexican descendants have feelings, pride, and a feeling of 
gratitude, and when some of our Mexican-Americans climb up the 
ladder, if they want to stay over there, they have to take orders from 
the higher power structure and just not heed the cries of the problems 
of the others. 

Senator Mondale. What you are saying is that a INIexican- Ameri- 
can who makes it, so to speak, and starts getting a better job 

Mrs. Krueger. Right, and if he wants to stay there, he just better 
do what the power structure tells him. 

Senator Mondale. So that he is not likely to continue to be an ally 
of the poorer Mexican-American ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Right. I am pretty sure that if we, the INlexican- 
Americans, would be as united as the Negro people have been, we 
would be in a better position now to fight for our rights, but the 



Ill 

tiling is that, as I said, our race, we have always been inclined to be 
humble and just take everything- that comes to us. 

Only recently, well, I would say speaking from my own personal 
experience that if it had not been for my husband that would have 
married me, I probably would be still in one of those migrant camps 
and not want to be able to come here, dare to come here and testify be- 
cause I would be afraid that the grower might not give us work or 
the company, and I would be without any allowances or funds. This 
is the fear of not knowing where the next dollar is coming from, and is 
what keeps people from fighting for their rights. 

Senator Mondale. Your husband 

Mrs. Krueger. Senator, coming back to the political, in south Texas, 
well, I was fired just because I was a mere innocent bystander of what 
was going on in the farmworkers strike. Yet they told me that if I 
would not have anything to do with the union that I could keep my job. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, you were told that if you would 
abandon your interests in the union effort, they would keep you on? 

Mrs. Krueger. Eight ; and I told him I would have to divorce my 
husband before I could stop being involved because my husband was 
very much a part of this strike because he was the spiritual counsel 
for them, and so I told them I definitely would not promise them that 
I would not get involved. So then they decided to fire me. 

But in the double-standard justice, just a few weeks ago we had an 
incident about one of our Texas senators, Senator Bates. He was speed- 
ing up the highway and a deputy sheriff came and tried to stop him, 
and he wouldn't stop. When finally the deputy got in front of him, he 
stopped, but according to a newspaper account. Senator Bates nearly 
ran the deputy over and he didn't stop. He just went on. The deputy 
phoned for help, and when other patrolmen came, he just showed his 
identification of being a senator, they said it was right, and he could 
go on. So there was no speeding ticket, no nothing, attempted murder 
like what Captain Allee was trying to say that I was trying to hit him 
over the head with my camera, and, you see, that is where — I mean I 
was a little person. 

Senator Mondale. Were you threatening Captain Allee? 
[Laughter.] 

Mrs. Krueger. No. I was only trying to get evidence of their tactics, 
and they knew it, and they arrested me and exposed the film, but had it 
been the senator who was trying to run over a deputy, well, he is a 
senator, so he gets away with it. How about us that we don't have any 
influence? One of the rangers also testified that he wanted to arrest 
my husband because he had bad breath. 

Senator Mondale. What ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Bad breath. 

Senator Mondale. Is that true ? 

Mrs. Krueger. No. I have lived with him for years and I should 
know. 

Senator Mondale. We will send him a copy of this record I tliink. 
[Laughter.] 

]Mrs. Krueger. This is the double standard of justice that we have 
and this is what I am trying to plead in my statement. If we are to 
be considered Americans, first-class Americans, we should be treated 
equally and not just because you are a Senator and I am a nobodv vou 



112 

are going to be treated better than I am. Or maybe I am mistaken. I 
don't know. What do you say ? 

Senator Mondale. You are exactly right. 

How does a mother take care of the problems of her children when 
they are either broke or nearly broke and they move across the country 
thousands of miles trying to find employment and then when they do 
find employment, you get some that can work and others that are too 
young to work ? How does a mother manage that ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Well, in my 8 days' experience of living with them, 
I found that we were in an empty old house and we had our quilts 
and cooking utensils and all that. One mother would get up at 2 o'clock 
in the morning to make breakfast for her family and then the other 
one would get up later and then on and on. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, each family would take care of 
their own, but since you had only one kitchen, you would get up start- 
ing at 2 in the morning and take turns. She would have to prepare 
breakfast and get her family up, too. 

How does she educate her children when they are on the road like 
that? 

Mrs. Krueger. Well, she tries to tell them what is right and what is 
wrong, and of course the children see so many other things that they 
shouldn't see because they are all living together. But I know many a 
mother who says that she wishes that she would never have been a 
migrant worker because of the things that her children have to see, 
especially when there are single men and they get drunk and they 
just don't care, or bring other women off the street, and all that, and 
then the children see all of this and that is not right. 

But deep down in the mother's heart she just wishes that she would 
just be an average American housewife. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, what you are telling me is what 
she tries to do in terms of the moral upbringing and sense of right 
and wrong, but how does she get formal education for her children ? 
Many times migrants start out in the spring before school is out and 
don't get back before school starts. How does that poor child get 
educated ? 

Mrs. Krtjeger. Well, first of all, they will try to put the child in 
school, but there are several reasons that they cannot do it, there is not 
enough decent clothing to send a child to school, because they don't have 
the money to send him, to pay for the school lunch ; because the child 
himself probably is too old to be in the class that he should be in. 

Senator Mondale. So he is embarrassed ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Riio-ht, and a lot of our young girls marry so young 
because they are so frustrated with migrant life that they think that 
by marrying a young boy that they will just be free, you know, and 
maybe the obligations will be there but not like having to take care 
of the brothers and sisters and helping with the dishes and all this for 
maybe 10 or 15 persons. 

But this is one frustration that the teenagers experience. They drop 
out of school to marry thinking they will escape the frustrations of 
the migrant life and what it all amounts to is that in the long run 
they come up with babies and the young boy gets tired of life and runs 
out on them, and there it goes, just a vicious cycle. 



113 

Senator Mondale. In your opinion has this situation been improv- 
ing over the years ? 

Mrs. Krueger. I am sorry Senator Bellmon isn't here because I am 
sure that he would have been interested in hearing this, but I worked 
in Oklahoma for 5 years from 1961 to 1966, and the conditions there 
were horrible. They were just as bad as Michigan. 

But now I have managed to go once a year to Oklahoma to visit 
the migrant families and they are very well taken care of, the hous- 
ing situation, and the}^ will not allow a migrant family to live in the 
broken-down old barracks that they were living in 6 years ago or 
7 years ago. 

Senator Mondale. So there is some improvement ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Improvement in Oklahoma, yes. I know the}' are 
very, very well improved. Of course there are hardly any migrants 
now. There are, I would say, about 300 to 400 families settled in 
Jackson County and another in Harmon and Tilhnan, but conditions 
there have improved and they seem to be participating in the poliiical 
life. 

Senator Mondale. ^¥llat does a mother do, let's say, if her husband 
or a member of the family becomes seriously ill on the road, she 
has no money, and is not a resident of the county ? What does she do ? 

Mrs. Krueger. Well, she will appeal to other friends in the group 
to see if they have had the same experience and there have been some 
people — well, I am talking about babies that have been sick that have 
died because of lack of medication because the mothers have been 
afraid to go and ask for help and if each place would have a worker 
to just tell the migrants what services are available for them, it 
would even be better if the grower would post a list of where they 
could go for help, and many lives both young and old would be 
spared because they wouldn't be afraid to go and ask. 

Senator Mondale. It is 1 o'clock. We could go on a long time. 

Mrs. Krlteger. Senator, I would like to get this on the record about 
no protection whatever to a migrant. 

We had a case in Arkansas that the worker died and he was up 
there by himself. So the grower shipped the body c.o.d. to Mission, 
Tex., and I would like to have the people hear this. 

Senator Mondale. When did that happen ? 

Mrs. Krueger. That happened several months ago — October of 1968. 

Senator Mondale. He sent it c.o.d. 

Mrs. Krueger. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. That was a thoughtless thing to do. 

Mrs. Krueger. Collect on delivery ."Of course, this is another morbid 
situation that migrants have to be faced with because can you imagine 
to even have the slap in the face that here comes the body of a beloved 
person and that the grower didn't even care to pay whatever the ex- 
pense was? 

Senator Mondale. I think what you are saying, and this of course 
comes out every day, is that the migrant is so powerless that he not 
only has lost the capacity to argue for a better wage and working con- 
ditions and housing and health care, but in a strange way they have 
denied him his humanity 

Mrs. Krueger. Eight. 



114 

Senator Mondale (continuing). His human dignity, his right to be 
treated as a person. 

^Irs, IVRUEGER, Eight. 

Senator Moxdale. It is probably this final insult that is the most 
costly and tragic part of the total process. 

Mrs. Krueger. Eight, and I would also like to add to the record that 
it seems like the managers or the bi^ wheels, if I may say this, treat 
people the way they want to, thinking, well, if they won't say any- 
thing, that is all right. 

But I know that in Oklahoma things weren't the best in 1961, but 
when I would go with the children and they thought I was the mother, 
tlie principal would tell me, "'I am sorry but we don't have any room." 
When I would announce that I was working with the child welfare, 
with public welfare, it was amazing how pretty soon they would have 
room for the children in school. 

Senator Moxdale. Because they thought you were speaking with 
some power. 

Mrs. Krueger. Eight and because if I would introduce myself as 
Christina Guevara, I would be nothing. Of course, in Texas I am noth- 
ing Avhen I introduce myself as Krueger. 

Any other place the English surname is pretty powerful. So I am 
indebted to my husband for that, too. 

Senator Moxdale, Thank you very much, Mrs. Krueger, for coming 
here at your own expense and helping to strengthen this record. It will 
help us to a great extent. Thank you very, very much. 

The subcommittee is recessed until 9 :30 tomorrow morning. 

("\Miereupon, at 1 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 
9 :30 a.m., Tuesday, June 10, 1969.) 



MIGRANT AND SEASONAL FARMWORKER 
POWERLESSNESS 

WHO ARE THE MIGRANTS? 



TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 1969 

U.S. Senate, 

SUBCOMIMITTEE ON ]\IlGRATORY LaBOR 

OF THE Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, 

Washington^ B.C. 

The subcommittee met at 9:i0 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 
4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator Walter F. Mondale (chair- 
man of the subcommittee) presiding. 

Present: Senators Mondale (presiding), Cranston, Hughes, Saxbe, 
Bellmon, and Schweiker. 

Committee staff members present: Robert O. Harris, staff director 
of full committee; Boren Chertkov, majority counsel; A. Sidney Jolin- 
son, professional staff member; and Eugene Mittelman, minority 
counsel. 

Senator Mondale. The Subcommittee on Migratory Labor "will 
reconvene. 

Our first witness this morning is Frank Pebeahsy, who is from 
Cache, Okla. He is accompanied by his wife. 

Will 3'ou please come to the witness table? 

The subject of this morning's hearing is "Migrant and Seasonal 
Farmworker Powerlessness," and we are seeking to hear from the 
migrants themselves about their own lives. 

STATEMENT OF FRANK PEBEAHSY. COMANCHE INDIAN, 
ACCOMPANIED BY MRS. PEBEAHSY, CACHE, OKLA. 

Senator Mondale. We are pleased to have you and your wife here 
this morning. We realize you have come thousands of miles to be with 
us. 

You may proceed as you wish. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Thank you, sir. 

First, sir, I would like to introduce my statement for the record, 
but what I want to say, I have just a little general outline here. All 
I want to say is not in my statement here. 

Senator Mondale. What we will do is take your statement that I 
have and put it in the record as though you read it, and you go ahead 
and say what you feel should be said. 

(The prepared statement of Mr. Pebeahsy follows:) 

(115) 



116 

Prepared Statement of Frank Pebeahsy, Commanche Indian, Cache, Okla. 

My name is Frank Pebeahsy. I am a Comanche Indian and live in Cache, 
Oklahoma. I was born and raised in Cache and have been engaged in farm labor 
as a migrant worker for the last twelve years. With your permission, I would like 
to relate to you the nature of my work and travels and also some of the problems 
which I have faced during these years. 

Usually my travels begin with my family in May. Our first stop is in Colorado 
to work in the sugar beet fields. This lasts approximately eight weeks. At the 
conclusion of the work in the sugar beets, we travel to eastern New Mexico to 
labor in the broom corn fields. After approximately two weeks we return to 
Colorado to work in potates. By the time we are finished in the potato fields it's 
Thanksgiving. It's at this point that my family and I usually return to New 
Mexico for a brief visit with my wife's family. 

There are some years when we have saved enough money to travel from New 
Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona, in order to pick vegetables. More often than not, 
however, we have been unable to set aside enough money to migrate to Phoenix. 
In these years we stay in New Mexico and I attempt to pick up odd jobs in order 
to keep my family alive. This type of existence has been unable to yield me a 
living wage through the years. My family and I have worked long hours under 
the worst conditions imaginable and have nothing to show for our labor. You 
might ask me why I continue to work in the fields and travel the way I do when 
the yield is so low. There is a simple answer to this question. There is no other 
work available for me and my people and even if such was available, I do not 
have the training nor the education to undertake such employment. 

Even though the housing which is provided for myself and my family has 
improved, it continues to be inadequate. The quarters are cramped and there 
is no such thing as sanitary facilities in your own living quarters. Last year 
I made a total of $2,500. This includes all of my income from both farm labor 
and the odd jobs I was able to pick up in New Mexico. This money was used for 
the support of five persons. I average working nine to eleven hours a day in 
the fields when I am employed. We are usually paid by the piece rate. 

Because the employers are not required to pay a rate which would conform 
to minimum wage requirements, the older people who out of necessity must 
continue to work in the fields make less and less each year. Their plight 
becomes more hopeless each year as advancing age catches up with them. 

I would like to illustrate for you through an incident which happened in 
my family just why it is so impossible for a migrant worker to make a living 
wage. This year myself, my wife, my 14 year old daughter, my brother-in-law 
and his wife were employed for seven days to thin, block, and weed a 0V2 ficre 
field. We labored approximately nine hours per day for that week. The total 
pay for all five person was .$8.5.2.5. This means, Mr. Chairman, that each of 
us worked 63 hours for a total pay of $17.05. This works out to approximately 
27 cents per hour per person. 

Not only are the wages intolerable, but the working conditions continue 
to be the worst in America today. We are provided no breaks during the day, 
no toilets in the field, and none of the other advantages that most American 
workers have come to expect. 

Government programs fail to help us because we either do not know of their 
availability, or we are frightened to approach the people in charge, or Ave have 
been so frustrated in the past that we have become discouraged. 

Because we are forced to migrate out of economic necessity, our children 
must leave school early every year and are not enrolled until late in the Fall 
the following year. Frequently they are assigned to the same grade year after 
year because they have not had the advantage of a full year's education. 

When sickness strikes a migrant family, it is onlv a rare occasion when 
we have the necessary funds to engage a doctor or to buy the proper medicine. 
We are not aware of health facilities nor are these facilities accessible to us 
when we do know where to go for places for treatment. 

One could almost bear these frustrating and subhuman conditions if we were 
treated as human beings. But this is not the case — especially with my people. 
For instance, in the state of New Mexico in the past year the treatment of Indians 
has become worse. Indians are not allowed during the hours of 7 :00 a.m. to :00 
p.m. to go into town. If they do so, they are subject to immediate arrest by the 
constable. I have seen this happen with my own eyes. Once an Indian is jailed 
in this illegal manner, the constable calls the farmer who comes to town and 



117 

pays the fine for the Indian. The farmer takes my brother back to the field 
where he is forced to work off the fine. Gentlemen, this is the town that calls 
itself "the town of 1,000 friendly people." 

This is only an example of the treatment received by my people and other 
migrant workers in the southwest. From the testimony I heard yesterday I am 
sure these kinds of incidents happen all over this country. How long must we 
endure being treated like second class citizens or no citizens at all before someone 
wakes up and begins to change our conditions? 

I am grateful for the opportunity to appear here today. I only hope that those 
of you in power hear my cry on the part of the oppressed and use all the power 
at your disposal to rid us of this yoke of slavery. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Well, to begin with, our treatment in the different 
States that we go to work, especially in Quay County, N. Mex., and. in 
Phoenix, Ariz., where we work for a big producer of vegetables, the 
George J. Cobbs Farms. 

To begin with, in Quay County, we have 

(The witness cries.) 

Senator Mondajle. Take your time. Don't worry about it. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Could I be excused for a few minutes, sir ? 

Senator Mondale. By all means. 

I think what we will do, Mrs. Pebeahsy, is perhaps take another wit- 
ness, and then when your husband is ready, we will start again. 

I think we will do that. 

(See Mr. and Mrs. Pebeahsy 's testimony at page 200 of the record.) 

Senator Mondale. Is Mr. Villanueva here from Washington State? 

Mr. Villanueva, would you please proceed ? 

Do you have a written statement ? 

Mr. Villanueva. Yes, I have more copies of it. 

Senator Mondale. You may proceed. 

STATEMENT OF THOMAS A. VILLANUEVA, DIRECTOR, UNITED 
FARM WORKERS COOPERATIVE, INC., TOPPENISH, WASH. 

Mr. Villanueva. Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee 
on Migratory Labor. My name is Thomas A. Villanueva. I am the 
director of the United Farm Workers Cooperative, Inc., an organiza- 
tion dedicated to alleviate the economic and social problems of farm- 
workers. Our address is P.O. Box 655 in Toppenish, Wash. 

It is indeed a great privilege for me to adderss this body of con- 
cerned individuals. Yes, concerned individuals who seem to be favor- 
able to stop treating farmworkers of this Nation as if they were not 
members of this great union that is the United States of America. 

The problems of farmworkers are many and are problems that ex- 
isted for past generations and are now problems of today. The aware- 
ness to these problems, the awareness to find solutions to these problems, 
is of today, not of yesterday. 

Regardless of any grievance these individuals may have against society, we 
assert that their misfortune does not belong to us. 

Statement by a committee of farmers, Yakima Morning Herald, 
August 15, 1933, pages, 3, C. 6. 

After many years of suffering injustices and abuses, after many 
years of waiting for State and National legislators to do something 
about giving equal protection to farmworkers as it is taken for 
granted by other industrial workers, farmworkers have become rest- 
less and decided to lead their own destiny. 



118 

The battle has just begun throughout the Nation and certainly the 
Yakima Valley, State of Washington, is no exception. 

Yakima Valley, a rural revolution is sweeping through this farm- 
rich valley. Unsettling changes are threatening a way of life that has 
become traditional, generation after generation. Effects of this agri- 
revolution are social, cultural, and political. But the changes them- 
selves are being pushed along by economic conditions ; f armowners and 
farmworkers both believe themselves caught in a confusing cost-price 
squeeze. The immediate result of the rural revolution is historic con- 
frontation in the valley. On one side are most of the growers. They are 
joined by much of the political and governmental power in a country 
whose history is one of conservatism, defending "the way things have 
always been." Challenging these defenders of the status quo is a new 
coalition. It includes migrant farmworkers, led by younger men who 
are not content to work at "stoop labor" for pay which averages below 
the Federal minimum wage for all other laborers. Spearhead 'ng this 
group is the United Farm Workers Cooperative. 

The Seattle Times, July 21, 1968, pages 1, 22, 23. 

Housing has been an issue, and it has been the county housing 
authority that provides the worst housing. County officials, growers, 
and the Yakima Herald have constantly claimed that farmworkers are 
satisfied with the type of housing that is available; however, last year 
a labor camp improvement council was organized and demanded the 
county housing authority not to fix the housing, but at least to provide 
the materials and they would do the labor. The materials never arrived. 
(This particular council was formed of migratory farmworkers.) 

Early this summer, when the man that was the chairman of the men- 
tioned council arrived, he was told by the camp manager that they 
didn't want any agitators, and for him to go someplace else. This is a 
typical attitude toward farmworkers whenever they intend to better 
their working conditions. 

Senator Mondale. In this case, this particular person was trying to 
improve the housing for the farmworkers, and the following season, 
when he went back, they said, "We don't want you around here, you 
are a troublemaker"? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. That is right, sir. 

Private organizations along with the State council of churches and 
State labor council and the ITnited Farm Workers Cooperative, have 
been putting pressure to the State board of health. After much strug- 
gle, the board of health came out with one of the best housing codes 
that any labor camp might have. 

The results have been an organized effort from the growers to have 
those regulations changed. A bill to change the regulations to apply 
only to new housing, but not for existing housing was passed by the 
State congress and senate; and fortunately Gov. Daniel J. Evans 
vetoed the bill ; however, the State health board is now going to a series 
of hearings in order to change the regulations. 



119 

Growers in an attempt to force a change in the regulations have gone 
as far as burning shacks, shacks that should have burned 20 years ago. 

This is an article that I would like to go in the record about the 
typical housing farmworkers have to live in, and the type that have 
been burned down by growers. 

Senator Mondale. That will be included in the record at this jjoint 
in your remarks. 

(The document furnished follows:) 

[From Yakima (Wash.) Herald, May 29, 1969] 
Fruit Ranchee Burns Last of Cabins for Migrant Laborers 

Orville Ormiston, fruit grower, burned the last of the farm labor housing on 
his home place in Wiley Heights Wednesday and joined ranks with other farmers 
who have destroyed migrant living quarters in the past year. 

"I hope the health department has some place to house the people who come 
here to work in harvest," Ormiston observed as he sloshed fuel on the tinder dry 
cabin, the last of five which he formerly offered rent free to pickers and thinners 
in his orchards. 

Last week at a meeting in Yakima, a Quincy farmer said he had made ashes 
of seven cabins on his place. Two weeks ago, hop growers meeting in Yakima 
reported that some of their group had burned from two to eight such living 
quarters. 

Ormiston, with the aid of an employe, Les Markham, who has been with the 
orchardist for 12 years, went about the job of clearing out the final "Y'oung's 
cabin" in mid-morning Wednesday. 

Young's Cabins were a popular type orchard and ranch seasonal housing luiit 
right after World War II. Thousands were sold throughout the Valley but under 
new Health Department rules they are considered inadequate. 

"They weren't much," Ormiston observed, "but we never had complaints. Our 
problem was to keep too many people from sleeping in one. Three Mexican na- 
tionals used this cabin last season, and two others slept in the shower room." 
He said all were men. 

At one time there was a cluster of cabins around the concrete block modern 
shower facility. Now there are none, yet the shower facilities with .separate 
quarters for men and women will continue to be used as a cleanup spot for 
orchard workers. 

Yakima County's sanitation director. Sterling Throssell, said that with reports 
such as this coming out of the Valley "we expect something pretty decisive to 
come from the June 5 meeting of the State Board of Health at Olympia. 

Throssell said an explanation is expected of just what is meant by the "go-easy" 
memorandum which Dr. Wallace Lane, director of the Health Department, issued 
earlier this year in regard to the new housing regulations which went into effect 
last December. 

The sanitarian said he does not know of any specific "burnings" of cabins or 
housing. "I've heard a number of stories, however," he said. 

"I have been to all these places," he added in reference to on-farm and public 
farm labor housing. "But, we're not taking anyone into court at this time. We're 
kind of holding off." 

He indicated that nothing is planned in the way of stringent enforcement until 
after the June .5 Olympia meeting. 



120 




END OF AN ERA? 
Anothex" farm labor cabin burns. 





Al»iJlNG FUEL TU FLAME 
Orville Ormiston starts cabin fire. 



121 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Mr. Orville Ormiston happens to be the Yakima 
County Farm Bureau president. See attached copy so that you can see 
the type of shacks Mr, Ormiston is burning. 

In the summer of 1968, the Yakima County Heahh Board applied 
for a migrant health grant. A grant of $30,000, $15,000 of which was 
for salaries and $15,000 was to be spent for the many health needs of 
the migratory farmworker. The impact of such a program was not 
felt because that last $15,000 of the budget was returned to the Fed- 
eral Government as "funds not needed" according to the Yakima 
County Health Board. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, they got a $30,000 grant, and 
$15,000 went for wages, $15,000 was to provide health care for the 
migrants, and they sent the last $15,000 back ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes, sir. 

This year county health board is going ahead with a similar pro- 
posal. One nurse and two or three sanitarians are to visit labor camps. 
The work season started 3 months ago and the progi'am hasn't started. 
A group of organizations and a doctor have been drafting a health 
proposal with mobile clinics. Members of these organizations include 
farmworkers and ex-farmworkers. However, the county health board 
is opposed to any proposal that doesn't come from their office, and 
they are against any recommendations from the poor. The State 
health board which seems to be sympathetic to the problems of the 
farmworkers has no authority over its county boards, except for that 
of advice. 

Employment security departments are part of the migratory farm- 
workers' problems. Employment offices recruit vast numbers of out- 
of-State workers without even trying to recruit locally, resulting in 
overwhelming groups of workers. 

They start recruiting in February, Senator. They start recruiting 
people from Texas as the biggest part. This gives the benefit to the 
grower and to the labor contractor in reducing wage prices. 

This is an example not included in my statement. Last year, grow- 
ers were paying on the basis of $33 an acre. By the middle of the 
season, there were labor contractors and growers paying $15 and $1(5 
an acre, because of the tremendous number of farmworkers in the 
area. 

The unfortunate part is that once a farmworker is in a labor camp, 
even the employment security officials are unable, and in some cases 
don't care to do anything about the working conditions of the 
farmworker. 

Last year I had one case which is a good example of the attitude 
of the employment security toward the grower and the farmworker. 

Farmworker, family of eight: "Tom, we have been working with 
a grower in Harrah all week, and after we finished, he refused to pay 
our wages." Harrah is a little town in Yakima Valley. 

I asked the family, "Did you find that job yourself or did someone 
refer you there?" 

Family : "We were referred by the local employment office." 

I then called the employment office and explained to them the 
situation. The answer I received was "I am sorry, Tom, that man is 
a pretty big bird." 

36-513 o-^o — pt. 1— — 9 



122 

This upset me very much and I told them, "Since when is a State 
agency afraid of one grower." 

Employment security finally decided that they were going to do 
something about it. But this was up to the department of labor and 
industries. Labor and industries takes from 1 week to 3 months to 
come and look into the matter, they told me. 

The amount owed to the family was over $300 and they ^yere count- 
ing on that money to pay their payments and buy groceries for the 
following week. We decided to go and talk to the grower. 

His argument was that "He didn't like the work they did." However, 
the grower was there with the workers every day of the week and never 
mentioned being dissatisfied with the work. It took a discussion of 
more than 4 hours, but he finally paid every cent he owed to the family. 

These are typical actions from employment offices similar to the re- 
cruiting of labor for labor contractors. 

Unfortunately the one to blame is not the growers but our own Gov- 
ernment, since they have appointed an advisory board to State em- 
ployment security, a board composed strictly of agri-businessmen. 
And, of course, employment security is not the only source for growers 
to obtain their labor. Prisoners in some cases happen to be a cheap 
labor pool accessible to the grower. And let me quote another article 
from the newspaper. 

[From the Yakima Herald, Aug. 29, 1969] 

The Yakima Valley labor pool is being supplemented with the help of eight 
County Jail prisoners who are being freed ahead of their release dates to help 
harvest the crops. 

County Prosecutor Lincoln Shropshire said today he prepared ordei-s for re- 
lea.se of eight men from the County Jail. Their release was requested by Moxee 
area hop growers. 

It is often said that education will be the salvation of farmworkers, 
so the employment security has been conducting a series of Manpower 
Development Training Act programs, wliich in paper have been a great 
success, but to the farmworker have been disastrous, not because the 
programs are bad. But because people have been pulled out of agricul- 
ture for 2 or 3 months (have their hopes high) and then come 
back to do exactly what they were doing before tlie training and at the 
same hourly wage. 

Certainly we know tliat there is a need for training, but not tlie type 
that employment security offers. 

Worst of all are the attitudes of teachers and school boards toward 
the migrant worker. Last winter because of bad weather, most migra- 
tory farmworkers beginning to settle in the Yakima Valley, many un- 
employable, had to depend on the State department of public assistance. 
(Maximum grant in Washington is $325, for a family of eight or more.) 

As a result of this and because many parents were unable to pay their 
children's lunches at 30 cents and 35 cents. I will mention something 
that is not in my statement. 

The .schools do not give credit to tlie children for their lunches. There 
is only one particular school that gives credit lunches, and if the par- 
ents have not finished paying for the lunches at the end of June, they 
do not get the report cards back. 



123 

I should mention that many families had from four to nine children 
in school. A group of parents asked our local school board not to give 
free lunches, but to apply for the Federal reduced school lunch pro- 
gram so that they could aft'ord to pay 15 cents and 20 cents a day per 
child. 

That is 15 cents less than what they were charging. The school board 
refused to do it on the basis that they were not a welfare agency ; how- 
ever, parents continued coming to school board meetings with the same 
request, and getting the same response. 

Children were asked by the teachers, in front of their classmates, 
if they expected the school to support them. Here is an editorial from 
the KIMA-TV station : 

At least some Toppenish citizens must be acutely embarrassed by the outright 
foolishness of their School Board in the handling of the program for reduced 
price lunches. 

It is perhaps a signal of the extremity of the Toppenish Board's position that 
the other districts with large numbers of low income students . . . including 
Yakima, Wapato, and Sunnyside moved quickly to assure the best for their 
students that available resources would provide. Superintendent Moses said 
today, "It is not right of the State to tell the Board what to charge for school 
meals." Asserting that they should "Not Dictate To Us." Against that should 
be balanced the blatant disregard of the Toppenish Board for the help the 
reduced price lunch program would have provided for the parents of some 40 
percent of the students whose "welfare" is their responsibility. 

Senator Mondale. Is this Toppenish comnnmity a place in which a 
number of migrants work? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes, that is where the vast majority of the workers 
come for Yakima 

Senator Mondale. Is the school board there, in your opinion, unsym- 
pathetic to the problems of the migrants? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes ; unsympathetic to the problems of the farm 
workers, and also the community. 

Senator Mondale. Here is a case where the State Department of 
Education made certain recommendations to the local school districts 
about which cliildren should receive free lunches, and the local school 
board disagreed and didn't want to provide them? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

And we approached the State to see what they could do about the 
situation. 

In 1966, Consultant Service Corp. conducted a $250,000 study on 
migrant workers in the State of Washington, for the State Office of 
Economic Opportunity. Another study was done by the Bureau of 
Community Development, University of Wasliington in 1967. xVnd a 
third study was made by American Civil Liberties Union, in the 
Yakima Valley in 1968. 

Before I go any further, I would like to submit something. I have 
copies of reports that I would like the subcommittee to have. 

Senator Mondale, I see that one is very voluminous. What we will 
do is include it in our official files, and I will ask the staff to review it 
and see if some matters ought to be included in the official record. 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Very well. 

(The material referred to follows:) 





MIGRANT FARM WORKER! 

in the 
State of Washington 





This brochure summarizes a four-volume study undertaken during 1966 

by 
Consulting Services Corporation 
Seattle, Washington St. Paul Minnesota 



(125) 



126 



Migrant Population in Washington by Month 



40I 

3S< 








_ 301 

•• 










c 


« 
9 

X 




""' — 


c 25< 








z 
z 

Ul 

O 
•• 


















Ul 








i 






z 
< 

S lOi 

i 






5i 






Oi 





FEft MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT 



During the spring and early summer of 1966, migrant employment 
in Washington increased as vegetable and other crops were har- 
vested. By mid-July over 28,000 migrants were in the state. When 
the tree fruits ripened in September, the migrant population had 
reached a high of 40,000. 



127 



Definition of a Migrant 



For the purposes of the survey a migrant was defined as a person 
who stays overnight away from home (and in a different county) in 
order to obtain temporary work on a farm. 

In Washington the migrants consisted of several different ethnic 
groups. Anglos (white) represented 49% of all migrants, Latin 
Americans 41% and Others (mostly American and Canadian Indi- 
ans) 10%. 



Where the Migrants Live While in Washington 




Or.»' 



r"~1 0THe» 12<H> 



In Washington, five counties accounted for at least three fourths 
of the state's migrant population during 1966. A total of 19 coun- 
ties had some migrant agricultural employment during the year. 



128 



Migrant Housing in Washington 



Persons Per Rooi 



WASHINGTON 
RESIDENT 



MIGRANT 




The typical migrant housing unit was a one-room single or row 
cabin on the farm. The one room was occupied by between 2 and 3 
persons. By comparison, Washington State renter-occupied units 
contained between 1 and 2 persons and the unit consisted of 3.i6 
rooms. Statistically, the typical migrant room contained 2.6 per- 
sons, while the comparable figure for the state as a whole was 
0.6 persons per room. The migrant house was generally provided 
rent free. A substantial majority of migrant housing in Washington 
satisfies the requirements of the State Board of Health and the 
suggested standards of the President's Committee on Migratory 
Labor. 



129 



Migrant Education 



Migrant children between 6 and 15 years of age attended school 
about 21 weeks during the 1965-1966 school year. The school 
year lasted 36 weeks; hence, the typical migrant child attended 
school a little over half the time. The predominant reason given 
for missing school was travel. The typical adult migrant had com- 
pleted the eighth grade. The typical U.S. adult had completed ten 
grades and the Washington State adult had completed the twelfth 
grade. Slightly over 70% of the migrants usually spoke English in 
their homes. Seven percent could not speak English at all. About 
20% could get by in English but were not fluent. Sixteen percent 
of the adults had received some vocational education. 



WASHINGTON 



M IG RAN T 




130 



Migrant Income 



7- 




1965 


ANNUAL 


FAMILY 


INCOME 














6- 














5- 














M 

_0 




- 










"o 
° 4- 














o 














M 
"" 1- 












POVEITY_lEyEl^ 


C 3 

O 

M 

3 
O 

" 2- 














H 




1- 














^M 




0- 














^^1 





Washington 



U.S. 



Migrant 



In Washington State during the 1966 growing season, the typical 
migrant worked 8.6 hours a day. For those paid by the hour, the 
typical wage was $1.46 per hour. The annual income for the pre- 
ceding 12 months from seasonal agricultural work was about 
$1,200. His total income from all sources for the preceding year 
was $2,300. The poverty level of income is generally recognized 
to be $3,000 per year. 



131 



Winter Residences of Washington's Migrants 



Almost three quarters of Washington's migrant families spend 
their winters in another state. As many Anglo families winter in 
Washington State as in California. The majority of Latin American- 
families return to Texas and California when employment ends. 
Each year they travel north again, looking for work. 




132 



Migrant Health 

Respiratory and gastro-intestinal were the two most prevalent types of 
diseases reported by migrants. The average working migrant reported he 
was absent from work due to illness Yi day a month - about the same as 
the national average for all types of employment. 




On the average, a child born in the United States lost year could expect 
to live to 70 years of age. By comparison, a migrant child could expect 
to live to 55. A Latin American migrant could expect to live to 38, 32 
years less than the average American. Forty-one percent of all Latin mi- 
grant deaths occurred to children under 5. 



Prepared for 

State of Washington Office of Economic 

Opportunity — Olympia, Washington 

Prepared by 

Consulting Services Corporation 

Seattle, Washington & St. Paul, Minnesota 

The information summarized in this report was developed under a 
research contract with the Office of Economic Opportunity , 
Washington, D. C. 

For additional information or for the four Volume Study, address in- 
quiries to: 

Mr. Byron Brady, Director 

State of Washington Office of Economic Opportunity 

205 East 14th Street - Suite 25 

Olympia, Washington 98501 



133 



Migrant Farm Workers 

in the 

State of Washington 



W A SUMMARY OF FINDINGS 



by: 

Consulting Services Corporation 

for: 

State of Washington Office of ^Economic Opportunity 



134 



THE MIGRANT AND WASHINGTON AGRICULTURE 

In Washington State, agriculture produces over $600 million 
worth of farm products annually. It also forms the base for 
other important industries within the state, such as those 
associated with the marketing and processing of farm products. 

In 1966, an average of 91,000 agricultural workers per month 
were employed in Washington State between May and November. 
An average of 11,000 of these workers were migrants. Migrant 
workers are needed primarily for preharvest and harvest oper- 
ations in the sugar beet, hops, berry, asparagus, potato, pea, 
vegetable, euid apple amd other tree fruit crops. These crops 
require large numbers of workers for relatively short periods 
of time. The work force must be supplemented by seasonal 
workers, because the full-time agricultural work force cannot 
supply adequate workers for the demand periods. 



135 



THE MIGRANT LABOR MARKET 

There are several characteristics which make the migrant labor 
market unique among most other labor markets. First, there are 
few legal requirements which make it necessary for an employer 
to distinguish among workers. For example, migrant workers are 
not covered by unemployment compensation. Second, very little 
skill is required to become a seasonal, agricultural laborer. 
And third, the majority of the workers are paid on a piece-work 
as opposed to an hourly rate basis. The piece-rate wage allows 
growers to employ workers of widely differing ages and skills 
because their wage is paid on the basis of how much a worker 
harvests, rather than how many hours he works. 

There are also certain factors such as weather, plant diseases, 
time of harvest, expected produce prices, eind mechanization of 
crops which can affect the number of migrants who are employed 
during the agricultural season within the state. 



136 



COMPOSITION OF THE LABOR FORCE 

There were significant differences in the employment patterns 
of the Latin American and Anglo migrants. The Latin American 
migrants worked primarily in the fields at stoop labor tasks 
and preferred to be paid by the hour . They were employed early 
in the season in the berry, asparagus, and vegetable crops. 
They usually traveled with a feimily, and often several members 
of the family worked in order to increase family income. The 
Anglos worked primarily in the tree fruit harvests, which 
occurred in the mid and late season. They preferred to be 
paid on a piece-rate basis, and usually traveled alone. 

Nearly one-third of the total migrant labor effort (employment) 
was contributed by female workers , There was also a high inci- 
dence of agricultural employment among migrant children and 
adolescents . 



137 



INCOME AND EXPENDITURES 

The typical migrcint worker received a wage which was well in 
excess of the wage guaranteed under the proposed Federal Wage 
Legislation for agriculture. However, the migrant family's 
annual income was considerably below the poverty level of 
$3,000. The main reason their income remains so low is that 
the migrants are not employed on a year-round job. The hours 
which a migrsmt can devote to productive employment during the 
agricultural season are also limited by the time he must spend 
traveling, inclement weather conditions, and the normal unemploy- 
ment in non-permament job situations. 

Rent expenditures seem to be a minor factor in the migremt ' s 
expenditure pattern during the agricultural season. Food and 
travel expenses appeared to constitute a much more significant 
factor in their budget. 

So long as the mlgreuits maintain their present mobility patterns, 
their income will remain in the poverty class. However, simply 
establishing a permanent residence will not immediately raise 
their income or increase their standard of living. 



36-513 O - 70 - pt. 1 -- 10 



138 



HEALTH 

Migrant health problems are largely typical of other disadvantaged 
groups within the population. Low annual income, lack of educa- 
tion, and a high degree of mobility are factors which account 
for most of the migrant health problems. Other factors, such 
as housing and sanitary conditions, methods of food preparation, 
inadequate kitchen facilities, and language limitations, further 
complicate the health problems. Causal factors for these health 
problems appear to be a lack of exposure to preventive immuniza- 
tion, a lack of medical treatment and care, and, generally, a 
lack of health education. The effect of these causal factors 
is primarily manifest in substcuitially higher birth and death 
rates for the migrants in comparison with the U.S. rates, a 
somewhat greater dependence on home remedies than on professional 
help, and a prevelance of chronic illnesses, primarily gastro- 
intestinal cind respiratory in nature. 



139 



EDUCATION 

Both migrant children and adults showed a lack of sufficient, 
formal education. The average child attended school for just 
over half of the school year. The major reason given for 
absenteeism from school was traveling. The average adult 
had completed the eighth grade. The major factors affecting 
the migrant's lack of education were sporadic attendance, 
enrollment in several schools each year causing adjustment 
problems, late entrance in the fall and early drop out in the 
spring, language problems, the necessity of helping to provide 
the family income, and a lack of tremsportation to and from 
school . 

Very few of the migramts had received vocational training. The 
qualifications for entrance into these prograuns require a higher 
level of education than most migrants usually receive. Lack of 
fluency in English also probably prevents mamy Latin Americans 
from receiving vocational education. 

About one-fifth of all migremt children attended day-care centers 
during the 1966 agricultural season. The utilization of the day- 
care centers appears to depend on their location within the 



140 



conniunity relative to migrant living quarters and transportation, 
The centers seem to fill the educational needs of the migrant 
children, while at the same time, they provide a place to stay 
while the parents work. 



141 



HOUSING 

A substantial majority of the migramt housing in Washington 
State satisfied the requirements of the State Board of Health 
and the suggested standards of the President's Committee on 
Migratory LeOaor. The requirements which were satisfied 
included the structural soundness of the housing (state of 
walls, floor, roof, and windows) , the number of facilities 
provided per person, and the square feet of housing space pro- 
vided per person. 

Deficiencies, where they existed, tended to be of a non-structural 
nature. The storage of garbage and campground drainage fell 
seriously short of the required standards. A significemt pro- 
portion of the labor camps had communal facilities which did not 
work efficiently, or which were unclean. This suggests a need 
for increased day-to-day supervision during the growing season. 

Structural inadequacies (that is, inadequate in terms of existing 
regulations) were primarily a lack of adequate ventilation in 
some housing units and a lack of hot and cold running water in 
some coirsnwmal facilities. 



142 



MECHANIZATION 

The trend in mechanization in Washington State crops has been 
apparent for many years. The wheat crops were at least peurtially 
mechanized by the turn of the century, amd potatoes, which were 
harvested almost entirely by stoop labor twenty years ago, are 
alBOSt entirely mechanized today. 

It is estimated that by 1976, the demand for migrant labor will 
have decreased by 5 to 20 percent due to mechanization. The 
crops most likely to become mechanized are those which presently 
eaploy Latin American migrant labor, primarily sugar beet cul- 
tivation and asparagus. It is not anticipated that the tree 
fruit industry in Washington, which employs mostly Anglo labor, 
will become mechanized in the near future. 

Therefore, while the demand for all migrant labor could decrease 
by 20 percent, the decrease for Latin American migrants could 
reach as high as 50 percent. In view of the lower demamd for 
Latin Americem migrants, programs should be considered to retrain 
Latin Americans for work in either less mechanized crops, such as 
tree fruit, or in non-agricultural industries. 



143 



COMMUNITY ATTITUDES 

The Community Attitude Survey was designed to determine the 
attitudes of community leaders about the migrant worker. The 
study revealed that a large proportion of the respondents (42 
percent) was unfavorable in their attitude toward the migrant. 
Few of the respondents had favorable attitudes (4 percent) , but 
there was ein even larger group of respondents (53 percent) who 
appeared somewhat vague about their attitudes toward the migrant 
and chose to remain neutral. 

When asked about the community's acceptance of migrants, the 
leaders tended to express attitudes which would reflect well 
on their own community and its concern for migrants, rather 
than the actual treatment and assimilation of the migrant with- 
in the community. As most of the leaders were actively con- 
cerned with community welfare and improvement, it seems probable 
that any occupational and/or community biases which were found 
in the results could have been expected. 



144 



THE FORMER MIGRANT 

The Former Migrant Survey was designed to yield information on 
a group of migrants who had left the migratory stream. Data 
was collected on economic and social characteristics, attitudes, 
and reasons for settleipent in Washington State. 

Settlement out of the migratory stream occurred without a discern- 
ible pattern and is almost entirely dependent on the availability 
of steady employment. No characteristics were found in this 
survey which differentiate the former migrant, before settle- 
ment, from his non-resident counterpart. Settlement undoubtedly 
brings benefits to the migrant in the form of increased income 
and opportunity for education; however, the migrant's attachment 
to agriculture is still substantial (over 60 percent were employed 
in agriculture in 1966) . Thus, settlement itself does not allow 
the migrant to move out of agriculture; education is probably a 
necessary accompaniment. 

For the future, it could be said that the migrant will probably 
settle permanently only to the extent that steady employment is 
available outside the migratory stream. It should more often be 
agricultural employment, because the migrant is seldom trained 



145 



for anything else. It seems to be only after settlement, when 
educational opportunities are increased, that the migrant can 
gradually equip himself for year-round, non-agricultural employ- 
ment. Until migrants are able to obtain better education, they 
will continue their migratory way of life. 



Prepared for 

State of Washington Office of Economic 

Opportunity — Olympio, Washington 

Prepared by 

Consulting Services Corporation 

Seattle, Washington & St. Paul, Minnesota 

The information summarized in this report was developed under a 
research contract with the Office of Economic Opportunity , 
Washington, D. C. 

For additional information or for the four Volume Study, address in- 
quiries to: 

Mr. Byron Brady, Director 

State of Washington Office of Economic Opportunity 

205 East 14th Street - Suite 25 

Olympia, Washington 98501 



146 

Recommendations From Volume IV of IV— Consulting Services Corporation 
Survey — Migrant Farmworkers in the State of Washington 

I. Migrant employment and earnings 

1 Nationally, it is recommended that the Taft-Hartley Act and the Fair Labor 
Standards Act be amended to provide full coverage and protection for migratory 
farm workers. At the state level, it is recommended that the state's Employment 
Security and Workmen's Compensation laws be amended to extend full coverage 
to all agricultural workers. Any private coverage allowed under Workmen's 
Compensation should be uniform with the coverage under the present state laws. 
In particular, the contributory negligence clauses currently allowable under 
private coverage should be eliminated to insure that workers will receive uni- 
form treatment whether they are covered by the state system or a private car- 
rier. It is also recommended that the Women and Minors Law of the state be 
amended to include agricultural workers. Of particular concern here is that 
children be prohibited from farm employment in the immediate vicinity of haz- 
ardous machinery, and pregnant women be prohibited from working in the fields, 
during the month immediately prior to giving birth. 

2. At the administrative level, it is recommended that the state Employment 
Security Department establish casual labor offices within, or close by, migrant 
labor camps to provide day-by-day employment opportunities for migrants unable 
to obtain agricultural employment due to inclement weather or the timing of 
crop harvests. 

3. It is also recommended that the state Employment Security Department 
seek to expand its day-haul programs in the eastern part of the state — ^particu- 
larly as they apply to adult workers and older youth. 

4. It is recommended that the state Employment Security Department develop 
better labor contracts and use them for both their Annual Worker Plan and 
agricultural office placements. The proposed standard agricultural worker con- 
tract developed by USD A should be examined for possible use. The contract 
which is finally developed should include a bonus wage section only when the 
bonus is calculated over and above the stated wage in the contract. All contracts 
should be filed in the states' office of the Department of Labor and Industries so 
that their effective enforcement can take place. To assure contract enforcement 
does occur, it is suggested that additional aprpropriations be given to the Depart- 
ment of Labor and Industries so that additional staff members can be hired dur- 
ing the season when migrants are in the state. 

5. It is also recommended that the Department of Labor and Industries re- 
quire copies of the legal rights of agricultural workers be printed in both English 
and Spanish and posted in central areas of farms which are employing migrant 
workers. 

6. Finally, it is recommended that farm operators be required to provide sani- 
tary toilet facilities and drinking water for agricultural workers who work in 
the fields for a period of four consecutive hours or more. 

II. Health care and related welfare 

1. It is recommended that the State Department of Health immediately apply 
for funds available through the Office of Economic Opportunity and the De- 
partment of Health, Education and AVelfare to establish local health clinics for 
migrant workers. These clinics should be open during the evening hours so that 
migrants could avail themselves of this service after work. Mobile health centers 
should be developed and equipped to provide immunization for di.seases covered 
by HEW's intensive community immuization program, as well as giving basic 
medical care. The mobile units should be staffed by bilingual medical personnel 
and they should operate at roadside during the days and within labor camps 
during the evenings. The units should be equipped to test for possible tubercu- 
losis and venereal disease. 

2. The Department of Health should investigate the possibility of locating 
free phones in all labor camps which have direct hookups to health centers in 
which qualified medical personnel are on 24-hour duty. It is recommended that 
the Employment Security Department institute a program of free physical 
checkups as a requirement for participation in the Annual Worker Plan. 

3. It is further recommended that the Public Health Service expand and en- 
courage the use of health cards. The Public Health Service should also set aside 
special funds to provide assistance for pregnant women who arrive in this state 
during the late spring month.s — a period when PHS funds usually have been 



147 

depleted. The Public Health Service should also be responsible for developing 
and administering a health screening program for all migrant children. 

4. It is suggested that the state Health Department investigate the feasibility 
of establishing alcholism clinics in areas where large numbers of single, Anglo, 
migrant workers are employed. The clinics should be operated in conjunction 
with the local police forces. Although a program of this nature would be dif- 
ficult to organize, testimony offered at the Community Agricultural Forums 
demonstrated the major concern of Washington's farmers about this problem 
and the need to provide a solution for it. 

5. It is recommended that day-care centers funded by the OflSce of Economic 
Opportunity have provisions for special types of remedial health care. In par- 
ticular, there is a need to correct the apparently high incidence of vision and 
hearing deficiencies which exist among migrant children. 

6. It is recommended that simplified procedures be worked out to make emer- 
gency general assistance funds available to migrant families in which the head 
of household is found to have a communicable disease or other illness which 
keeps him from working. It is .suggested that courses, taught by bilingual in- 
structors, in food preparation and related home economic subjects be made 
available to migrants by locating facilities within migrant labor camps and at 
existing and planned migrant child-care facilities. Finally, it is recommended 
that the Dept. of Public Assistance examine the financial impact of eliminating 
durational residence requirements for welfare assistance to migrants attempting 
to establish permanent residence within the State of Washington. (This recom- 
mendation is pending court action on the Connecticut test case in which it was 
found that residence requirements were declared unconstitutional.) It is fur- 
ther suggested that such an examination culminate in the introduction of legis- 
lation to modify the public assistance laws which takes cognizance of the special 
problems of migrant families during the first year of permanent residence. 

///. Education and child care 

1. It is recommended that the Washington State Department of Public In- 
struction continue to expand its migrant division and immediately request addi- 
tional funds from the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare 
under the Migrant Section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 
These funds should be made available for direct educational assistance of mi- 
grant children. The division should actively encourage more school districts to 
provide summer school programs for migrant children (at present 10 out of 
250 school districts have migrant programs). It is also suggested that all mi- 
grant summer school programs which are made available, funds for transporta- 
tion to and from schools should be included in the budgets. 

2. It is further suggested that school districts in which there are large con- 
centrations of migrant children consider the possibility of special summer 
courses oriented to migrant children. The special courses should contain a strong 
vocational education component as well as familiarization with local affairs and 
local government. 

3. To assist in migrant school programs, it is recommended that indigenous 
migrants be used as teacher aids (or some other sub-professional title). It is sug- 
gested that this program be financed by a demonstration grant under either 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or by the Scheuer Amendment to 
the Economic Opportunity Act. The Washington State Department of Public 
Instruction should insure that all classes for migrant children be integrated with 
children from the regular school population and that special or supplementary 
classes be offered during the day to handle any remedial problems which might 
occur. Consideration should be given to the teaching of English as a second 
language for Latin-American migrant children. 

4. It is suggested the State of Washington provide additional funds to school 
districts during the period when overload problems are experienced due to the 
influx of migrant children. School districts with large populations of migrant 
children should also apply for special assistance programs such as the Special 
Milk Program and the National Lunch Program which are available through 
the U.S Department of Agriculture. Local school districts should be required 
to tighten the enforcement of their truancy regulations in local labor camps 
during the earlv spring and the late fall. Finally, it is recommended that the 
interstate educational record system be strengthened and expanded. 

5 The number of day-care centers for migrant children in Washington State 
should be expanded. In"particular, it is suggested that the Department of Public 
Instruction investigate possibilities for providing local elementary school fa- 



148 

cilities for migrant day-care centers and that the Federal Office of Economic 
Opportunity investigate the possibility of using such provided educational fa- 
cilities as local share contributions necessary for OEO grants. Day-care centers 
developed in this manner should be required to install air conditioning units 
during the summer months. It is strongly recommended that "Head Start" type 
programs be developed as adjuncts to all day-care facilities operated in Wash- 
ington State. It is further suggested that demonstration programs be instituted 
to provide transportation for migrant children from their place of residence to 
day-care facilities. 

6. In the area of adult education, it is recommended that Manpower Develop- 
ment and Training Act programs in vocational education and Office of Educa- 
tion (State Dept. of Public Instruction) programs in basic education and high 
schools equivalence be instituted for migrants. Such programs should be timed 
to being immediately after the end of the growing season in Washington State. 
They should be funded to provide subsistence allowances to migrant families 
seeking to increase their educational attainment by wintering over in Washing- 
ton State. It is also suggested that educational programs in the area of home 
economics, food preparation, and pre-natal and post-natal child care be de- 
veloped and offered for female migrants. Where the enrollment in all-adult 
education courses is substantially made up of Latin-American migrants, it is 
suggested that all instructions and trainers be bilingual. 

7. Finally, it is suggested that there be closer integration of local migrant 
programs with the migrant programs funded directly through the Office of Eco- 
nomic Opportunity. To help with this integration, the local CAP groups are en- 
couraged to set up basic education and language courses to help migrants qualify 
for vocational training programs. The CAP groups could then refer migrants 
who completed these courses to local community college 'programs. 

IV. Housing and sanitation 

1. It is recommended that the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor of the Gov- 
ernor's Committee on Health Education and Welfare Programs, together with 
relevant state departments and agencies, evaluate the possibility of making avail- 
able to migrants, under a rent subsidy program administered by local housing 
authorities, single-family housing units in communities which presently have 
a high vacancy rate. The advantages of moving migrants into such housing units 
include: (1) an immediate upgrading of migrant housing and a consequent in- 
ducement for the migrant to winter over, (2) closer proximity of the migrant 
family to public facilities, such as basic education, vocational education, police 
protection, fire protection, medical facilities, (such proximity would improve 
the general health, education and welfare of the migrant family and better train 
them to function effectively both within the community and on the job) and (3) 
the creation of a better trained, more stable and more productive labor force 
for agricultural employers as well as for other employers within the community. 

2. It is recommended that the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor of the Gov- 
ernor's Committee for Health, Education and Welfare Programs review the 
labor camp code of the State Department of Health for the purpose of improving 
clarity of the code through more explicit statements and extending the code 
to areas which are now covered, such as provision of kitchen facilities, wiring 
regulations, fly screening, and the fumigation of bedding. The illegal sale of 
alcoholic beverages in migrant labor camps should be more stringently enforced 
by local police. 

3. It is recommended that all on-farm housing be registered with the State 
Dept. of Health and that the present regulation which states that ten or more 
workers must be living in a labor camp to warrant inspection be eliminated. 
Thus, all camps would be subject to inspection. Concomitantly, it is suggested 
that additional funds be appropriated to the Health Department to employ a 
staff of inspectors full time during the growing season to assist the county sani- 
tarians. To help define the migrant housing situation in the state, it is recom- 
mended that a uniform housing inspection form be developed and provided for 
the housing inspectors. Copies of the completed housing forms should be kept in 
a centralized location. 

4. Finally, it is recommended that Title 1 of the Housing Act of lOG.'^ be 
amended to provide F.H.A. financing for the following situations: (1) migrant 
workers who wish to purchase mobile homes and remain in the stream, (2) mi- 
grant workers who wish to purchase homes and settle out of the stream, and (3) 
individual growers who wish to build new housing or improve exi.sting housing 
for migrant workers. 



149 

V. General recommendation 

1. It is recommended that special motor vehicle exemptions be made available 
for migrant workers. To implement this change, it is suggested that the state 
weighing stations be given the authority to issue a card identifying migrant 
workers and excluding them from the following regulations: (1) buying Wash- 
ington State license plates, (2) obtaining a Washington State driver's license, 
and (3) making out change of address forms. It is also suggested that the De- 
partment of Motor Vehicles develop a Spanish version of the jNIotor Vehicle Li- 
censing Test for Spanish-speaking people. 

2. Recommended that the Governor's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor de- 
velop a single operating definition of a migratory worker which is acceptable to 
all state agencies, and that the Governor take action to require all state agencies 
to adoi>t the uniform definition which is developed. 

3. Recommended that a state-wide CAA migrant coordinating committee be 
established under the auspices of the State GEO Technical Assistance Gffice. The 
purpose of this coordinating committee would be to review proposed migrant 
programs prior to funding to insure the integration of the efforts. Such integra- 
tion would have particular significance when applied to the development of educa- 
tional and training programs. 

4. Recommended that the Governor establish a Task Force on Rural Poverty 
to define long and short term goals and to develop comprehensive operating pro- 
grams to elevate the socio-economic status of migrant farm workers — and other 
rural poverty groups — in Washington State. 



Washington Agricultural Producers Council, 

N&vemier 6, 1967. 
Hon. Daniel J. Evans, 
Office of the Governor, 
Legislative Building, 
Olijmpia, Wash. 

Dear Governor Evans : This letter has reference to a 1966 migrant labor study 
in Washington State by Consulting Services Corporation. It is a summary of the 
attitudes of a broad scope of our State's agricultural producers who were rep- 
resented at a meeting in EUensburg on October 11, 1967, when Consulting Serv- 
ices Corporation's study Summary was reviewed. 

We ask the thoughtful consideration of these, our attitudes, toward migrant 
labor problems from your advisors and you. Reference is made to the "Recommen- 
dation" sections of each chapter of the fourth volume of Consulting Services 
Corporation's Migrant Farm Workers Study : 

Chapter 1 — Migrant em,ployment and earnings 

1. It appears that Consulting Services Corporation did not base their recom- 
mendations to amend the Taft-Hartley Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act 
on any evidence gathered from the research discussed in the three volumes 
previous to their summarizing volume. Their recommendations, we feel, should 
be based purely on their study and not on what appear to be preconceived ideas 
or beliefs. The agricultural industry is opposed to amendments to the Taft- 
Hartley Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act which would place farm em- 
ployers in a position where they would be compelled to bargain with farm labor 
unions. Most farm labor is harvest labor which becomes available immediately 
prior to when the crop must be harvested. Most farmers' life savings and bor- 
rowing power has been completely used in the growing of their crops. The 
farmer is in no position to bargain equally at harvest time since his crop must 
be harvested at a precise moment when it is mature, and there can not be a 
time lapse waiting for the outcome of lengthy bargaining negotiations. A strike 
at harvest time could practically bankrupt most farmers. Those Federal laws 
were designed to give the workers and employers somewhat equal rights in col- 
lective bargaining. Delays in manufacturing industrial goods, although penaliz- 
ing both the wage earner and employer, do not destroy the employer's total in- 
vestment during normal periods of negotiation. 

2. Inclusion of the farm worker under the State Unemployment Compensation 
Act seems diflScult to administer since most of the farm workers are employed 
only for a few davs bv any employer, and in many instances, only for a few 
hours. The bookkeeping chore for a farmer would be immense and enforcement 



150 

would be diflScult. There are currently some relief programs available to farm 
workers who are temporarily unemployed. The initiation of this program for 
farm workers would encourage more of the migrants to settle in Washington, 
which could increase the cost of other welfare programs. The cost to farmers 
of financing such compensation would be disastrous to them. It must be kept in 
mind that a farmer can pass his costs to no one, so certain industrial programs 
are not feasible in agriculture. 

3. As reliable farmers have adequate liability insurance to cover bonafide on- 
the-job injuries, we do not believe it necessary, to cover farm workers under 
the Washington State Workmans Compensation Act. Private insurance com- 
panies provide good coverage at reasonable rates, and many have safety en- 
gineers working with the employer to promote safer working conditions on the 
farm. Contributory negligence clauses should remain in the present insurance 
coverage because, for example, there is a high incidence of alcoholism among 
farm workers which can contribute to carelessness. 

4. We feel the Women and Minors laws of Washington State should not be 
amended in a way to discourage children from farm work of a nature beyond 
the limits of federal laws which currently restrict child employment. Children 
of the farmer, or an employee, should be free of restrictions since they are 
working under the direct supervision of a parent. Farm work is one of the few 
areas remaining where teen-aged children can gain the benefits of job responsi- 
bility. Women who will soon give birth to children should not be employed to do 
farm work, we agree. Most farmers do not now let obviously pregnant women do 
field-work. 

5. Day-haul facilities have not been in demand in Eastern Washington by 
either employer or employee groups. The Washington State Employment Service, 
we understand, is equipped to co-ordinate this type of program if there is either 
an employer or employee needs. Farmers in Eastern Washington have been 
providing transportation when required. 

6. We do not feel any State or Federal agency should involve itself with labor 
contracts other than the current annual worker plan placements. Current ex- 
perience shows that existing United States Department of Labor supervised 
worker placement contracts guarantee job conditions for the worker, but the 
employer is given no assurance the employee will arrive for the job. And if the 
employee does begin work, there is no guarantee how long he will remain. Con- 
tracts of the above nature have been well enforced by the Washington State 
Employment Service since that organization has the leverage of refusing to 
co-ordinate further contracts with an employer or employee with whom there 
has been poor experience. 

7. Most farm labor offices have a bulletin board or similar arrangement where 
bulletins or pamphlets informing farm workers of their legal rights could be 
made available. It does not seem to us any other agency need to become involved 
when this good recommendation of Consulting Services Corporation could be 
adequately handled by the existing Farm Labor Employment Services. Those 
legal rights should be printed in both English and Spanish. 

8. We strongly agree that all farm operators should be required to provide 
clean toilet facilities and drinking water for agricultural workers who work 
in the fields for a period of four hours or more. 

Chapter 2. — Health care and related tcelfare 

1. It appears reasonable that effort be made through the Washington State 
Department of Health to extend additional health services to migrant workers. 
Provision of mobile clinics, physical examinations, health services to children 
and pregnant women and treatment for possible tuberculosis and venereal dis- 
ease are worthy objectives. Such steps deserve the support of farmers and the 
public in general. 

2. The suggestion that the State Health Department investigate feasibility 
of establishment of alcohol centers in areas where large numbers of single mi- 
grant workers, or transients, are employed approaches what we feel is a major 
problem. Would it be more sensible to establish such centers in cities like Port- 
land, Spokane or Seattle where the majority of the so-called "winos" spend the 
greater part of the year? In other words, make this a total effect and not limit 
it to just the farm sectors. 

3. Day-care centers funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity should have 
provisions for special types of remedial health care. Our observations indicate 
that children of migrants are likely to have problems of hearing, vision, dental 



151 

care, and other health conditions that could be remedied or assisted if treated 
in time. 

4. It also appears in accord with humanitarian principles to provide assistance 
to migrant families when the head of the household is found to have a communi- 
cable disease or other illness which keeps him from working. 

5. Recommendations involving instruction in food preparation and home eco- 
nomics subjects at migrant camps and at migrant child care facilities might be 
worthy of further experimentation. Relatively few migrants are concentrated 
in camps where instruction has been offered. "Efforts of this nature have been 
attracting few actual migrants in some communities. 

6. We fear that the Department of Public Assistance would feel a severe finan- 
cial impact by eliminating current residence requirements for welfare assistance 
to migrants attempting to establish permanent residence within the State of 
Washington. Expanding welfare in such a form would make the state the haven 
for every welfare patron who found conditions unfavorable in his own state. To 
limit such "immediate welfare" to migrants would be next to impossible, because 
any person could say he was coming here to find work. To limit such welfare 
assistance to migrants, who indicate they wish to remain in our state, likewise 
could build a favored category of welfare cases for people who, for one reason 
or another, prefer to spend the winter here rather than to return to their home 
location. 

7. In reference to welfare programs, we feel consideration should again be 
given to an idea presented to the State Employment Security Department by its 
Farm Labor Advisory Council which met in Yakima on April 4, 1967. The essen- 
tial part of the minutes of that meeting reads : 

Most unemployed qualified men with an average or large family can re- 
ceive more doing nothing than they can pruning on short, winter days. We 
cannot ask a man to work for less. Winter farm wages which would equal 
public assistance income are not possible to pay, especially to a man with 
a large family. There are some instances where steady summer farm em- 
ployees would like to work in the winter months, but say they cannot afford 
it. Most farmers sympathize with that person's position, and won't report 
him. 

Could the Employment Service co-ordinate more closely with the Depart- 
ment of Public Assistance to place some of the more qualified unemployed 
on-farm jobs which are available? This is being done to some extent now, 
but it has been difficult to get a willing man on relief to perform the 
winter farm work. If a man taken off the relief rolls would earn less than 
he would have received not working, could the Department of Public 
Assistance make up the difference? This program might involve more 
routine for the Employment Service and Department of Public Assistance 
personnel, but there could be an overall saving to the state. If, for example, 
20 men were placed in such a way each week (20 is a normal daily 
shortage of prunes, according to the Yakima Farm Labor Office) those 20 
men might need ^50 additional to raise a hypothetical pruning wage from 
.$2.")0 per month, to a I'ublic Assistance payment level of $300 per month. 
This example would save the state about $1,200 per week, or $r),000 per 
month. With such a saving, couldn't such a program be administered? 
This would give some unemployed individuals pride of accomplishment. 
It would also improve the image of the Employment Security Department, 
and the Department of Public Assistance by the positive approach to filling 
the farm job vacancies at a period of the state's highest unemployment. 

Chapter 3. — Edtication and child welfare 

1. We agree that there should be further educational opportunities for chil- 
dren of migrants. This basic approach should help them qualify for more 
stable and. therefore, more remunerative employment. In some sections of the 
state it has been extremely difficult to get children of migrants to take advantage 
of educational opportunities offered. However, such educational measures 
de.serve a strenuous effort. 

2. Recommendations that English study be emphasized for Latin-American 
migrant children and that remedial instruction be offered are soiuul proposals 
worthy of execution. So, too, are the recommendations that school districts 
experiencing a heavy influx of migrant children should receive additional 
state funds. Si>ecial assistance through the milk program and the National 
School Lunch Program are likewise worthy suggestions, as is the recom- 



152 

mendation that inter-state educational record systems should be strengthened 
and expanded. 

3. Further expansion of day-care centers for migrant children in Wash- 
ington State is probably justified, although migrants in the Puyallup area told 
farmers they were not pleased with that locality's program. The objective of 
providing adequate numbers of day-care centers and related Head Start pro- 
grams would appear a sound recommendation because future improvement of 
the typical migrant family's existence would seem to lie in encouraging better 
health and education for migrant children. Our observations show a need for 
larger facilities in some localities, but we feel poorly attended day-care centers 
should be closed. 

4. Basic education and vocational education programs for migrants should 
be in the spring to prepare them for that season's work. We feel those programs 
are beneficial, especially to the Spanish-Americans, in training them for job 
skills within the region where they are being educated. Beginning the program 
in the fall after harvest would discourage the migrant from moving to his 
next crop or to his more permanent residence in the south or southwest, and 
might create an increased impact on the current State welfare programs 
throughout the winter. The program should be handled through State and local 
boards of education and should utilize local people familiar with the subject 
matter. Farmers should assist as advisors and in.structors since they can best 
communicate the importance of farm work to the student, and can co-ordinate 
instruction with farm co-operators in on-the-job training programs. 

Chapter 4- — Sousing and sanitation 

1. Housing would not seem to be a basis for drastic complaints according to 
our analysis of Consulting Services Corporation's study. We feel that private 
sectors deserve the most criticism, since there has been little relative improve- 
ment of rental units available to migrants compared with the great improvements 
currently being made by farm employers. Granted, there are some farm labor 
camps which fail to meet health standards of the State and Federal government, 
but enforcement by existing agencies has been forcing those camps to improve or 
to become abandoned. We do not feel there needs to be an enlarged enforcement 
agency regulating farm housing to the extreme of enforcing single dwelling regu- 
lations. When a farm has one or two dwellings, they are most often used by year- 
around help. Those dwellings are maintained at a relatively high level by most 
employers because that is necessary to retain that class of employee. 

2. Local presentations this summer by Consulting Services Corporation to com- 
munity groups hearing their review of the Study revealed their recommendations 
for hot and cold running water in each migrant living unit. That recommendation 
was not included in detail in their final summary. We wish to remain on record 
of the fact we do not believe it is feasible to have hot water in each living unit 
since the experience where that is available indicates abuses of that privilege 
by the fact hot water is often left running when not in use. Such abuses leave the 
central hot water storage low of heated water which is needed at the end of the 
day when there is a big demand for showers and washing. 

3. The housing recommendation suggesting a rent subsidy program for migrants 
has a discriminatory aspect, we feel, because it is hard to comprehend how 
authorities could favor migrants who wish to wdnter in a community by offering 
them rent subsidies, but not offering the same advantage to other low-income 
families in the area who may also do seasonal work. 

4. The recommendation that Title I of the Housing Act of 1965 be amended to 
provide FHA financing for the following : 

A. Migrant workers who wish to purchase mobile homes and remain in the 
migrant stream, 

B. Migrant workers who wish to purchase homes and settle out of the 
migrant stream, and 

C. Individual growers who wish to build new housing or improve existing 
housing for migrant workers, 

would appear to be justified. We understand from FHA oflJcials that "C" is 
currently possible. 

Chapter 5. — General recommendations 

We agree that regulations affecting drivers' licenses and car licenses of migrant 
workers should be modified. It seems proper to extend the same privileges in 
Washington as have been given migrants in Oregon and California. However, we 



153 

feel safety requirements must be enforced with migrants, as with the local popu- 
lation, as violations of those requirements are observed in spot inspections by 
the State Patrol. 

We agree there is a need to help those in a poverty class, whether they are poten- 
tial farm workers or simply under-privileged from lack of education and indiffer- 
ence. We do not feel the migrant labor within the State of Washington needs the 
involvement of so many agencies of the State and Federal government as now 
appear to be concerning themselves with those agencies. We feel that one State 
agency or co-ordinating council can be given this responsibility of co-ordinating 
the efforts of existing State and local divisions of government within our State. 
The existing State agencies should improve their communication with the migrant 
farm workers who are in need of programs and assistance currently available to 
them. Community action centers should only serve to inform what State agencies 
can provide to help migrants, but those centers should not continually attempt 
to duplicate existing State or local service. 
Respectfully submitted, 

Washington Agricultural Producers Council : Green Giant Company, 
Rowe Farms, Inc. (Naches), Stadleman Fruit Co. (Oroville and 
Yakima) ; Cahodas-Lancaster-Frank, Inc. (Yakima) ; Washing- 
ton Asparagus Growers Assn. (represents Washington's 400 
asparagus growers) ; Perham Fruit Corporation (Yakima) : 
Brewster Co-operative Growers. Underwood Fruit and Warehouse 
Company (Bingen) ; Del Monte Corporation (formerly California 
Packing Corp.) ; Harris Orchard Co. and Mad River Orchard Co. 
(Eutiat) ; Snokist Growers, Inc. (600 Yakima district fruit 
growers); Washington State Farm Bureau; Wells and Wade 
Fruit Co. (Wenatchee) ; Washington State Apple Commission 
(represents Washington's 5,000 apple growers) ; Washington 
Growers Clearing House Assn. (represents 2,200 North Central 
Washington growers) ; Crane and Crane (Brewster), and Wash- 
ington Hop Commission (represents Washington's 22.5 hop 
growers). 
Washington State Fruit Commission (represents Washington's 500 
soft fruit growers); Prosser Packers, Inc., Prosser; Puyallup 
Valley Berry Growers (Charles Bond, representative) ; Central 
Washington Farm Crops, Assn. (represents 500 diversified Co- 
lumbia Basin) ; Ellensburg, and Southeast Washington farmers; 
Washington Oregon Canning Pear Assn. (represents 832 Wash- 
ington Pear growers) ; Washington Cattlement's Assn., Ellens- 
burg; Yakima Growers-Shippers Assn. (represents 79 Yakima 
district fruit handlers ) . 



Migrant Living Conditions 

A BRIEF report 

(By A. Ludlow Kramer, Chairman, Urban Affairs Council) 

A nine-hour visit to an area with a problem does not make one an expert on 
that problem. Meetings with those directly involved in the same problem does 
not make one an expert. Reading the available research on this same problem 
does not make one an expert. 

Personal visits, meetings, and research — all these combined help make one 
an expert. But if one then claims to be an expert, he is still making a false 
claim. One has to live with the problem day in, day out, year in, year out. 

I do not claim to be an expert on the problem of migrant living conditions. 
I have personally visited one area where migrants live. I have had meetings 
with many of those directly involved with these living conditions. I have read 
some of the research available on the subject. But I have not lived with the 
conditions for even one whole day. 

I do not claim to be an expert. However, this does not negate the genuine 
concerns which I have and which we all must have. 

Concern for a large group of people who are no better off than they 
were in the thirties. 

Concern for a people whose problems are being compounded because 
automation is eliminating many jobs and because nature plays cruel 
tricks on supply and demand. 

36-513 — 70 — i>t. 1— ^ — 11 



154 

Concern for their children who receive probably the most inadequate 
education of any minority group. 

Concern for these same children who are in many cases under- 
nourished and in need of medical attention. 

Concern for a group of people who are being exploited by some. 

Concern for their housing for which government in some areas as- 
simied the responsibility and then essentially refused to be responsible. 

Concern for those from this group who cannot afford even public or 
private housing and must find refuge along river banks. 

Concern over the lack of cooperation between different levels of gov- 
ernment, between various governmental agencies, and between private 
and public agencies. 

Concern for a certain lack of services which can and should be pro- 
vided by various agencies, local, state, and federal. 

Concern for those increasing numbers of employers who have taken 
responsibility both on their own ranches and in the community. Unfor- 
tunately, even those who have taken repsonsibility are blamed when in 
many cases actually the government is to blame for the irresponsibility. 

As chairman of the Urban Affairs Council and as a state elected oflBcial, I 
decided to visit the Yakima Valley to gain insight of a problem which was trou- 
bling many. In seeking solutions to urban problems, often the core area of our 
cities has drawn official attention. From out of the hills and valleys of our rural 
areas, however, come our mountainous core city problems. If we can pay some 
attention to those people who will likely move to the big urban areas seeking 
the supposedly better life, then perhaps the problems they, and the city to which 
they move, face will diminish. 

During my visit to the Yakima Valley, I had the opportunity to tour several 
areas where migrants were living : The Ahtanum and Crewport Farm labor 
camps, a private camp at Buena, river banks at Parker Bridge and Zillah. I met 
with local personnel from Public Assistance, Employment Security, and the Office 
of Economic Opportunity. I met with local growers. I met migrants themselves 
and a couple of graduate students living among the migrants. I even visited 
briefly with a member of the Sheriff's Department. And finally, I talked with 
the local press who widely covered the tour. 

Since my visit, I have met with the directors of Public Assistance, Employ- 
ment Security, the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, the Governor and 
members of his personal staff, and over the phone, with Yakima legislators. I 
have also met with the growers association and am now meeting with the 
Migratory Labor Subcommittee to the Governor's Committee on Health, Educa- 
tion, and Welfare. Finally, I expect to bring this matter to the attention of the 
Urban Affairs Council. 

I have been gratified to note some significant recent developments. Whether 
they are the direct result of an admittedly publicized (sometimes this is neces- 
sary) tour and the various meetings which have taken place is immaterial. The 
fact remains that a positive shift in attitudes toward migrants in at least one 
community is taking place. Furthermore, officials in this community are begin- 
ning to take positive action. Finally, state agencies changed some of their policies 
immediately and have promised to look at further changes. 

As newspaper accounts and the programs emanating from both television 
stations on migratory living conditions indicate, the news media of Yakima is 
becoming increasingly concerned. As they should be, they are a prime reason 
for much of the attitudinal shift in the community. 

The county commissioners have created a local "blue ribbon" committee. The 
express purpose of this committee will be to seek on the local level long range 
solutions to the problems of migratory labor. They will be particularly concern- 
ing themselves with housing conditions. Several local state legislators in con- 
junction with the state director of Public Assistance were responsible for lower- 
ing the amount of cash needed to purchase food stamps and to move the pre- 
stamp program ahead 30 days. One local legislator is the prime mover behind a 
public health grant for three nurses. 

During the past few years as Urban Affiairs Coordinator, I have had one thing 
continually come home to me. There is no single solution to a complex problem. 
It demands a multitude of solutions. 

The problem of migrant living conditions is complex. There has been some 
action taken to solve it. Much more will have to be taken. 



155 

The State Department of Health might use its influence and if necessary its 
powers to alleviate the poor health conditions prevalent in migrant living areas. 
Personnel and medicine should be readily available to the migrants. The medi- 
cal profession can be of great assistance in this program. 

The State Department of Public Assistance might consider the possibility of 
sending personnel to migrant living areas. Funds are apparently available' for 
anyone without the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. However, many 
migrants are unaware of this fact. 

The State Department of Labor and Industries should reevaluate the bonus 
program. This program allows farmers to withhold a certain amount from their 
workers paycheck and then pay the worker a bonus upon completion of the 
harvest. In too many instances, the migrant worker is rarely around when the 
bonus supposedly becomes available. The farmer then collects all of the unpaid 
bonuses. 

The State Department of Employment Security should have personnel readily 
available in migrant living areas. They should make contacts with migrants and 
advise them on employment opportunities. Further, there is an apparent need 
for some very simple training. For instance, lettuce thinning jobs were available 
the week I visited. It takes thirty minutes to train a lettuce thinner. In several 
cases the farmer refused to hire untrained lettuce thinners. In these cases, Em- 
ployment Security could satisfy a real need by having ready a short training 
session. At the conclusion of the session, the successful trainees could receive a 
card indicating their skill. 

The Federal Farmers Home Administration distributes propaganda advertis- 
ing self-help housing loans available for migrants. An increasing number of 
migrants are settling down and leaving the stream. Apparently many of these 
migrants are having difficulty obtaining these loans. There is some evidence that 
the local FHA offices have not dealt fairly with the migrant. 

The Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and/or the 
Office of Economic Opportunity mijiht explore the problem of providing day care 
for those migrant children who arrive after the summer has begun. The OEO 
has fulfilled a genuine need by providing day care for migrants. Unfortunately, 
there is no room in existing facilities for the children of "late-arriving" or "short- 
staying" migrants. 

All agencies of government — federal, state, and local — should respond to the 
plight of the migrants in the same manner as was done with those who live in 
Seattle's Central Area. Obviously » multi-service center would be impractical, 
given the vast area in which the migrant lives and the fact that he obviously 
moves a great deal. However, personnel knowledgeable of the functions and serv- 
ices of all public and private agencies might be hired to make contact with mi- 
grants at all points where they arrive. Migrants in need of services normally 
supplied by some agency can be directed to the appropriate one by these 
individuals. 

The State Department of Parks and Recreation and the State Department of 
Natural Resources might jointly establish public camp grounds specifically de- 
signed for migrants. Many migrants bring tents and trailers. Admittedly, most 
of the latter find exceptions and those with tents have had to camp by river 
banks. These places are dirty and unhealthy. Campsites on state owned property 
could be built which include hot and cold running water, showers, restrooms, 
paved driveways, and recreational facilities. Furthermore, these campsites could 
be designed in such a manner that hunters could use them in the late fall. 

The Governors of the Western States should consider the formation of an 
interstate compact on migrants. Obviously no single state can adequately pro- 
vide all the services which are needed by the migrant. The most obvious needs 
exist in the area of education. As automation continues to eliminate unskilled 
and semi-skilled agricultural occupations, retraining becomes an increasing 
necessity. Before retraining can be undertaken, however, adult literacy educa- 
tion is required. Unfortunately, the migrant cannot afford to remain in an area 
long enough to complete such a course. Migrant children are also suffering from 
an inadequate education because they are continually transferring from schools. 
Mobile schools which follow the normal migrant streams is a possible solution. 
An interstate compact on migrants might be the impetus behind solving the 
problem of migrant education and other problems where the solutions Involve 
two or more states. , . ., 

There will be others with their ideas and suggestions. My hope is that some 
one person or group will have the foresight to bring all of the numerous and 



156 

various proposals together. A coordinated attack by public and private agencies 
with broad local cooperation and participation will be necessary if the living 
conditions of migrants are to ever be improved. We do not need more agencies. 
We need coordination of agencies and ideas. 



[From Seattle newspaper. May 196S1 
The Shame of This Valley 

For thousands of migrants who flock each spring to Eastern Washington, life 
isn't the paradise soiue people proclaim. 

(By James Halpin) 

Yakima. 

To most tourists driving through the Yakima Valley this spring, the boast on 
the billboard along U.S. Highway 410 will seem more than justified. The val- 
ley's 25,000 acres of apple trees are in bloom now, and the warm winds are 
delicately scented by their pink and white blossoms. Along the banks of the 
Yakima and Naches rivers, fishermen are enjoying the trout runs, and on 
Yakima's five excellent golf links, well-to-do businessmen and farmers talk 
about the crops on which the valley's 200,000 inhabitants depend. 

Barring an untimely freeze, the crops are generally good, for the valley's 
volcanic ash soil, its 300 days of annual sunshine and its ample supply of 
irrigation water provide some of the best growing conditions to be found any- 
where. Indeed, Yakima County has more fruit trees and grows more apples, 
hops and mint than any other county in the U.S. Small wonder, then, that the 
Yakima valley is dotted wath substantial homes and that it is able to support 
such amenities as a race track, a ski resort and a surprising number of better- 
thau-average restaurants. 

But not everyoue in the valley leads the good life of which the billboard 
boasts. Living in starkly contrasting conditions are those who harvest the crops 
that provide all the well-being — the migrant workers. 

Every year, some 40,000 migrants pour into Washington State, harvest its 
crops and depart. In the Yakima Valley, this stream starts in late winter with a 
trickle of workers seeking jobs as pruners in the hop fields. In early spring, the 
trickle turns into a rivulet as work in the beet and asparagus fields becomes 
available; in late summer, it swells to a maximum of 8,000 workers when the 
fruit is ripe for picking. This month, the swell has already begun. 

In this state, no one better fits the description of "invisible man" than the mi- 
grant worker. Last August, however, the public was made aware of his existence 
in an unexpected and dramatic way when 5,000 migrants arrived in the valley 
before the fruit was ready to pick. Alerted by Oflice of Economic Opportunity 
aides, a Seattle newspaper dispatched reporters to the scene who sent back stories 
reminiscent of The Grapes of Wratli. Among other things, the articles reported 
that some of the migrants were sleeping in cars along mosquito-infested river- 
banks, that many had no food and were short of clothing, and that some needed 
medical attention. 

The stories drew immediate reaction. Church and service organizations 
throughout the state collected and sent truckloads of food, which were duly dis- 
tributed, and Governor Evans dispatched Secretary of State A. Ludlow Kramer 
to the valley. 

Of the area's 120-odd camps, two of which are owned by the county and the 
rest by farmers or private landlords, Kramer visited only a few in his whirlwind, 
one-day tour. But though Kramer's glimpse was a superficial one, his experience 
in the valley proved that it is going to take far more than publicity — and char- 
ity — to solve the migrants' deep troubles. One incident, in particular, brought the 
situation sharply into focus for the official from Olympia — with tragi-comic force. 

"Kramer decided he wanted to talk with one of the migrants living along the 
banks of the Yakima River," says Lee Lucson who, as director of the Yakima 
Valley Council for Community Action, is head of the area's war on xwverty. "So," 
continues Lucson, "we took him to see this guy who was living along the river 
with his six kids in an old, burnt-out school bus. The place was incredible — no 
toilet facilities, of course, and excrement covered with flies all over the place. I 
could see that Lud was a little shocked, but he stuck out his hand and said, 'Hi, 
I'm Lud Kramer, your secretary of state. I just came down to see what your 
problems are.' 



157 

"Well, the guy just looked at Lud because, of course, all it took was two eyes 
to see what his troubles were. Furthermore, he didn't know the difference be- 
tween a secretary of state and a game warden. 

"Anyway," Lucson goes on, "he told Kramer he'd rather not talk with him, be- 
cause if he (lid, the sheriff was sure to come down and evict him. Well, Kramer 
was still trying to convince the guy that he wouldn't let anything like that hap- 
pen when a deputy sheriff drove up with an eviction notice. Kramer was really 
embarrassed at this, especially when he failed to talk the deputy out of serving 
the papers. He finally resolved the situation by paying the migrant's rent for two 
weeks at a labor camp." 

Despite his good intentions, Kramer's visit was, if anything, viewed as a great 
misfortune by the migrants, for after he had chatted with another 20 families 
who were camped along the Yakima, they, too, were ordered to move along by 
Sheriff Burt Guns^a retaliation, apparently, by Yakima County for the unfavor- 
able publicity that Kramer's tour generated. Though Kramer himself has re- 
mained deeply concerned about the plight of the migrants, he hasn't, so far, 
been able to do anything to improve their lot. 

The final irony of last summer's campaign to help the Yakima migrants was 
the reaction of the workers themselves. Writes Steven S. Webster, one of six 
U.W. anthropology students who prepared a report for the OEO on migrant life 
in the valley : 

"The food and clothing distribution . . . was looked upon [by the migrants] 
either as an opportunity for free goods, or as a wasted effort on behalf of free- 
loaders and winos. . . . The photographers, reporters, television newsmen and 
visits of the Governor's staff . . . were seen as occasions for shame or indignity, 
or the prelude to further denigration from the community and growers. ... To 
sum up, the migrants had not met with spontaneous public concern often enough 
to recognize . . . what it was." 

Unperceptive as the migrants might have been, they were, nonetheless, correct 
in foreseeing one consequence of the public concern — the hostile reaction of valley 
residents : 

"In the follijwing weeks [AVebster reports], local dailies ran editorials reem- 
phasizing residents' opinions that migrants' poverty was due to shiftlessness and 
drunkenness. Abuse was also renewed from Yakima teenagers who cruised 
through Rambler's Park (a labor camp) at 2 or 3 a.m. calling insults and throw- 
ing rocks; 'fruit-tramps' sleeping beneath nearby bridges . . . slept more closely 
together in fear of renewed visits from young city toughs, who sometimes visited 
such locations to rough them up." 

Ill will toward migrants is not the province of merely a handful of juvenile 
delinquents. A statewide survey in 1966 taken by Consulting Services showed 
that, in Washington, 42 percent of the residents of agricultural communities held 
unfavorable attitudes toward migrants. In fact, only 4 per cent were favorable, 
and 53 per cent were noncommital. It is not surprising, therefore, that migrant 
workers limit their contact with the outside world as much as possible — and that 
many of them have insulated themselves behind a shell of fierce pride. 

One sign of this proud insularity is, as Webster noted, the migrant's scorn 
for anyone who accepts welfare payments. There may well be, though, a measure 
of bitterness in this general feeling, for the fact is that few migrants are even 
eligible for the welfare rolls because of the requirement that a given recipient 
must have lived three out of the past five years in the state. 

Welfare is not the only form of government aid denied to the average migrant. 
Both unemployment and workman's compensation are entirely beyond his reach, 
for state laws specifically exclude agricultural workers from these benefits. 

In the Yakima Valley the effect of these regulations is vividly revealed by 
the case of Mrs. Lelan Cowan, a 37-year-old divorcee who lives with her nine 
children in a two-room shack located in a field just outside the Ahtanum County 
Labor Camp. Here are the facts of the Cowan family's present life : 

Instead of beds, a half-dozen grimy mattresses are strewn on the floor. The 
only plumbing is a sink cold-water tap ; the .single-seat outhouse is in back. "The 
house ain't much," apologizes Mrs. Cowan, "but it's all I can afford. I haven't 
been able to work because I haven't got my strength back yet. I just had 80 per 
cent of my stomach cut out because of ulcers." 

The Cowans have been living in the valley since the,y migrated from California 
last summer. (Unlike most migrants, they spent the winter in 'the valley.) In- 
eligible for welfare, Mrs. Cowan's only income is a $50-a-month allotment — of 



158 

this, $45 goes for the rent — which she receives from a son in the Army. The only 
other source available to her is the Federal food stamp program. 

"That's a pretty good deal," she explains. "When you've got nine kids, you can 
get $90 worth of food for i?3. Of course, since I haven't got even three dollars. I 
have to borrow it from a friend, and I pay her back in food. The main trouble 
is that you can't buy soap with the .stamp, which makes it pretty hard to keep 
the kids clean, especially the 17-year-old who's got cerebral palsy. He con't con- 
trol his bowels, and I have to keep him in diapers. They keep trying to get me to 
put him in an institution, but I won't. As long as I'm alive, this family is going 
to stay together." 

Besides her own children. Mrs. Cowan is also sheltering, and "supporting," a 
friend of her eldest sou — a 24-year-old migrant named Don Owens, who is unable 
to work because he recently broke his arm in a fall from an apple tree. In return 
for his room and buard. Owens, who has an old car, drives the family wherever 
they need to go. "Migrants," he says, "take care of each other." 

Not long ago, John Steinbeck remarked that the migrants' lot has not improved 
substantiall.v since he wrote Tlic Grapca of Wrath 29 years ago. In Washington, 
the average migrant is probably less burdened than Mrs. Cowan, but he still 
lives in conditions that are litei'ally murderous. Accrvrding to OEO statistics, the 
migrant's life expectancy is r>5 years, as compared with 70 years for Americans 
as a whole. Moreover, if tbe migrant is Mexican-American — as are 44 per cent 
in this state — his life expectancy is only 38 years. The high rate of infant mor- 
tality among migrants accounts in large part for these figures, but the heart of 
the matter is income : here, the average annual income of a migrant family is 
$2.3(10, or one-third that of the average Washington family. 

In tlie valley, farmers contend that they cannot afford to pay the migrant 
enough to lift him above the poverty level. They point out that migrants in Wash- 
ington average $l.r)2 an hour — far above tbe federal minimum wage of $1.15 
an hour — and that the reason bis income falls below the poverty level is that he 
is unable to work all year round. The Consulting Services study shows that, to 
bring the migrants' income up to state average, the growers would have to pay 
them .$4..">0 an hour in wages, plus 20 percent in fringe benefits. Quite correctly, 
these farmers insist they cannot do so and still compete with other growers in 
the nation. 

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that Washington farmers could do far more than 
the.v are presently doing to improve the migrants' lot, and that, in this particular 
valley, the treatment of migrants has been especially shameful. In the 30's. for 
example, labor organizers wlio tried to unionize valley farm workers were 
beaten — sometimes even tortured — and run out of the county along with those 
who listened to them. Ill Fares the Land, an authoritative account of the situa- 
tion in 1942 by Care.v McWilliams, concluded that migrants received worse treat- 
ment in Yakima County than in any other part of the nation. Since then, some 
growers have indeed gone to considerable expense to provide decent housing and 
improved working conditions. 

Too many others, though, not only fail to upgrade the living qiiarters for mi- 
grants, but seem bent on exploiting them in a number of devious ways. One of 
the cruelest methods used by some growers to reduce the migi-ants' already piti- 
ful wages is called, euphemistically, the "bonus system." It works this way : the 
grower withholds up to 15 percent of the migrant's wages, and if the migrant 
stays through the season, he gets the 15 per cent back ; if, however, he leaves be- 
fore then— as he must often do to be sure of getting a .iob on the next crop — the 
grower keeps the 15 per cent. Moreover, a common complaint among workers is 
that they are cheated out of their "bonus" by farmers who fire them on some 
trnniped-up excuse just before the season ends. 

Another pernicious practice is the "labor contractor" system which, in essence, 
forces the migrant to pay for his own supervision. In this system, the farmer 
turns the task of recruiting and supervising his field workers over to a labor 
contractor. The grower pays the labor contractor, who in turn pays the workers — 
but often after taking a healthy cut for himself out of each migrant's wages. 

Recruiting trips can also be profitable for the labor contractor. Given money 
from a farmer for transporting recruits into the state, the contractor has the 
option of spending as much of the transportation money as he wishes — and keep- 
ing what is left over for himself. If he is particularly greedy, the trip back from 
the recruiting region — often the Southwest — can be a terrible nightmare for the 
migrants. 



159 

One such trip involved a contractor who was transporting migrants from Ari- 
zona to Toppenish, a small town 20 miles from Yakima. The story is told by a 
former OEO aide who had been hired as the driver of the truck belonging to the 
contractor (who here will be called "Louie") : 

"It was March," says the aide, "and the guys in back were freezing because 
there was only a canvas over the bed of this old truck. Louie [the contractor] 
hadn't given us any money for food," the aide continues, "and we were practically 
starving. I had three bucks, but I spent most of that buying cookies and stuff for 
a family that was broke and had six kids. 

"It was really miserable. Louie wouldn't even trust us with gas money, so we 
had to follow behind his car, and the only time we ate on the whole trip was 
when we lost Louie and ran out of gas. A couple of guys who didn't have any 
family responsibilities went out and shoplifted a roast and some bacon which we 
cooked by the roadside. I think it saved some lives, because some of those people 
were awfully sick. 

"That Louis," continues the aide, "was so tight he wouldn't even replace a tire 
that blew out on the rear dual wheels. From Arizona to Boise, I had to drive all 
the way with a flat tire that made the truck weave all over the road, and the 
only reason he got a new tire in Boise was because the wheel got bent out of 
shape. When we finally got to Toppenish, Louie just dropped us off at a labor 
camp — with no food or money — and said he would be back for us the next day. 
We didn't wait for him. I went out and signed up the whole crew with another 
contractor." 

The labor contracting system is an example of conscious exploitation of the 
migrants. More prevalent is the kind of abuse that stems out of plain thought- 
lessness on the part of employers. 

Very few farmers in the valley, for example, provide portable toilets in the 
fields, with the result that male and female migrants have to urinate and defecate 
among the crops or in drainage ditches — a procedure that is not only embarrassing 
to them but dangerous to the consumer. 

Far more serious than such petty affronts to the migrants' dignity, however, 
are the severe shortcomings of their living quarters. Of the privately-owned camps 
in the valley, several can be described as "just livable." The bulk of them, how- 
ever, would be better for housing animals than human beings. 

Even more inadequate are the two county-run camps. During the peak sum- 
mer and early fall months, they house around 1,000 migrants in ramshackle 
cabins which, today, stand as monuments to the indifference of Yakima County 
officialdom. 

Twelve by 15 feet in area, the cabins have undergone virtually no improvement 
since they were built 28 years ago. Roofs leak and dust from the surrounding 
fields blows through the cracks in the cedar walls. 

In furnishings, the cabins are all but barren. Each contains these 'amenities" : 
a tiny wood stove (which ironically bears the tradename, "Pride"), two folding 
chairs, several metal bedsteads without mattresses and a single naked lightbulb 
suspended from the ceiling. Facilities for water supply and garbage disposal are, 
if anything, worse. Running water is obtainable only from an outside spigot — one 
for every 14 cabins. The spigot is located in a garbage bin which also contains 
four garbage cans. These, too, must serve the 14 cabins, and the resulting overflow 
of garbage is often allowed to sit in the bins for days at a time. 

Even more revolting are the toilet facilities, which are located in four buildings 
at the back of the camp. Built nearly 30 years ago, they are completely dilapi- 
dated. Water pipes leak, the toilets frequently do not flush, and when they do, 
they tend to leak around the base. Cleaning, which is done by two camp employees, 
consists of a hosing down five times a week, which does little to remove the floor 
slime. 

Augmenting the generally unsanitary conditions is the senseless policy govern- 
ing use of shower rooms in the latrine buildings. Closing time for the showers is 
6 :30 p.m., when many of the workers have not yet returned from the fields, and 
S a.m. is opening time — well after most of the migrants have left for work. 

Furthermore, migrants can be evicted from their houses at any time — and with 
no legal formalities whatever. 

"In Ahtanum, written notice of eviction was not served on tenants [states the 
OEO report]. Tenants were threatened with arrest if they were not gone by a 
certain date. If they did not leave, they were arrested for trespassing." 

Thus, the average migrant in the county camps will endure just about any- 
thing. To complain about his living conditions might incur the wrath of the 



160 

manager— and possible eviction— and for a family on a tight budget, eviction can 
be disastrous, since the county cabins rent for $3.50 a week, while cabins in pri- 
vate camps cost roughly $9.50 a week. 

To outsiders, of course, the camps are a shocking mess. Apparently, however, 
county officials are inured to such sights as children sleeping on rags because 
they have no mattresses, or babies covered with flies because repairs on the torn 
screens have not been made. "Once," says Sam Martinez, an OEO official, "I 
went before the Housing Authority commission to ask them to do something 
about the unsanitary conditions. Half of them weren't even paying attention. 
They were too busy listening to the World Series." 

Typifying the oflicials' view of things is a statement made recently by Dr. 
Leland Harris, a Yakima County health officer. As Harris saw it, there was 
"nothing particularly wrong" with the camp's sanitation, and, he added with a 
hopeful note, there have been "no epidemics so far." 

THE COUNTY SERVES AS SLUM LANDLORD 

The county's excuse for not bettering living conditions is that the county has no 
money to do so. But the fact that the county stands to profit handsomely from 
its role as, in effect, slum landlord. Built in 1939-40 by the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, the camps were sold to the Yakima County Housing Authority in 
1948 for only $75,000 — their estimated value at that time was $500,000 — on the 
agreement that they be used to house agricultural workers until January, 1970. 
Since then, the Yakima County Housing Authority has borrowed $41,000 from 
the county general fund to keep the camps afloat, claiming that they have lost 
money during four out of the last five years. Even so, however, the county 
can hardly complain that it got a bum deal : after all, the property it acquired 
20 years ago for only $75,000 is now worth well over $1 million. 

JMoreover, OEO officials seriously question whether the County Housing Au- 
thority is, in fact, losing as much as it claims. Although the Authority is loath 
to let anyone inspect its books, Seattle obtained a financial statement for Crew- 
port Camp, located near Granger, that tends to cast suspicion on the accuracy 
of the Authority's accounting. Though the statement shows that the camp lost 
$510.47 in the first six months of last year, it also reveals that the camp manage- 
ment chalked up $2,950.62 to depreciation on equipment ; this figure seems ex- 
cessive, if for no other reason than that cheap metal folding chairs were depreci- 
ated at $3 a year, a 1952 pickup at $119.40 and a 1948 pickup at $60. 

OEO officials also have their doubts about the Housing Authority's business 
acumen in leasing to a private farmer, for only $300 a year, more than 50 fertile 
acres on property at Crewport Camp. These officials claim that the property 
should bring in at least $2,000 a year and that a tidy sum has thus been lost 
during the nine yeai-s the farmer has rented it. (The rental itself is a flat viola- 
tion of the quit claim which the County Housing Authority signed in 1948 with 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It stipulated that the "grantee shall not sell 
or lease the real property herein above described except to a public or semi- 
public agency or any nonprofit association of farmers." ) 

Behind the whole indifference of the Housing Authority toward the camps, 
say some observers, is the intention of housing officials to sell them after 1970. 
For their part, Authority commissioners have denied having any firm plans, and 
last summer, they appointed a committee to study the future use of the site. 
Though the committee recommended that the migrant camps be perpetuated 
once the present cabins and facilities had been torn down and rebuilt, it did not 
say how the money for this construction could be obtained. As a result, critics of 
the Housing Authority have charged that the establishment of a study com- 
mittee was just a delaying tactic. 

On the surface, such tactics would seem to be good strategy for those officials 
and farmers who oppose improving the migrants' lot, for studies show that the 
trend toward mechanization in the farm industry will reduce the demand for 
migrants by anywhere from 5 to 40 percent in the next decade. Meanwhile, how- 
ever, there still remains the possibility that agricultural workers in the Y^akima 
Valley will succeed in organizing a union — perhaps one connected with the 
grape-picker unions that have been striking in Delano, California, since 1965. 

Right now, two bills are before Congress, proposing legislation which the farm 
lobby is trying its best to keep bottled up in committee. Among other steps, the 
bills would strike the woxds, "except agricultural labor," from the National 
Labor Relations Act, thus granting the farm worker the legal right to organize. 



161 

A similar battle is being fought here in Washington, where the State Labor 
Council is pushing for legislation that would not only permit farm workers to 
unionize, but would also bring them under the coverage of unemployment and 
workman's compensation. (Another cause for hope is Governor Evans's recent 
appointment of a migrant labor advisory committee, which will study the prob- 
lem and make recommendations for action by the state government.) 

Perhaps the powerful farm lobbies in Olympia and Washington, D.C., will 
succeed — as they always have — in killing any legislation designed to help farm 
workers. Nevertheless, they cannot hope to succeed indefinitely, for there are 
signs that the migrant himself may be waking up from his long-standing apathy. 
So far, no serious effort has been made to organize workers in the valley, but 
local farmers are looking askance at a United Farm Workers Cooperative store 
which opened in Toppenish last year. The manager and main driving force be- 
hind the store is Thomas A. Villanueva, a slim, moustached Mexican-American 
with a jovial manner that belies an almost fanatical determination to alleviate 
abuses with which he himself is all too familiar. 

One of 13 children, Villanueva immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1957. 
That year, the family made the tortuous journey to Washington in the back of 
a labor contractor's truck with 17 other migrants, many of whom were hungry 
and sick. Once in Yakima, the family started working in the fields at starvation 
wages. 

"Things were getting pretty bad. but then w^e had a bit of luck," recalls Vil- 
lanueva. "The labor contractor died, his wife took over the crew, and our wages 
immediately went up 20 cents an hour. Fortunately, the contractor had died 
before he'd had a chance to tell his wife what a big hunk of money he was hold- 
ing out of each worker's pay." 

Villanueva, now 26, denies the contention of local farmers that he is secretly 
organizing a union behind the facade of a co-op. "This spring" he says, "our 
purpose is to stretch the farm worker's dollar, provide him with low-cost life 
insurance, explain to him what his rights are, and keep him informed on politi- 
cal issues and the importance of registering to vote." 

The co-op itself works in this fashion : for $5, each agricultural worker re- 
ceives one share in the store, and this share entitles him to buy co-op goods (at 
prices about 10 per cent cheaper than those in town), to elect oflScers and to 
vote on such matters as how to use the profits. 

"The importance of the co-op," says Villanueva, "is that the farm workers 
organized and paid for it themselves. Doing this without help from the outside 
has given them confidence, and now they're beginning to talk about what else 
they can do for themselves. Even though this valley doesn't know it yet, it's in 
for some big changes." 

But underlying Villanueva's air of confidence is a certain note of philosophic 
sadness, for he is well aware that the migrants' problems are among the oldest 
and most ignored in the U.S., and that they are not going to be solved by the 
co-op alone. Above all, Villanueva knows that, for the migrant workers, it will 
be a long, long while before the valley becomes, as that billboard boasts, "a great 
place to live and work." 

Mr. Villanueva. Xnmerons recommendations have been made, but 

neither county nor State officials have done anything- about it. Among 

the recommendations given by Consultant Service Corp. was included 

a summary of findings taken from their report. 

The following was their findings, concerning community attitudes : 

The Community Attitude Survey was designed to determine the attitudes of 
■community leaders about the migrant worker. The study revealed that large 
proportion of the respondents (42 percent) was unfavorable in their attitude 
toward the migrant. Few of the respondents had favorable attitudes (4 percent), 
but there was an even larger group of respondence (53 percent) who appeared 
somewhat vague about their attitudes toward the migrant and chose to remain 
neutral. 

Migratory farmworkers be(;ause of their mobility are not residents 
of any State, but rather residents and citizens of the Nation. Tlie at- 
titudes of the community give you a sense that to be a migratory farm- 
worker means to be un-American. But can community attitudes be 



162 

blamed when State, Federal officials, and even the law of the land treats 
them as an im-American ? 

I thank yon for hearing onr plight. The day will come hopefully 
with your help when farmworkers can share the wealths of its Nation. 
Yes, we ho|>e that soon the day will come when farmworkers can be 
called Americans and be treated as such. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you, Mr. Villanueva, for a very useful 
statement. In view of the questions, we will print it in its entirety at 
this point. 

(The prepared statement of Mr. Villanueva follows :) 

Pbepared Statement op Tomas A. Villanueva, Director of United Farm 
Workers Cooperative, Inc., Toppenish, Wash. 

Mr. Chairman and members of the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Migratory 
Labor. My name is Tomas A. Villanueva, I am the Director of the United Farm 
Workers Cooperative, Inc., an organization dedicated to alleviate the economic 
and social problems of Farm Workers. Our address is P.O. Box 655 in Toppenish, 
Washington. 

It is indeed a great privilege for me to address this body of concerned in- 
dividuals. Yes concerned individuals who seem to be favorable to stop treating 
farm workers of this nation as if they were not members of this great union 
that is the United States of America. 

The problems of Farm Workers are many and are problems that existed for 
past generations. Not problems of today. The awareness to these problems, the 
awareness to find solutions to these problems is of today not of yesterday. 

[Yakima Morning Herald, Aug. 15, 1933] 

"Regardless of any grivance the.se Individuals may have against society, we 
assert that their misfortune does not belong to us." Statement by a committee 
of Farmers. 

After many years of suffering injustces and abuses. After many years of wait- 
ing for state and national legislators to do something about giving equal protec- 
tion to farm workers as it is taken for granted by other Industrial workers. Farm 
workers have become restless and decided to lead their own destiny. The battle 
has just begun throughout the nation and certainly the Yakima Valley, State of 
Washington is no exception. 

[The Seattle Times, July 21, 1968] 

Yakima Valley. — A rural revolution is sweeping through this farm rich 
valley. Un.settling changes are threatening a way of life that has become tradi- 
tional, generation after generation. Effects of this agri-revolution are social, cul- 
tural and political. But the changes themselves are being pushed along by 
economic conditions; farm owners and farm workers both believe themselves 
caught in a confusing cost-price squeeze. The immediate result of the rural revolu- 
tion is historic confrontation in the valley. On one side are most of the growers. 
They are joined by much of the political and governmental power in a country 
whose history is one of conservatism, defending "the way things have always 
been." Challenging these defenders of the status quo is a new coalition. It includes 
migrant farm workers led by younger men who are not content to work at "stoop 
labor" for pay which averages below the federal minimum wage for all other 
laborers. Spearheading this group is the United Farm Workers Cooperative. 

Housing has been an issue, and it has been the County Housing Authority, the 
one that provides the worst Housing. County OflBcials, growers and the Yakima 
Herald have constantly claimed that farm workers are satisfied with the type 
of Housing that is available: However last year a Labor Camp Improvement 
Council was organized and demanded to the County Housing Authority not to fix 
the Housing, but at least to provide the materials and they would do the labor. 
The materials never arrived. (This particular Council was" formed of Migratory 
farm workers.) 

Early this Summer when the man that was the chairman of the mentioned 
Council arrived, he was told by the Camp manager that they didn't want any 
agitators, and for him to go some place else. This is a tvpicai attitude towards 
farm workers whenever they intend to better their working conditions. 



163 

Private organizations along with the State Council of Churches and State 
Labor Council and the United Farm Workers Cooperative, have been putting 
pressure to the state Board of Health. After much struggle, the Board of Health 
came out with one of the best housing codes than any labor camp might have. 

The results had been an organized effort from the growers to have those 
regulations changed. A bill to change the regulations to apply only to new hous- 
ing, but not for existing Housing was passed by The State Congress and Senate ; 
and fortunately Governor Daniel J. Evans vetoed the Bill ; However, the State 
Health Board is now going to a series of hearings in order to change the 
regulations. 

Growers in an attempt to force a change in the regulations have gone as far 
as burning shacks, shacks that should have burned 20 years ago. 

"Orville Ormiston, Fruit grower, burned the last of the Farm Labor Housing 
on his home place in Wiley Heights Wednesday and joined ranks with other 
farmers who have destroyed Migrant living quarters in the past year. 

"I hope the health department has some place to house the people who come 
here to work in the harvest." — Yakima Herald. May 29, 1969. 

Mr. Orville Ormiston happens to be the Yakima County Farm Bureau Presi- 
dent. See attached copy so that you can see the type of shacks Mr. Ormiston is 
burning. 

In the Summer of 1968, the Yakima County Health Board applied for a 
Migrant Health grant. A grant of $30,000, $15,000 of which were for salaries and 
$15,000 to be spent among the many health needs of the migratory Farm 
Worker ; the impact of such a program was not felt on the basis that the last 
$15,000 of the Budget were returned to the Federal Government as "funds not 
needed," According to the Yakima County Health Board. 

This year County Health Board is going ahead with a similar proposal. One 
nur.se and two or three sanitarians to visit labor camps. The work season started 
3 months ago and the Program hasn't started. A group of organizations and a 
doctor have been drafting a health proposal with mobile clinics, members of 
these organizations include farm workers and ex-farm workers ; However Coun- 
ty Health Board is oppo.sed to any proposal that won't come from their office. 
And they are aaginst any recommendations from the poor. And the State Health 
Board which seems to be sympathetic to the problems of the farm workers have 
no authority over its County Bo-ards, except for advice. 

Employment Security Departments are part of the Migratory Farm Workers 
problems. Employment offices recruits vast number of out of state workers with- 
out even trying to recruit locally resulting in overwhelming groups of workers. 
This gives the benefit to the grower and to the labor contractor in reducing wage 
prices. The unfortunate part is that once a farm worker is in a labor camp, even 
the Employment Security Officials are unable and in some cases don't care about 
the working conditions of the farm worker. 

Last year I had one case which is a good example of the attitudes of the 
Employment Security towards the grower and the farm worker. 

Farm worker, family of eight : "Tom, we have been working with a grower 
in Harrah all week, and after we finished, he refused to pay our wages." 

I asked the family, "Did you find that job yourself or did someone refer you 
there?" Family: "We were referred by the local Employment Office. I then called 
the Employment office and explained to them the situation, the answer I received 
was "I am sorry Tom, that man is a pretty Big Bird." This upset me very much 
and told them, "since when does a state agency afraid of one grower." 

Employment Security finally decided that they were going to do something 
about it. But this was up to the Department of Labor and Industries. Labor and 
^Industries takes from one week to 3 months to come and look into the matter, 
they told me. The amount owed to the family was over $.300.00 and they were 
counting on that money to pay their payments and buying groceries for the 
f(illowing week. We decided to go and talk to the Grower. His argument was that 
"he didn't like the work they did." However, the grower was with the workers 
every day of the week and never mentioned about being dissatisfied with the 
work. It took a discussion of more than four hours, but he finally paid every 
cent he owed to the family. 

These are typical action from Employment offices just as typical of Employ- 
ment offices to recruit labor for labor contractors. Unfortunately the one to blame 
is not the growers but our own government. Since they have appointed an 
"Advisory Board" to State Employment Security. 



164 

A Board composed strictly of Agri-Businessmen. And of course Employment 
Security is not the only source for growers to obtain their labor, prisoners 
in some cases happen to be a cheap labor pool accessible to the grower. 

"The Yakima Valley labor pool is being supplemented with the help of 
eight County Jail prisoners who are being freed ahead of their release dates to 
help harvest the crops. 

'•County Prosecutor Lincoln Shropshire said today he prepared orders for 
release of eight men from the County Jail. Their release was requested by 
Moxee area hop growers. Yakima Herald, August 29, 1967. 

It is often said that Education will be the salvation of Farm Workers, so 
the Employment Security has been conducting a series of IMDTA (Manpower 
Development Training Act Programs). Programs which in paper have been 
a great success, but to the farm worker, it has been disastrous, not because 
the programs are bad. But because people have been pulled out of agriculture, 
trained for 2 or 3 months (have their hopes high) and then come back to do 
exactly what they were doing before the training and at the same hourly 
wage. Certainly we know that there is a need for training, but not the type that 
Employment Security offers. 

Worst of all are the attitudes of teachers and School Boards towards the 
Migrant worker. Last winter because of bad weather, most migratory farm 
workers who are beginning to settle in the Yakinui Valley. Where unemploy- 
able, many had to depend on the State Department of Public Assistance 
(Maximum Grant in Washington is $32.5.(X>). As a result of this and because 
many parents were unable to pay their children's lunches at 300 and 3£i(J. I 
should mention that many families had from four to nine children in school. 
A group of parents asked our local School Board, not to give free lunches, but 
to apply for the Federal reduced School lunch program so that they could 
afford to pay 150 and 200 a day per child. The School Board refused to do 
It on the basis that they were not a welfare agency ; However parents continued 
coming to School Board meetings with the same request, and getting the 
same response. 

[KIMA-TV Editorial, Mar. 25, 1969] 

At least some Toppenish citizens must be acutely embarrased by the outright 
foolishness of their school Board in the handling of the program for reduced 
price lunches. 

It is perhaps a signal of the extremity of the Toppenish Boards position that 
toe other districts with large numbers of low income students . . . including 
Yakima, Wapato, and Sunnyside moved quickly to assure the best for their 
students that available resources would provide. Superintendent Moses said 
today "It is not right of the State to tell the Board what to charge for school 
meals. . . . Asserting that they should "Not Dictate To Us." Against that should 
be balanced the blatant disregard of the Toppenish Board for the help the re- 
duced price lunch program would have provided for the parents of some 40 
percent of the students whose "Welfare" is their responsibility. 

In 1966, Consultant Service Corporation conducted a $250,000 study on Mi- 
grant Workers in the State of Washington. For the State Office of Economic 
Opportunity (OEO), another study was done bv the Bureau of Community De- 
velopment, University of Washington in 1967. And a third study was made by 
American Civil Liberties Union, in the Yakima Valley in 1968. 

Numerous recommendations have been made, but neither County or State 
officials have done anything about it. 

Among the recommendations given by Consultant Service Corporation was 
included a summary of findings. 

The following was their findings, concerning Community Attitudes : • 

A Summary of Findings by Consulting Services Corp. 

"The Community Attitude Survey was designed to determine the attitudes of 
Community leaders about the migrant worker. The study revealed that large 
proportion of the respondents (42 percent) was unfavorable in their attitude 
toward the migrant. Few of the respondents had favorable attitudes (4 percent), 
but there was an even larger group of respondents (53 percent) who appeared 
somewhat vague about their attitudes toward the migrant and chose to remain 
neutral." 

Migratory farm workers because of their mobility are not residents of any 
state, but rather residents and citizens of the nation. The attitudes of the 



165 

Community give you a sense that to be a migratory farm worker means to be 
an un American. But can Community attitudes be blames when state, Federal 
oflScials and even the law of the land treats them as an un-American. 

I thank you for hearing our Plight. The day will come hopefully with your 
help when farm workers can share the wealth of its nation. Yes we hope that 
soon the day will come when farm workers can be called Americans and be 
treated as such. 

[From Yakima (Wash.) Herald, Thursday, May 29, 1969] 

Fruit Rancher Bxjrns Last of Cabins for Migrant Laborers 

Orville Ormiston, fruit grower, burned the last of the farm labor housing on 
his home place in Wiley Heights Wednesday and joined ranks with other farm- 
ers who have destroyed migrant living quarters in the past year. 

"I hope the health department has some place to house the people who come 
here to work in harvest," Ormiston observed as he sloshed fuel on the tinder 
dry cabin, the last of five which he formerly offered rent free to pickers and 
thinners in his orchards. 

Last week at a meeting in Yakima, a Quincy farmer said he had made ashes 
of seven cabins on his place. Two weeks ago, hop growers meeting in Yakima 
reported that some of their group had burued from two to eight such living 
quarters. 

Ormiston, with the aid of an employe, Les Markham, who has been with the 
orchardist for 12 years, went about the job of clearing out the final "Young's 
cabin" in mid-morning Wednesday. 

Young's Cabins were a popular type orchard and ranch seasonal housing unit 
right after World War II. Thousands were sold throughout the Valley but under 
new Health Department rules they are considered inadequate. 

"They weren't much," Ormiston observed, "but we never had complaints. Our 
problem was to keep too many people from sleeping in one. Three Mexican 
nationals used this cabin last season, and two others slept in the shower room.'-' 
He said all were men. 

At one time there was a cluster of cabins around the concrete block modern 
shower facility. Now there are none, yet the shower facilities with separate 
quarters for men and women will continue to be used as a cleanup spot for 
orchard workers. 

Yakima County's sanitation director. Sterling Throssell, said that with re- 
ports such as this coming out of the Valley "we expect something pretty decisive 
to come from the June 5 meeting of the State Board of Health at Olympia." 
Throssell said an explanation is expected of just what is meant by the "go- 
easy" memorandum which Dr. Wallace Lane, director of the Health Department 
issued earlier this year in regard to the new housing regulations which went 
into effect last December. 

The sanitarian said he does not know of any specific "burnings" of cabins or 
housing. "I've heard a number of stories, however," he said. 

"I have been to all these places," he added in reference to on-farm and public 
farm labor housing. "But, we're not taking anyone into court at this time. We're 
kind of holding off." 

He indicated that nothing is planned in the way of stringent enforcement 
until after the June 5 Olympia meeting. 

Senator Mondale. Can you tell us a little bit about tlie migratory 
farmworkers in the State of Washington? Are they mostly Mexican- 
Americans ? 

What kinds of crops do they harvest and help to produce ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. The Yakima Valley is divided into two areas. One 
is stoop labor, we will say, which comes in the lower valley of the 
Yakima Valley. These workers are mostly Mexican-Americans. 

Senator Mondale. They mostly come from California ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Mostly from Texas. There are very few from 
California. That is how I came to the State of Washington myself. 



166 

Senator Mondale, You are from Texas yourself ? 

I\Ir. ViLLANUEVA. I am originally from Mexico, but I have my home 
base in Texas. 

Senator Mondale. Are you in Texas in the winter ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Not any more. I have lived in the State of Wash- 
ington for the last 12 years. 

Senator Mondale. Do you earn all of your income from farm work ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. I am now employed by the United Farm Workers 
Organization, but my parents are still farmworkers. 

Senator Mondale. How many migrant farmworkers do you have in 
Washington ^ 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. An average of about 20,000. 

Senator Mondale. What are the main crops they work ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Beets, sugar beets, tomatoes, peas, potatoes, and 
then the tree crops such as apples, cherries, pears, peaches. Those are 
the major crops in the Yakima Valley. Then the workers go over to 
the coast for strawberries and green beans. 

Senator Mondale. Do you know what an average migrant family 
earns a year ? 

]\Ir. ViLLANUEVA. It is on an average of $2,300. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, let us take a husband and wife 
and five children. The husband, say, is 35, strong, still yoimg, and he 
is a farmworker, and he can still do piece work and work hard 
when he is doing it. 

Wliat can he and his family expect to make in the course of a year? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. I would say not over $3,000, on the basis that 
farmwork is not an ever}- day thing. Some of them work 2 or 3 
days and run out of work and spend 2 or 3 days looking for work. 

The other basis is that even if they were working steady, they would 
only work for 7 or 8 months, and 9 at the most, and still be unemployed 
another 3 months. 

Senator Mondale. Is it hard to find employment other than farm- 
work. 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes, because of the mass influx of workers. There 
are too many farmworkers and too many are not able to find work. 
They work a few days and spend the other days looking for jobs. 

Senator Mondale. So a hard-working young man, with his family 
helping, too 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes, in some cases. 

Senator Mondale. In Washington, how old must a person be to work ? 

IVIr. ViLLANUEVA. Sixteen years old. 

Senator Mondale. Is there some violation there ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. There is some violation. Some of the children will 
come and work at 4:30 in the morning and work until 7:30 and go 
back to school, and they come after school. 

Senator Mondale. They get up at 4 and work from 4:30 to 7:00 
and then go to school ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes, sir. 

Senator Mondale. You say you have a cooperative. Have you tried 
to organize a union ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. No, we know many things a union will do, but 
we do not consider ourselves a labor union. We try to push for legis- 



167 

lation for the State and work on the every-day problems, and try to 
contmually put pressure on the State departments, such as labor and 
industry. 

Senator Mondale. To enforce the laws, housing, sanitation, work- 
ing conditions and so on, that is what you are trying to do ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. How about your political power ? You say there 
are about 20,000 farmworkers. How many of them vote? Do you 
have any idea ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. We have very little voting. There are about 2,000 
who are able to vote because many of them are not residents, even 
though they are citizens. 

The other is that many, even if they are able to speak English, can- 
not read and write it, and according to Washington law you have to 
read and write the English language. The Mexican-American Fed- 
eration carried this to court, and we lost the case on that basis. 

Senator Mondale. So many migrants are not residents. Many of 
them find it difficult to understand and participate, and as a result, 
very few in fact do vote ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes, due in large part to the attitudes of the regis- 
trars who do not provide one set of tests. This is one thing we won 
the case on. The registrars give a different type of test to the persons 
who come to use their voting rights, and many of them would depend 
on how the registrar felt, wliether he felt or she felt they understood 
enough English or not, and it was her personal judgment whether 
she felt they understood. 

Senator Mondale. If there is anything like that going on, you 
should tell us immediately. The Civil Rights Commission would want 
to know about that. 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. We won the case on that part. 

It was unconstitutional according to the State of Washington. 

We have chapters throughout the State in every community where 
there are Mexican- Americans in our organization. 

Senator Mondale. You say you are not a union, but have you tried 
to increase and improve your wages ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. WTiat kind of efforts have you made there ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. We have had a couple of strikes on the labor 
camps of the Del Monte Corp. Many of the people get restless about it, 
though, and rather than strike for 2 or 3 days, many of them decided 
to go back to Texas. 

Senator Mondale. Were you able to get the salaries up, the wages 
up? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. No, they never came up, because by the time this 
happened, there were already more workers arriving. 

Senator Mondale. What you have found when you try to improve 
wages, is that there is always another worker around who desperately 
needs work to take the place of the strikers. 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. So you have little power. Even though you have 
20,000 people, you haven't been able to bargain for wages? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. No, we haven't. 



168 

Senator Mondale, And you have the difficulties in your local com- 
munities that you testified to in terms of treatment in schools and 
so on. 

Senator Bellmon ? 

Senator Bellmon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Yillanueva, you mentioned the language problem you have in 
trying to qualify to vote. 

Could you tell us a little bit about the acceptance that the children 
of the migrants get when they go up to the schools in the areas you 
work in, how language is a problem for them ? 

Mr. VrLLANTTEVA. In the last couple of years they have been conduct- 
ing this program to help them, like a remedial school teacher. Unfor- 
tunately, many times there is still a bilingual problem, because the 
teachers do not speak any Spanish. They have bilingual aids, but never 
bilingual teachers. 

Senator Bellmox. So the districts are making an effort, then. 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. They are starting to make an effort on that basis, 
yes. 

Senator Bellmon. Would you say that the children are accepted in 
the schools? 

Mr. Villantjeva. Yes. 

Senator Bellmon. Except that there is no free lunch available ? 

]\rr. ViLLANTTEVA. They have seven districts, and they had 60 chil- 
dren. Those that wanted free lunch were put to work. They finally 
admitted the free lunch program after the State threatened to rescind 
the local school district's subsidy that they get for their regular school 
lunch program. 

Senator Bellmon. I was trying to understand better educating the 
children of the migrants. You come to Washington from Texas to 
harvest asparagus? 

]Mr. Villanueva. Yes. 

Senator Bellmon. "What month is that ? 

Mr. YrLLANXjEVA. Usually the people come the first of April. Many 
of them come early. 

Senator Bellmon. Do they bring the children at that time ? 

Mr. Villanueva. Yes. 

Senator Bellmon. This means the children have been going to 
school in Texas up until April ? 

Mr. Villanueva. Yes, 50 percent do send their children to school, 
and the other 50 percent do not, because they are only there a month 
or two. 

Senator Bellmon. For those 50 percent who do not send their chil- 
dren to school, do those children then go back to Texas the next fall 
to start school ? 

jMr. Villanueva. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmon. Are they able to make their grades? 

Mr. Villanueva. Many have not, sir. That is one of the reasons our 
family settled down in the State of Washington. At that time my 
younger brother, who is in Vietnam, had gone to several schools. I told 
them I didn't want to go to school any more. I was 17 years old now, 
and it was just too much going to school. 

My kid brother spent 3 years in fourth grade, not because he was 
dumb but because he never got to finish a particular year in a school. 



169 

"We finally settled down so that the children would be able to go to 
school and finish their education. 

Senator Bellmox. If a group of migrants came in to harvest as- 
paragus, would this cause overloading in the local public school? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Uufortunatelv, that is another problem, and since 
you asked me this question, I would like to discuss it. 

The growers, in most cases, do not allow anyone, whether it is from 
the school district or from the employment security or any of the 
community action organizations, to come into the labor camps and ex- 
plain to the farmworkers the opportunities that are available and tn,' 
to offer help whenever they have any problems. 

"We have been thrown out of the camps by the managers of the 
camps, by the supervisors of the corporations and the growers. They 
do not allow anyone to come into the labor camps to explain the serv- 
ices that are available in the connnunity. 

This is why one of the major problems of farmworkers is that they 
do not know where to go when they have problems or what services 
are available. 

Senator Bellmox. So many of the students don't realize, then, that 
they could go to school in the local community ? 
Mr. ViLLAxuEVA. Yes, sir. 

Senator Bellmox. TTliat month do the migrant workers generally 
return to Texas ? 

Mr. Villaxueva. Usually in October. 

Senator Bellmox. And the schools in Texas begin in September, 
and this means the children are a month behind when they start? 
Mr. Villaxueva. Yes. 

Senator Bellmox. Do the children start to school in Washington be- 
fore they return to Texas ? 

Mr. Villaxueva. I would say about 50 percent. Many of them who 
go to school in "Washington are the same ones who will go to school 
when they go back to Texas. 

Senator Bellmox. Then the migrants live in Texas from October to 
April? 

Mr. Villaxueva. Until the last part of ]\Iarch. 

Senator Belkmox. Would you give the committee an estimate of 
what percentage of the children attend school in Texas ? 
Mr. Villaxueva. I can't give an exact percentage, sir. 
Senator Bellmox. Could you make an estimate ? 
Mr. Villaxueva. I could' keep on saying the same 50 percent sir. 
Senator Bellmox. In Texas, is there an effort to bridge the language 
a:ap ? Do vou have bilin2:ual teachers in Texas ? 

" :Mr. Villaxueva. I liaven't been in Texas for the past 12 years, sir. I 
know about the State of Washington because I work on the everyday 
problems of the farmworker who comes to us for help, but I do nor 
know about the State of Texas. 

Senator Bellmox. Do the migrants work in Texas in the winter ? 
'Sir. Villaxueva. Some of them. yes. We used to work picking car- 
rots and onions in the early part of the year, and we used to pick 
cotton. I don't think they need us any more. There are too many ma- 
chines now. 

Senator Bellmox. So the reason, then for going back to Texas is 
partly to find work. Are there other reasons ? 

36-513—70 — pt. 1 12 



170 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. They have their homes there. 

Senator Bellmon. If I might, would it be fair to say that Mexican- 
Americans have a very close family life ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator Bellmon. And this is a time to get back together again. 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. They have relatives back there, and they go back 
so they can stay with the rest of the family. 

Senator Bellmon. One other question. 

I am interested in the type of your organization, the United Farm 
Workers Cooperative. I belong to the farm cooperative, and mostly we 
are concerned with the marketing and buying of supplies that we use. 

Is yours primarily a service cooperative ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. A service cooperative and also a grocery store. In 
a sense, we are a business and social action organization. We are very 
interested in making the business a success, because that is our base, 
that is where we can operate. 

We manage to make enough profit so that we can operate our busi- 
ness. It is privately funded, through $5 shares of the members. 

It is also a grocery store to try to give reduced priced groceries to 
the farmworkers. 

Senator Bellmon. This is only a possibility, but would your orga- 
nization be able to provide educational opportunities for the children 
of the migrants if you had the resources ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Ycs, and we are constantly working and trying to 
improve the OEO programs. We are working for example, on basic 
education programs through the winter months, and we are trying to 
do everything we can. 

Senator Bellmon. Thank you very much. 

Senator Mondale. Would you tell us, how far did you go in school ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. I weut to the sixth grade. 

Senator Mondale. How many schools did you attend in the course 
of those 6 years of education ? 

Mr, ViLLANUEVA. Four schools, sir. 

Senator Mondale. Four schools ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Ycs. 

Let me explain a little bit, so you can understand. 

In Mexico, I went to the sixth grade. I finished my school in Mexico. 
In Texas, I went to school for 2 months. I went and picked tomatoes, 
and they put me in the third grade, and from then I was put in the 
fourth grade, then in Arizona I was put in the fifth grade. 

I went 13 years, and I only stayed for 2 years. But, also, I have gone 
to college. I did not finish high school, but I passed a comprehensive 
test. 

Senator Mondale. Has there been any effort to coordinate your ef- 
forts in Washington with the Farm Workers Organization "in Cali- 
fornia, or the AFL-CIO, or other efforts ? 

:Mr. ViLLANUEVA. No, tliere has been no effort. We do support the 
United Farm Workers Organization Committee, AFI^CIO, and we 
have been helping in the boycott of grapes, but as far as our associa- 
tion, there has not been any effort, and we do not want to do anything 
until the farmworkers themselves say, "We are ready and we want 
to join it." 



171 

Senator Mondale. Do the other migrants find that when they were 
called to, say, harvest asparagus, that there is a tendency to get them 
there a little early, and they sit and wait for the harvesting to begin, 
in part because they want to make certain the workers are there when 
the crop is ready to be harvested, and as a result you might wait several 
days at your own expense ? 

Mr, ViLLANUEVA. Yes, on an average of 2 weeks. 

Senator Mondale. Sometimes you have had to wait 2 weeks? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. Do you sometimes find the State employment 
services go down and encourage people to arrive at a certain time? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. They encourage people to be here by at least the 
first of April, but the harvest does not start until the 12th or 13th of 
April. 

Senator ^Mondale. So they have workers up there, and if they want 
a job, they have to get there by April 1 ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator ]\1ondale. At their own expense ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. The grower will loan them money to come to the 
State. 

Senator Mondale. But they have to repay it ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. And they have to sit down a couple of weeks. 
Why can't a person show up on April 13 ? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. Because they would not be sure whether they 
would be there or not, sir. 

Senator Mondale. So there may not be a job. They have to come 2 
weeks before the crop begins, and before they can start earning 
money ? 

How do they keep themselves alive durmg those 2 weeks? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. We try to help them through the food stamp pro- 
gram, and if they do not have the money, the cooperative tries to help 
them financially with the food stamps. 

Senator Mondale. Are there other crops when workers are asked 
to appear long before the time for harvest? 

Mr. ViLLANUEVA. The others get started when a big influx of 
workers are already there. It used to be his hopes, sir, but that is not 
any longer true. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you very much, Mr. Villanueva, for your 
very fine statement. You have helped the subcommittee explore the 
State of Washington area, which is important, since we have explored 
other areas as part of our effort to understand the scope of this 
problem. 

Our next witness is Elijah Boone, of Pahokee, Fla., and Mr. Lloyd 
from Opa Locka, Fla. 

STATEMENTS OF ELIJAH BOONE, PAHOKEE, FLA., AND NEWLON 
LLOYD, OPA LOCKA, FLA. 

Mr. Elijah Boone, of Pahokee, Fla. 

Mr. Boone. Gentlemen, before I start my statement, I have a com- 
ment that I feel I must make. It is something that has been worrying 
me while I have been here these 2 days, and I feel I must express it. 

Senator Mondale. By all means. 



172 

Mr. Boone. I have noticed yesterday and today that some of these 
witnesses have come as far as 3,000 miles to be here, and that every- 
one who has testified so far has, in all sincerity, been expressing what 
they felt. 

What I want to say is that I question the sincerity of the subcom- 
mittee. I have been here 2 days, and I haven't seen many Senators. 
I have only seen two, and I understand a subcommittee must consist 
of at least seven or eight members, and I wonder if this isn't just 
wasted effort. 

What are w^e to gain by talking to one man ? There have been times 
when you were the only one present, and it doesn't seem like anybody 
is interested in what we are doing. We might as well have stayed at 
home. 

Senator INIondale. Let me point a few things out. 

I have 14 subcommittees that I am a member of. Usually, there 
are two or three meeting at the same time. Yesterday, for example, 
at 11 o'clock, the Senate was in session. There was a bitter floor 
debate going on over there about the Chief Justice of the United 
States, so some of the members were over there, necessarily. 

Some of the Senators have their staff' members here who report 
to them fully on what is going on. Other Senators, for example, 
Senator Williams of New Jersey, who is chairman of the Labor 
Subcommittee — has been chairman of this committee for 8 years, 
and strongly believes in the cause of farmworkers. It is however, 
difficult to understand, and I think your point is well taken with 
respect to some aspects of this problem, but I don't think you can 
conclude from the attendance here that there is a lack of interest. 

In addition, everything you say is in the record, will be reviewed 
very carefully, will be used as the basis for analyzing and developing 
legislation, and I find it veiy, very useful, and I appreciajte your 
comments. 

Mr. BooNE. Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee, 
I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to appear 
before you to relate to you some of the grievances of my people 
through personal experiences suffered by me during my many years 
as a migrant. 

It is my sincere hope that after I am heard, you might be a little 
more enlightened and a little more able, and a little more eager to 
press for more decent migrant legislation. 

All migrant workers, without regard to race or color, are con- 
tinually subjected to illegal discrimination by their employers, land- 
lords, governmental agencies, places of business, and even other 
members of their own races. 

Even the word "migrant" has become a dirty woi-d. It is deplorable 
that we work under tlie most depressing conditions for ridiculous 
wages, but we are, in addition, subjected to this special discrimi- 
nation — adding even greater burdens on the lowly harvesters of this 
Nation's crops. We are dejected and unwanted except at harvest 
time. No one claims us as citizens of his community or members 
of liis society. 

I have been in caravans, riding on the backs of open trucks covered 
with tarpaulin on voyages that took as long as a week to complete, 
and during the whole voyage being denied the use of a bathroom or 



173 

being unable to purchase hot food — maybe because we were black, 
or maybe because we were mifjrants. 

In most communities we cannot reg:ister and vote because of 
residency requirements. We live in the shadow of society. 

Thousands of agricultural workers in Florida labor their entire 
lives in the fields with no hope of promotion, higher wages, or better 
working conditions. Agricultural work is considered to be one of the 
most dangerous kinds of work in the United States, yet this kind of 
work is exempt from the workmen's compensation laws in Florida and 
in most other States. 

In the areas from which I come, there is no such thing as equal 
employment opportunity. Labor camps containing blacks, Mexicans, 
or Puerto Ricans breed only fieldworkers, whereas labor camps con- 
taining Caucasians breed only bosses and foremen. These camps are 
segregated. 

We have always been subjected to unfair trials and fines in the 
courts, especially on the municipal level. Police brutality is an accepted 
part of life. 

There is no pesticide law to assure the laborer of maximum protec- 
tion during its application. During the past year, in this area alone, 
there have been numerous cases involving pesticides that cause death. 
Yet no one seems concerned. 

In the glades area of Florida, the power structure refuses to sell 
land to agTicultural laborers, especially black people, for use as home- 
sites. They wish, by this and other means, to perpetuate the down- 
trodden condition of our people and maintain the present economic 
and power gap in order to insure a captive work force. This is evident 
by the lack of industry in the area. 

Senator Mondale. You live in Pahokee, but as I understand it, this 
is a community where you and many others have lived for generations, 
and few, if any of you, have been permitted to buy land on which to 
build your own homes. Is that correct ? 

Mr. Boone. There is a total of seven homes owned by blacks in the 
city — seven. 

Senator Mondale. Seven ? 

Mr. Boone. Seven. 

Senator Mondale. And yet the blacks have lived there for a number 
of years ? 

Mr. BooNE. They were there practically before the white man. They 
were there back in the thirties, when the land was first opened up. 

Senator Mondale. Proceed. 

Mr. Boone. New industry would be available in our area, but those 
in power will not take advantage of these opportunities because it 
would offer competition to them in the form of higher wages and more 
humane working conditions. They even import foreign labor while 
our people go hungry in the summer and early fall, 

Tlie reason for so much resistance from those in power is obvious. 
In the future when machines will be able to do the jobs that the migrant 
now does and there is no more use for him, no one wants him hanging 
around, being a liability to his society. 

It was pointed out in Immokalee, in a recent hearing that the mi- 
grant is considered a national citizen and has no claim on any par- 
ticular community. This kind of conception prevails throughout the 



174 

South. We are constantly being conspired against, for we have no 
control over our lives. We have no control over the lavrs that govern 
us or the people who make and administer them. 

The prejudices that I have experienced are by no means centralized. 
I, as a migrant, have at one time or another experienced almost indis- 
criminately the same injustices in every State between and including 
Florida and New York. 

In almost every State, highway patrolmen lay in ambush waiting 
for the migrant caravans to prey on them and drain from them what- 
ever small savings they might have in the form of fines. 

It all seems to be a part of a national conspiracy to keep us on the 
lowest level of human existence on this continent. Time and again I 
have searched for a reason for being so intimidated. As yet, I have 
found none. 

In the State of Florida, there are many Federal, State, and local 
programs aimed at helping the migrant, but a great number of these 
programs are "phonies." Others are ineffective. 

Because of the bureaucratic way in which these programs are pre- 
sented, they do not inspire the interest or trust from the migrant 
necessary to help him. The programs do not consider his 
idiosyncrasies. 

Instead they give away a few dollars that are supposed to satisfy 
its recipient, but does nothing to remove us from this vicious cycle 
and help to raise us up to being individuals with self-respect, pride, 
and human dignity. 

Therefore, there is no understanding. More often tlian not. these 
programs do not contain enough flexibility to stay where the migrant 
is, as he moves about over the country, harvesting the crops. So we 
end up with programs consisting of (in most cases) middle-class indi- 
viduals, receiving middle-class salaries to do a job that they either 
cannot or will not do, and we, again, are left without consideration. 

We, the migrants, live in fear, because we have been indoctrinated 
with it. We live in shame, because we are treated as the scum of the 
Nation, And we live in hopelessness for experience has shown us that 
there is no road open to us except back to the field. 

There are approximately 87,000 of us in south Florida. It is now 
time to start northward. I am hopeful that all of this testimony did 
>not fall on deaf ears and that we will be considered in future 
legislation. 

Thank you. 

Senator Mondale. Elijah, we have heard thus far this year on this 
committee mostly Mexican-American migrants. 

Can you tell us a little bit about where Negroes in Florida migrate^ 
and what kind of crops they work in, and how much they earn in a 
year, and so on ? 

Mr. BooxE. Tlie Negro migrant usually travels the eastern sea- 
board, from Florida to New York. He doesn't usually go any further 
north than New York. 

The ones from Florida go up the eastern seaboard, and the ones 
from Mississippi and Louisiana go up in the middle States. 

Senator Mondale. What sort of crops do you harvest ? 

Mr. BooNE. In Florida, we harvest almost e^'ery field croi^ imagi- 
nable, from potatoes, beans, corn, and all the leafy vegetables, ex- 



175 

eluding, possibly, sugarcane, because they import the people for 
sugar har^^est. 

Senator Mondale. You have flowers down there, too, don't you ? 

Mr. BooNE. Yes, flowers — almost anything imaginable. Tomatoes, 
any field vegetable. 

Senator Mondale. Then you go North. What do you harvest in the 
North? 

Mr. Boone. If you go by area, the chief crop is celery, sweet corn, 
and the leafy vegetables — cabbage and escarole. 

When the sweet corn crop is harvested in south Florida, they go to 
central Florida. From there they go to North Carolina and South 
Carolina. 

Senator Mondale. What do you harvest there ? 

Mr. Bo<3NE. They have sweet corn in North Carolina, but the crops 
are mainly tomatoes and potatoes. 

They hav^e cherries, too. 

Senator Mondale. Perhaps we can hear from Mr. Lloyd and ques- 
tion them together. 

Mr. Lloyd. My name is Newlon Lloyd. I am a former crew leader. 

I am grateful for this privilege to address this body. I would like 
to take a few minutes to tell tlie subcommittee, as best I can, how the 
world looks from where the migrant worker stands or, as is more 
often the case, from where he stoops. 

First, migrant workers in Florida belong to one of three minority 
groups — there are the Negro, the Mexican-American, and the Puerto 
B leans. Because our society has not yet accepted a person born into 
these groups as full fledged members of the human race, they consider 
themselves outcasts from society — members of a lower order to which 
much is denied and little given. 

Years of living in such an environment has conditioned many 
workers to accept their station in life in a slave-like fashion. They be- 
lieve that life will not change for them or their children and that the 
best course to follow is the one that makes the least number of waves. 

We are told there is a shortage of farmworkers in America. T^Hiat 
we have not been told are the reasons. The fact is that conditions under 
which too many of them must work are a disgrace. This has been 
brought to focus during the many years I have worked on the farm. 

I have found widespread evidence of exploitation, I also found 
some rare examples where the farmers and crew bosses were fol- 
lowing the law. I also found laborers too often worked for what 
crew bosses and farmers chose to pay them. 

There were no minimum wages, no concern for safety, little evidence 
of decent housing for migrants and their families who are brought 
here from distant places. Being close to the situation, I believe there 
are enough laws but not enough enforcement. 

In spite of the effort of social and church-related agencies, too 
many workers still are not informed of their rights and are easy 
exploitation prey by unscrupulous bosses. 

The time is long overdue for responsible citizens and agencies 
to demand strict enforcement of the law. 

Do the migrant workers provide the food for our Nation's tables? 
Yes — despite his vital role in putting food on the Nation's tables, he 
is hard put to provide for himself. Why ? 



176 

Migrant workers are caught in a circle of exploitation. The system 
which he labors under is outdated. Therefore, it works against him. 
I can best illustrate this system by telling you how it works. 

First, I want to go into the waste of labor through poor scheduling. 
One. Crews are often rushed to the fields only to wait for periods up 
to 4 hours for the crops to dry. 

Two. xV small field, assigned to a crew, which can be completed when 
the day is half over causes workers to often refuse to move to an- 
other field. 

Three. Long distances between fields when a move is necessary 
during the day frequently discourages workers who are only paid 
for what they pick. 

Four. In some cases fields have to be prepared before workei^ can 
begin picking. If such work is not performed in advance and the 
crew must wait until it is done, they lose more time. 
Waste through poor planning: 

One. Because of failure of lunch wagons to appear, workers either 
have to work on empty stomachs or make trips to small food stores 
to buy food at extremely high prices. 

Tm^o. The failure to i)rovide boxes on occasion means that the crop is 
stacked on the ground. Later workers have to load the crop necessitat- 
ing a second, and unpaid, operation. 

Senator Mondale. Is this often true, that they are unpaid for the 
later repacking? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes, unpaid. 

Senator Mondale. When I was in California, I spoke to farm- 
workers who complain that they pick table grapes, and after the 
day's work is over, they spend 2 or 3 hours a night repacking, at their 
own expense. 

Mr. Lloyd. This is the case. 

Three. The nonappearance of the weighing truck means that the 
crew has to remain after the field has been picked until the crops 
can be weighed. 

Waste through poor equipment : 
One. Buses unable to start. 

Two. Buses break down en route to or returning from the fields. 
Three. Breakdown in packinghouse equipment. 

The burden of labor waste is placed directly upon the migrant, for 
the time wasted is time which he is not reimbursed. 

Most of this labor waste should be blamed on the farmer himself. 
Next, Mr. Chairman, I would like to go into the recruitment situ- 
ation, exploitation in the recruitment system. 

During the fall of the year representatives of northern growers 
tour the South, particularly Florida, to contact crew leaders for the 
next summer's harvest. This system of labor recruitment enables the 
crew leader to exploit the farmworkers under him in the following 
ways: 

One. Once aboard the crew leader's bus the farmworkers are at his 
mercy. The trip north usually takes about 5 days. 

Two. The crew leader loans money to his crew at the rate of 25 per- 
cent interest. 

Three. The farmworkers are dependent upon crew leaders for meals, 
lodging, and even liquor, cigarettes, and soda water at a cost that you 



177 

and I would refuse to pay. All liquor and wine sold in outlying labor 
camps by crew- leaders is sometimes double the store price. 

Four. Costs charged to farmworkers for meals and lodging are 
excessive. 

Five. A good deal of the money earned by farmworkers ends up in 
the crew leader's pocket — all deducted from his wages. It is not un- 
common for a farmworker to return to Florida having nothino; to 
show for a summer's work. 

Six. Social security taxes are always withheld even though not 
reported to the Social Security Administration and in some cases the 
crew leader never asks for the farmworker's social security number. 
One man worked for 40 years as a farmworker and when farmworkers 
were covered, his earnings were taxed. 

Yet at his death in 1968, his widow was told that he had not ac- 
cumulated enough quarters' credits. 

In another case, a crew leader shot a farmworker when he was 
asked why the social secuirty tax was withheld but the farmworker's 
social security number had not been obtained. Our social security sys- 
tem of reporting works only when the actual employer is responsible 
for this. 

The eastern seaboard migrant stream needs at least 25 inspectors 
instead of the one who will be working this summer. Crew leaders 
have altered names, numbers, and wages earned in order to keep the 
social security taxes withheld. 

Senator Mondale. What they are doing, then, is telling the worker 
that they are withholding social security payments, but they are j>()ck- 
eting that mojiey. 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. And the employee can no longer establish his 
eligibility, and the crew leader just takes that home with him. 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. Am I not right that occasionally the crew leader 
will take out more than the law will permit even if he were withhold- 
ing for social security ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Very much, sir. 

Mr. BooNE. I would like to clarify something on that before you 
go on. 

You are blaming a crew leader for the work of the contractor. A 
crew leader cannot deduct social security. He has to be a contractor. A 
crew leader is paid to deliver a certain number of people for a price. 
He gets a salary. 

The contractor is the one who takes the mone}^ I wanted to make 
that distinction. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you. 

Mr. Lloyd. Seven. Crew leaders and northern growers often contrive 
to get farmworkers out of the South and to the northern area weeks 
before the crops are ready for harvest to insure a full crew for the crew 
leader and the grower. 

Eight. Crew leaders and farmworkers live under a double standard 
of justice: One standard for the crew leader, another for the farm- 
worker. 

For example, last year in Xew Yorl^: State a farmworker was given 
10 days in jail for supposedly raping a farmworker girl. 



178 

Mr. Chairman, I would like to add here that this young man was 
tried the same night he was supposed to have raped the girl. They 
chiimed it happened about 12 o'clock that night, and at 2 o'clock that 
morning lie was taken before the judge, Judge Wells, and tried and 
convicted without a lawyer or any jury system at all, and given 10 days 
in jail. 

Senator Mono ale. Ten years ? 
Senator Saxbe. Ten days. 

Mr. Lloyd. A crew leader in Immokalee was asked to serve only 2 
months in jail a year for killing his wife because he was too valuable 
as a labor recruiter for the growers. 

Crew leaders are ignoring the Crew Leader Registration Act by leav- 
ing the Southern States in station wagons and private cars rather than 
labor buses. Thus, they claim to be units too small to be covered 
b}^ the provisions of the act, while actually controlled by a single crew 
leader. 

Therefore, we suggest a more orderly recruitment system be de- 
vised by the Labor Department, working with State employment 
service offices in which every grower, employer and user of farm labor 
must register his needs and his use of farmworkers. A uniform labor 
contract could be devised which would assure every farmworker of 
proper housing, safe working conditions, adequate wages and in- 
surance coverage. 

Thus, State employment service offices could become the chief re- 
cruiters of farm labor with a uniform contract benefiting all parties 
involved. This would eliminate the need for bad crew leaders. This 
would also result in a more efficient use of farmworkers and a more 
stable farm labor force. 

Health conditions among farmworkers are deplorable. Syphilis, 
TB, and other communicable diseases are common in farm labor camps 
from Florida to California. 

The present Federal Migrant Health Act which leaves initiation of 
the health service in the hands of local or State health units results 
in good health services in some States but poor health services in 
other States. 

I would suggest that farm labor health services be administered by 
a Federal agency such as the T"''.S. Public Health Service. With port- 
able clinics and utilization of local hospitals, farmworkers could be 
examined, treated, and issued a national health card vearly. Such an 
approach could make a real inroad into the health problems of the 
farmworkers for little more than what is now being granted to State 
and local health units. 

Growers again this year have convinced the U.S. Department of 
Labor that a shortage of domestic farmworkers exists and thus off- 
shore workers are needed. We see very little real evidence of such a 
shortage but rather that the introduction of offshore workers has 
crently hampered the domestic workers and in some cases has resulted 
i"n foreijm workers displacing U.S. workers in the labor camps and 
flplric of this country. 

Wi*h the foreiirn workers' arrival, harvesting prices for U.S. labor 
dronned. As a stable supply of labor was introduced, employers re- 
fused to negotiate prices to be paid to U.S. laborers. 



179 

In the citrus oroves of Florida, the price to be paid for picking 
fruit was about 35 cents per box. As the season progressed, the trees 
and the fruit make it more difficult to earn a decent wage. 

The U.S. laborers expected the price per box to increase but foreign 
workers coming in at a guaranteed price of 35 cents per box meant 
that the price stayed at the 35-cent level or even dropped for our own 
workers. 

We do not believe that foreign workers were needed or justified. 
Companies meeting the qualification of the U.S. Department of Labor 
did not exhaust the available U.S. labor market. 

We suggest that more restrictive qualifications be imposed upon 
companies requesting foreign workers. I was assured by an employee 
of the Florida Employment Service that U.S. workers could handle 
the citrus crop this year, yet he admitted that many Florida companies 
were busy getting themselves qualified by the U.S. Department of 
Labor to use foreign workers. 

It was admitted by a foreign worker to me that when they arrived 
at the labor camp in Florida, U.S. laborers were evicted from the camp 
to make room for the foreign workers. 

As I speak, many of my brothers and sisters in Florida are sitting 
on street corners and front porches all across central Florida, dis- 
placed by foreign workers they do not know, victims of a cruel profit- 
motive system they do not understand and being powerless to change 
things, they sit and wait. 

Of course, we support the inclusion of farmworkers under the 
NRLA, but this is only the beginning of what is so desperately needed. 
Farmworkers must some day be assured of the rights of all other ele- 
ments of our country's labor force including unemployment insurance, 
workmen's compensation, and minimum wage and hour laws and espe- 
cially the protection from being cruelly displaced by the importation 
of foreign workers. 

Thank you. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you very much for your excellent testi- 
mony. We will print your entire statement in the record at this point. 

(The prepared statement of Mr. Lloyd follows :) 

Prepaeed Statement of Newlon Lloyd, Opa-Lacka, Fla. 

I am grateful for this privilege to address this body. I would like to take a 
few minutes to tell the Subcommittee, as best I can, how the world looks from 
where the migrant worker stands or. as is more often the case, from where he 
stoops. First, migrant workers in Florida belong to one of three minority groups — 
there are the Negro, the Mexican-American and the Puerto Ricans. Because our 
society has not yet accepted a person born into these groups as full fledged mem- 
bers of the human race, they consider themselves outcasts from society — mem- 
bers of a lower order to which much is denied and little given. 

Tears of living in such an environment has conditioned many workers to 
accept their station in life in a slave like fashion. They believe that life will 
not change for them or their children and that the best course to follow is the 
one that makes the least number of waves. 

We are told there is a shortage of farm workers in America. What we have 
not been told are the reasons. The fact is that conditions under which too many 
of them must work are a disgrace. This has been brought to focus during the many 
years I have worked on the farm. 

I have found widespread evidence of exploitation, I also found some rare ex- 
amples where the farmers and crew bosses were following the law. I also found 
laborers too often worked for what crew bosses and farmers chose to pay them. 
There were no minimum wages, no concern for safety, little evidence of decent 



180 

housing for migrants and their families who are brought here from distant 1 
places. Being close to the situation, I believe there are enough laws but not 
enough enforcement. In spite of the effort of Social and church related agencies, 
too many workers still are not informed of their rights and are easy exploitation 
prey by unscrupulous bosses. 

The time is long overdue for responsible citizens and agencies to demand strict 
enforcement of the law. 

Do the migrant workers provide the food for our nation's tables? Yes — de- 
spite his vital roll in putting food on the nation's tables, he is hard put to pro- 
vide for himself. WHY? Migrant workers are caught in a circle of exploitation. 
The system which he labors under is out dated. Therefore, it works against him. 
I can best illustrate this system by telling you how it works. 

WASTE THROUGH SCHEDULING 

1. Crews are often rushed to the fields only to wait for periods up to two hours 
for the crops to dry. 

2. A small field, assigned to a crew, which can be completed when the day is 
half over causes workers to often refuse to move to another field. 

3. Long distances between fields when a move is necessary during the day fre- 
quently discourages workers who are only paid for what they pick. 

4. In some cases fields have to be prepared before workers can begin picking. 
If such work is not performed in advance and the crew must wait until it is 
done, they lose more time. 

WASTE THROUGH POOR PLANNING 

1. Because of failure of lunch wagons to appear, workers either have to work 
on empty stomachs or make trips to small food stores to buy food at extremely 
high prices. 

2. The failure to provide boxes on occasion means that the crop is stacked on 
the ground. Later workers have to load the crop necessitating a second (and un- 
paid) operation. 

3. The non-appearance of the weighing truck means that the crew has to re- 
main after the field has been picked until the crops can be weighed. 

WASTE THROUGH POOR EQUIPMENT 

1. Buses unable to start. 

2. Buses breakdown on route to or returning from the fields. 

3. Breakdown in packinghouse equipment. 

The burden of labor waste is placed directly upon the migrant, for the time 
wasted is time for which he is not reimbursed. 

Most of this labor waste should be blamed on the farmer himself. 

EXPLOITATION IN THE RECRLTITING SYSTFl'M 

During the fall of the year representatives of northern growers tour the south, 
particularly Florida, to contact crew leaders for the next summer's harvest. This 
system of labor recruitment enables the crew leader to exploit the farm workers 
under him in the following ways : 

1. Once aboard the crew leaders bus the farm workers are at his mercy. The 
trip north usually takes about 5 days. 

2. The crew leaders loan money to his crew at the rate of 25% interest. 

3. The farm w^orkers are dependent upon crew leaders for meals, lodging and 
even liquor, cigarettes and soda water at a cost that you and I would refuse to 
pay. All liquor and wine sold in out-lying labor camps by crew leaders i.s some- 
times double the store price. 

4. Costs charged to farm workers for meals and lodging are excessive. 

5. A good deal of the money earned by farm workers ends up in the crew 
leaders' pocket — all deducted from his wages. It's not uncommon for a farm 
worker to return to Florida having nothing to show for a summer's work. 

6. Social Security taxes are always withheld even though not reported to the 
Social Security Administration and in some cases the crew leader never asks for 
the farm worker's social security number. One man worked for forty years as a 
farm worker and when farm workers were covered, his earnings were taxed. 
Yet at his death in 1968, his widow was told that he had not accumulated enough 



181 

quarters' credits. In another case, a crew leader shot a farm worker when he was 
asked why the social security tax was withheld but the farm worker's social 
security number had not been obtained. Our social security system of reporting 
works only when employers are responsible. The Eastern Seaboard Migrant 
stream needs at least twenty-five inspectors instead of the one who will be work- 
ing this summer. Crew leaders have altered names, numbers and wages earned 
in order to keep the social security taxes withheld. 

7. Crew leaders and northern growers often contrive to get farm workers out 
of the south and to the northern area weeks before the crops are ready for har- 
vest to insure a full crew for the crew leader and the grower. 

8. Crew leaders and farm workers live under a double standard of justice: 
one standard for the crew leader, another for the farm worker. For example, last 
year in New York state a farm worker was given 10 years in jail for supposedly 
raping a farm worker girl, while a crew leader in Immokalee was asked to serve 
only two months in jail for killing his wife because he was too valuable as a 
labor recruiter for the growers. 

Crew leaders are ignoring the Crew Leader Registration Act by leaving the 
.southern states in station wagons and private cars rather than labor buses. Thus 
they claim to be units too small to be covered by the Provisions of the Act, while 
actually controlled by a single crew leader. 

Therefore, we suggest a more orderly recruitment system be devised by the 
Labor Department, working with State Employment Service Ofiicers in which 
every grower, employer and user of farm labor must register his needs and his 
use of farm workers. A uniform labor contract could be devised which would 
assure every farm worker of proper housing, safe working conditions, adequate 
wages and insurance coverage. Thus State Employment Service Ofiices could 
become the chief recruiters of farm labor with a uniform contract benefiting all 
parties involved. This would eliminate the need for bad crew leaders. This 
would also result in a more efiicient use of farm workers and a more stable farm 
labor force. 

Health conditions among farm workers are deplorable. Syphilis. T.B. and other 
communicable diseases are common in farm labor camps from Florida to Califor- 
nia. The present Federal Migrant Health Act which leaves initiation of the 
health service in the hands of local or State health units results in good health 
services in some states but poor health services in other states. I would suggest 
that farm labor health services be administered by a federal agency such as the 
U.S. Public Health Service. With portable clinics and utilization of local hos- 
pitals, farm workers could be examined, treated and issued a national health 
card yearly. Such an approach could make a real inroad into the health prob- 
lems of the farm workers for little more than what is now being granted to state 
and local health units. 

Growers again this year have convinced the U.S. Dept. of Labor that a short- 
age of domestic farm workers exists and thus off-shore workers are needed. We 
see very little real evidence of such a shortage but rather that the introduction 
of off-shore workers has greatly hampered the domestic workers and in some 
cases has resulted in foreign workers displacing U.S. workers in the labor camps 
and fields of this country. With the foreign workers' arrival, harvesting prices 
for U.S. labor dropped. As a stable supply of labor was introduced, employers 
refused to negotiate prices to be paid to U.S. laborers. In the citrus groves of 
Florida, the price to be paid for picking fruit was about .35 cents per box. As the 
season progressed, the trees and fruit make it more difficult to earn a decent 
wage. The U.S. laborers expected the price per box to increase but foreign 
workers coming in at a guaranteed price of 3.5 cents per box meant that the 
price stayed at the 35 cent level or even dropped for our own workers. 

We do not believe that foreign workers were needed or justified. Companies 
meeting the qualification of the U.S. Dept. of Labor did not exhaust the available 
U.S. labor market. We suggest that more restrictive qualifications be imposed 
upon companies requesting foreign workers. I was assured by an employee of 
the Florida Employment Service that U.S. workers could handle the citrus crop 
this year, yet he admitted that many Florida companies were busy getting them- 
selves qualified by the U.S. Dept. of Labor to use foreign workers. It was 
admitted by a foreign worker to me that when they arrived at the labor camp 
in Florida, U.S. laborers were evicted from the camp to make room for the 
foreign workers. As I speak, many of my brothers and sisters in Florida are 
sitting on street corners and front porches all across central Florida, displaced 



182 

by foreign workers they do not know, victims of a cruel profit-motive system 
they do not understand and being powerless to change things, they sit and wait. 
Of course we support the inclusion of farm workers under the N.L.R.A., but 
this is only the beginning of what is so desperately needed. Farm workers must 
some day be assured of the rights of all other elements of our country's labor 
force including Unemployment Insurance, Workmen's Compensation and Mini- 
mum Wage and Hour laws and especially the protection from being cruelly 
displaced by the importation of foreign workers. 

Senator Mondale. Senator Saxbe do you have any questions? 

Senator Saxbe. No questions. 

Senator Mondale. Senator Cranston ? 

Senator Cranston. I would just like to express my thanks to you 
and others who have testified giving the picture that you are giving 
of the plight of farmworkers in the United States. I am sorry that I 
could not be here yesterday or all of today, but I have asked raj staff 
to follow these hearings very carefully, because the sort of a picture 
that you are painting, all the problems that the farmworkers have in 
the United States are important not only in my State of California, 
but in Florida and in every State. 

I am deeply sympathetic, and I will be doing all that I can to help 
solve those problems. 

Senator Mondale, Senator Hughes ? 

Senator Hughes. No questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Senator Mondale. I am going to have a series of questions, and you 
can answer them singly or together, or however you wish to proceed. 

How about discrimination in employment that exists in the area? 

Do you find that there are some jobs in the farmworker fields that 
are prohibited as a practical matter from black employment ? 

We found in California, before the union got strong, a black or a 
Mexican-American was never able to drive trucks or handle tractors 
and so on. He had to stay in certain kinds of employment. 

Would you care to respond to that? 

Mr, Lloyd. Yes, Mr. Chairman. 

The operation of citrus is handled by Negroes, picking from the 
tree, and bringing it all the way to the truck. Once it is dumped on 
the truck on the way to the packing house, it is handled by whites, 
all the way to the consumers. 

Senator Mondale. Do you have black truckdrivers? 

Mr. Lloyd. No ; not in citrus. It is lily-white from the roadside on. 
The black man only picks it and loads it on the truck. 

Senator Mondale. Is that still true today? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes; very much in citrus. We probably have a different 
situation where Mr. Boone is from. 

Mr. Boone. We have approximately 10 sugar mills operating, and 
the higliest job that the black man can get is driving a truck, and 
this is an actual fact. 

At a certain mill, a fellow went to work, and he asked a foreman, 
"How long will it be before I can work myself up to driving a pick- 
up truck?" 

He was told "As long as you work here, you will never drive one." 

He can drive a tractor, or cut the cane, or do all the dusty work. 



183 

One mill used to have all black truckdrivers to haul the cane to the 
mill. Now, there are about 30-percent black and the rest are white. 
I think next year there won't be that many. They want the black 
man out in the field. They want him to inhale the dust. 

As soon as the mills close, 95 percent or more of the crew that is 
left to run the mill is white. All the black labor is laid off immediately 
after the grinding season is over. No year-round jobs for the black 
men. 

Senator Mondale. What about farm labor camps, and the housing 
in those camps? Is there any segregation practiced there, or any 
preference in terms of choice and quality housing and so on? 

Mr. BooNE. In my area, there are not as many camps as on the 
east coast of Florida. But in the camps that are there, those that have 
white laborers are completely white, and those that liave black labor 
might be intermingled with Puerto Ricans, but they don't live in 
the same area, even if the camps belong to the same man. 

Senator Mondale. What would you say about the housing provided 
for the farmworker? 

Mr. BooNE. It is deplorable. In the glades area — well, I can give 
you a specific example. 

The Government built some housing in this area for emergency 
use back in 1942, and these same houses hold possibly more than 
one-third of the town's population, even though they have been 
condemned for about 8 years. 

^ The housing authority took over this from the Government a long 
time ago, about 1947, and since that time they have not even put a 
coat of paint on the houses. They haven't done anything to them. 

People are living there because there is no other place in the town 
to stay. 

They have to live in condemned shacks. 
Senator Mondale. Is that situation getting any better? 
Mr. Boone. It is exactly the same as it was 20 years ago. 
Senator Mondale. Except that the house is older. 
Mr. Boone. Some of the people even buy their own paint and try 
to fix them up, so that they will at least be presentable. 
The housing authority is supposed to be nonprofit. 
Senator Mondale. When I was in Immokalee, I was surprised at 
the filth and the sanitation levels, things which the tenant can't fix. 
You have to have plumbers to come in and fix it. 

What about the sanitation conditions in this housing ? 
Mr. Boone. You wouldn't believe it. You have to see it. 
You actually wouldn't believe it. There is no sense in my telling you. 
Senator Mondale. I saw it. I don't want to go back. 
Mr. Boone. You didn't see the worst. 

Senator Mondale. I had to get out of where I was. I couldn't stand 
it. 

Mr. Lloyd, talking about the question of the adequacy of the do- 
mestic farm work force : I believe this year, again, after a few years 
absence, they are bringing in foreign citrus workers. 
Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. The local workers were asked to leave the hous- 
ing and their jobs would be taken by foreign citrus workers, I assume 
from the British West Indies ? 



184 

Mr. Llotd. Yes. 

Senator Mondale. Do you know how many they are bringing in ? 

Mr. Llotd. 2,000. 

Senator Mondale. Of course, their argument is that there isn't 
enough domestic help to do the job. What would you say about that? 

Mr. Lloyd. I am quite sure there are enough domestic workers to 
do the job. Actually, citrus growers in Florida have a way of holding 
the price back. 

T\Tien their fruit gets better, and they expect higher prices in the 
summertime, instead of paying higher prices, the growers hold back, 
and the workers hold out for a bigger price. 

Once the workers start holding off for a bigger price, the growers 
then start bringing in the offshore workers, so it is necessary that the 
workers hold out for a higher price, because there is a real difficulty 
in earning decent wages when the fruit is bad and the trees are bad. 

They are not able to work as long hours in the summertime as in 
the wintertime. 

This outdoor sweatshop you work in is very hot, and a man can 
only go at least, I would estimate, about 6 hours good time, and you 
get tired. 

Senator Mondale. Because of the heat. 

JNIr. Lloyd. Because of the heat. 

Senator Mondale. T\n^iat is the introduction of this foreign labor 
going to do to the wages of the workers who have traditionally worked 
in the citrus fields as U.S. citizens ? 

]\Ir. Lloyd. This will mean that many workers have to sit back 
and wait for a change, or even try to travel north much earlier than 
they should. Right now, a lot of workers are already starting to move 
north, not because the crop is ready in the North, but because their 
jobs have been taken away from them in Florida, and they have no 
other choice but to move north. 

Senator Mondale. That is a big argument that we have all the time, 
"We don't have enough help, so we have to bring them m." 

Mr. BooNE. I would like to make a comment on that. There are two 
or three reasons why you don't have enough help. 

First, people can't sit in one spot for 9 or 10 months waiting for a job 
that is going to last a month, or a month and a half or 2 months, so 
no matter how much work you are going to have next month, you have 
to eat somewhere this month. So you go someplace and try to find some 
work and not sit here and wait until your crop gets ready. 

Second, we talk about not having the proper labor force. We might 
not have it in the immediate area, but what does the industrial com- 
mission do about recruiting people from other States? Wliy do they 
have to go overseas? Why don't they get people from Alabama who 
are starving, people from Georgia, and people from Mississippi. 

Senator Mondale, They might be able to find it elsewhere in 
Florida ? 

Mr. Boone. That is right. 

One thing they do not do, and I know from experience that they 
don't, is to advertise jobs. There was a survey taken which showed 
that the industrial commission deliberately did not advertise jobs that 
were available in the sugarcane, so that they could say there were 
no jobs available. 



185 

We went down to ask if the jobs were available, if they had been 
advertised. We went to the radio media and the newspapers and 
asked, because we knew the jobs were available. 

Senator Mondale. Have either of you been involved in efforts to 
organize the farmworkers and try to bargain for better wages or 
working conditions or job security or the rest'? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes; we had the begnming of an organization in Florida 
in 1967. 

Senator Mondale. What happened? 

Mr. Lloyd. Really, I believe Florida didn't give sufficient time. We 
had a good organization. Part of this organization is still alive. 

I can testify that it is pretty lively in Tampa. I hope to see them 
start up again pretty soon. I hope they will. 

Senator Mondale. But at this point, they haven't had any success 
in improvements? 

Mr. Lloyd. No. 

Senator JNIondale. Why were the BWI's being brought in to the 
United States instead of soliciting help in Alabama, Georgia, and 
otlier areas of Florida where there might be unemployment? 

Mr. Boone. Because of the contract system they use. 

In my town, one man supplies all the labor used in the labor camps. 
Eacli man gets something out of it. One might be in charge of all the 
food they consume. When they come, they come with a contract, a 
l)asic wage that they cannot change, whereas we as individuals can 
bai'g-iin for higher wages. 

They cannot. 

They have to accept whatever is on that contract. I have known 
Jamaicans to work a month and draw something like $5 or $6, be- 
cause they have to deduct for their food and their lodgings. The con- 
tractors are in charge of the whole thing, and it is a profitmaking 
thing. 

The workers don't eat anything but rice, beans, and maybe a little 
meat or something. Every day it is the same thing. The contractors 
don't feed them anything, and charge them weekly. 

Senator Mondale. So they find it far less expensive Avith a con- 
trolled labor force. 

Mr. BooNE. Right. 

To discourage the native from doing this work, they put a Jamaican 
worker in the midst of the natives and tell him to set a very fast pace so 
that the others will be discouraged. 

I know at least five or six women last year who had to go to the 
hospital from working in the cane fields. 

Senator Mondale. In other words, they will work B"WI's and local 
he!]:) alongside each other, and the women can't keep up. I have been 
told it isthe hardest work there is. I have been told it is hot and 
muggy. 

Mr. Boone. It is hot and dirty. Stick cane gets on your clothes. 

"Sir. Lloyd. The Jamaicans come under a slavery-type contract. I 
have a couple of copies of the contract over here. These people are 
given 1 day off a week, and the grower decides which day this will be. 
They work 8 hours a day, and if they slow down in the grove, they 
are told, "We will send you back home." This is the sort of slave labor 
brought over here from the West Indies. 

36-5ia— 70^t. 1 13 



186 

I would like to add that the Jamaicans are getting wise to this, and. 
are ready to rebel against it. 

I had an opportunity to talk to more than 250 Jamaicans last week,. 
and they are really angry about it. They are saying, "If we can't come 
over during the first start of the season, why bring us over here to 
crop the bad fruit?" 

They realize they are being used, and I am quite sure in the near- 
future this, also, will change. 

Senator Moxdale. Any time my colleagues wish to ask a question, 
please do. 

You are a former crew leader, right ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Senator ]Moxdalf,. We saw a film here yesterday telling about a crew 
that was headed by a crew leader in Arkansas, black workers, and they 
then went to Suffolk County in New York. 

If the film is accurate, the crew leader was central to the exploita- 
tion. He promised good pay, and he provided the transportation and 
the food, and he kept the books and he made all the deductions, and 
when it was all done, the workers were still in debt several months 
later, and the one man that seemed to be doing very well was the crew 
leader. 

]\Ir. Lloyd. Right. 

Senator Mondale. You are a former crew leader. 

Maybe you can tell us about it. 

Mr. Lloyd. I didn't have an opportunity to see the film yesterday,, 
but from what you say, I am sure it is very, very true. This is how it 
operates. 

Once a crew is recruited from the South to New York, about 80 per- 
cent of the money the workers make goes into the crew leader's pocket. 

Senator Moxdale. How much can a crew leader make a j^ear? 

Mr. Lloyd. We have seen crew leaders make as high as $20,000 a- 
year. That is the highest I have known. They have an overhead in- 
vestment, and the only way for them to really stay ahead of the grower- 
is to exploit the people. 

Senator ]\Iondale. We passed a Crew Leader Registration Act here 
a few years ago that was supposed to take care of that. I gather from 
your testimony that there are easy ways to avoid that legislation. 

]Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Senator ]Mondale. It is your impression that in fact the Crew Leader- 
Registration Act hasn't made much difference ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Not much difference. There was one thing about it, ac- 
tually, that is not enforced. The agency that is in charge of enforcing- 
the Crew Leader Act is actually the power structure, and it works more 
in favor of the growers than it does for the minority goups. 

I talked with a worker in the employment service, and he actually 
admitted that he had known of guys coming in and asking for crew- 
leaders license. He would turn them down, and later the boss, the white 
grower, would bring them back and would say, "Old John here is a 
good man, and go ahead and give him a crew leader's license," and' 
that is it. 

This is true of many of the laws that have been passed for migrant 
workers. 



187 

I would like to add that the migrant workers go into the smaller 
communities along the eastern seaboard. These camps are situated way 
out, maybe 6 or 8 miles from the closest town. 

In these small areas, the law is actually controlled by the grower. 
The grower could very well be the mayor of the small town, or have 
influence on this small city council or whatever it is. The crew leader 
reports to him on the migrant workers, so they get the worst of the 
deal. 

Senator Mondale. That gives the crew leader a chance to make a 
profit, because workers are in a remote area. If they want food, liquor, 
cigarettes, or anything, they don't have their own transportation, and 
they have to buy it through him and he can make a big profit off that. 

Mr. Lloyd. That is right. 

Most of the camps, as I say, are situated 6 or 8 miles from town, 
and the crew leader goes into town on the weekend and loads up on 
liquor and stuff. 

Most camps have only one way out, and are surrounded by high 
barbed-wire fence. I have known of two camps, one in New York and 
one in Florida, M-here the manager of the camp had his office right in 
front of the gate. He has a gun on him at all times, and if you are not 
a resident of the camp, you must register when you go in. 

Senator Mondale. Register with him ? 

Mr. Llotd. You have to register yourself. You have to tell him you 
are so-and-so, and you want to see so-and-so in the camp, and he will 
probably let you pass. 

If he doesn't believe you, he won't let you pass at all. 

I have a statement here saying that a news reporter was kicked out 
of a camp in New York last year and thrown in jail because he refused 
to leave the camp at the manager's request. 

Senator Mondale. Senator Cranston ? 

Senator Cranston. I would like to ask about one aspect of this 
general situation. 

What is happening to the children of migrant laborers, where are 
they, and what sort of educational opportunities do they get ? 

Mr. Lloyd. I would say in New York last summer, the children had 
the opportunity to go to day care centers and to school when tlie schools 
opened in New York. 

Migrant children, I would say, have better educational opportuni- 
ties now than they had 5 years ago. 

Senator Cranston. When the workers are traveling on the buses, 
where are the wives and children ? 

Mr. Lloyd. They ride along on the buses. The trip will take them 
about 5 days north, and when it is time to sleep, they pull over to the 
side of the road. Some sleep on the bus, and some sleep on the side of 
the road. 

Senator Mondale. So all of the conditions you speak of for the male 
workers apply to their wives and children ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Mr. BooNE. I would like to make a comment. 

There seems to be a general conception that the migrant labor 
forces consist of single men, but that is not the case at all. These peo- 
ple are just as domestic as an5^body else. They have their families and 



188 

ohildren and they are with them all the time. Any of the conditions 
the men face, the women and children face too. 

Senator Cranston. How many of the women and children work, 
too? 

Mr. Boone. The women work, too. 

Usually the larger children are left to care for the smaller children, 
who are not big enough to go out in the field themselves to help. 

Senator Cranston. At what age level do they go out in the field? 

Mr. Boone. That depends on the crop. If it is something like beans, 
something that requires the use of their hands, and is not strenuous — — 

Senator Cranston. At what age do they go out ? 

Mr. BooNE. I would say 5 or 6 years of age. I was putting beans in a 
box when I was about two. My mother pushed me up and down the 
row. 

Senator Mondale. I visited a school, and I was told that some of 
the children, 2 or 3 years old, work under the cherry trees seeking 
fruit that is hanging down. 

Senator Cranston. What do the 5-year-olds get paid? 

Mr. Boone. They get so much a basket, something of that nature. 

You never see a truant officer. The weekend labor forces consists of 
children. The grownups are too tired Saturday and Sunday to go. 
They have to rest so they can go back Monday. 

Senator Mondale. The kids work on the weekend ? 

Mr. Boone. That is right. 

Senator Cranston. Hoav much time are they away from Florida 
traveling? 

Mr. BooNE. Most of them in my area are away from Florida from 
3 to 4 montlis. They are there for 8 or 9 months. 

Senator Cranston. Which months of the year are those? 

Mr. Boone. When they are away? They leave the last of May and 
the first of June. 

Senator Cranston. So those in school would leave before they com- 
plete their school year. 

Mr. Boone. Right. 

Senator Cranston. How do they complete their education? 

Mr. Boone. That is what keeps the children in the stream. 

Senator Cranston. Keep tliem wliat ? 

Mr. Boone. That is what keeps them migrants. If they got the edu- 
cation other children get, they could get jobs and get out of the 
migrant stream. 

But since they are always the least educated and the least informed, 
they are more ignorant than anyone else. 

Senator Cranson. So their schooling is broken up in May before 
they have completed the school year. 

Mr. BooNE. Right. 

Senator Cranston. What sort of education do they get in Florida? 
Do they go to school from September to May ? 

Mr. Boone. Some of them do. Some of them don't. There are about 
25 percent of the black children that just drop out of school. Thev 
don't go. 

Senator Cranston. At what age? 

Mr. Boone. More or less the early teens, 12, 13. 



189 

Senator Cranston. When they are traveling, do they get involved 
in the school lunch program when they stop somewhere^ 

Mr. Boone. Some of the States are cooperative. New York is one 
of the better ones. I don't know much about the States in between, 
because I always went straight from Florida to New York. 

Mr. Lloyd. The workers aren't in the States long enough to get any 
benefits from school lunch programs, because they might be there for 
just 3 weeks. 

They started in North Carolina in potatoes and beans, and that lasts 
for about 3 weeks. Then they move into Virginia, for beans and 
potatoes, and that will last 2 weeks. 

Once they reach the State of New Jersey, they settle down for the 
remaining time. Some will go into New York and stay for the rest 
of the summer. 

These are the onl}' States from which they will benefit from the 
lunch program. 

Senator Cranston. Say a child has gotten to the sixth grade and 
he goes along in that until the first of May and then goes north. How 
does he finish the sixth grade? 

Mr. Lloyd. He will be put back in tlie sixth grade when he returns 
to Florida. At 12 years old he probably will still be in the fifth grade. 
By the time he reaches 13 years old, he will be in the sixth grade, and 
gets discouraged. 

Senator Mondale. A lot of them are embarrassed. They sit with 
children 2 or 3 years younger than they are, and they are embarrassed. 

Mr. Lloyd. Right. 

Mr. BooNE. In some of the Northern States, when the children get 
there with their report cards, they won't put them in the classification 
tlie card says. They will put them two grades back. 

That in itself is discouraging. 

They are saying that the level of their education is not up to par, 
that they shouldn't be in the grade they are in. They put them back, 
or in a special class or something. 

In New York, in an area that had a tremendously large labor camp, 
they would take the migrant children and give them special classes. 
They won't send them to the regailar school s,ystem. 

Senator Cr.\n8tox. You said they are in the day care centers some of 
the time when they are in the Noi-th. What benefits do they get there, 
wliat care and feeding, what program ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Actually, although the lunch program is in the day 
care center, it is just for children who are maybe in the age bracket of 
3 and 4 3'ears old. They are in the day care centers. 

The rest of the kids, as I saw in New York last year, from 6 to 8 
years old, go to the fields every day until their school opens in 
September. 

Senator Cranston. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Senator Mondale. Senator Schweiker ? 

Senator Scttweiker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I would like to ask either of the gentlemen : "Wliat might be an 
average contract labor wage figure for what migrant workers will get 
in Florida, in tlie Florida area, where you folks work? What would 
be an average per hour or per day figure that a migrant worker could 
get? 



190 

I know it is tough to average, but could you give us an average 
figure ? 

Mr. BooNE. In my area, most often the work that the migrants them- 
sehes do is piecework. There is an agricultural force there year-round 
tliat does most of the hourly work, and they average from $1.30 to 
$1.45, sometimes $1.60 an hour. 

They are not migrants themselves. They are agricultural workers 
wlio are tliere year-round who tend the fields and grow the crops. 

The migrants themselves, when they are working, make fairly de- 
cent prices in some crops. 

In tlie long crops — if you have a secure job w4iere you can work 
every day, you don't make much. But on the jobs that are strenuous, 
like harvesting sweet corn, wliicli requires a tremendous amount of 
stamina, you might make sometimes as much as $20 a day. But you 
might work only 1 day a week, from September up until the spring 
crop, which starts in March or April. 

You might work 1 day a week or 2 days a week, and if tlie frost 
comes, which is very likely, then you don't have anything to do until 
the crop is replanted and grown again. 

Senator Schweiker. I have here a letter that had been placed in the 
Congressional Record. I am not familiar with the details. I just want 
to get your reaction to the accuracy of it. 

It is from Randall Chase, who is a grower of citrus fruits and vege- 
tables, and I would like to read a sentence or two and get your reaction 
to it. 

He is talking about contract labor in the glades, and I quote now 
from Mr. Chase's letter : 

In the glades, contract labor, mostly migrant, is making from $40 to $55 a day. 
Turnover is about 70 percent daily. The high wages, of course, are the main reason 
for the turnover. There is lots of labor there, but they only work a day or two 
and then they don't want any more, or need any more until they have used up 
what they have made. 

The essence of the letter is that there is really a shortage because of 
this. I would like to get your reaction. 

Mr. Lloyd. I would like to try to answer that question about $45 and 
$55 a day. I want to go back to the migrant workers in Florida. They 
estimate about $2,800 in earnings for a family of five. 

This is based on the entire State, and if it wasn't for the citrus, the 
estimate would have been lower than this. 

In the glades area and in the Immokalee area, we heard that they 
are paying $3 an hour for harvesting watermelon. 

Tliis sort of high price is picked by the grower out of all the days 
during the year. The grower says, "This is one particular day, I want 
this for the record, because the guy made $55." 

We have a hot watermelon season now, which will last but 5 weeks, 
and they offer about $3 an hour for it. And the growers use this par- 
ticular example to tr}- to show that the migrants make more than the 
estimated $2,800 a year for a family of five. 

They will go out and pick for these 5 weeks and farmworkers will 
make a good showing. 

But, people have to live every day in the year, you know, so when 
this 2- and 3-week good paying time is past, the workers don't have 
anything to look forward to except go back to the $3 a day and $5 a 
day. 



191 

So I am quite sure that those $50 a clay figures were brought from 
this sort of investigation by growers. 

But the real truth is that farmworkers have 1 or 2 good clays, and 
the rest of the days are bad. The feeling I got from his letter was that 
he didn't talk about the bad days. 

Mr. Boone. Mr. Chase is a grower in the glades area, a celery grower. 
I think that is the Mr. Chase you are talking about. 

Anyway, it is true that there are days when a person might make $40, 
l3ut they are very rare. 

For instance, if there was work so that the labor force could be 
around until the spring harvest came, there wouldn't be any problem. 
We could have a good, level rate of pay. 

But there is not enough work to keep the people there, so when the 
crops come off, half of the people are somewhere else trying to survive. 
They come up with a labor shortage for maybe 1 week, or 3 or -i days 
when everybody wants to flood the market with corn or something. 

That is all it amounts to. 

So everybody is out there bidding for the labor, which is short for 
this particular thing. 

Usually, during the corn season, each grower might have 2 clays' 
work a week, so there is enough labor there to harvest the corn up until 
the rush. "When the rush comes, thej^ are bidding for the labor. That is 
why they pay the prices, because he is trying to outbid the other 
farmer. JBecause they do not live in labor camps, they are not subject 
to any one farmer, and they can work for the highest bidder. 

This is about a week at the most. After that, it is the same routine. 
They barely make a living. 

Mr. Chase is talking about what these workers might make in a day, 
but even at that, their annual earnings are in the vicinity of $2,000, or 
$1,600, or something like that. That is annual. That is the way you 
:should determine it. 

Senator Mondale. And so often for the whole family. 

Mr. Boone. That is right. 

That is the family earnings. 

Senator Schw^eiker. You said pesticides are used in the field indis- 
criminately, and that you are afforded little protection, and that per- 
sons are maimed and killed. 

Could you elaborate on this problem, and what we should be looking 
at? 

Mr. BooNE. In my area, we grow a lot of vegetables that require 
insecticides. The insects are bad. Insecticides are applied indiscrim- 
inately by airplanes and field carts, even the day before harvest. I have 
known occasions last year where there were 12 men pulling corn in 
front of a mule train — that is a machine they build to go down through 
the field — and the whole 12 had to be rushed to the hospital, because 
the field had been sprayed with insecticide a few hours before. 

There was a case this year where a man was spraying in an orange 
grove, and he took the mask off for a second and inhaled, and died. 

But the bad thing about it was the problem of putting the responsi- 
liility on the grower. He said, "The worker should have kept his mask 
on." and that was the extent of it. 

There was no compensation. 

Senator Schweiker. Does Florida recognize any workmen's 
•compensation liability in cases either of injury or death, or not ? 



192 

Are there laws ? 

yiv. Boone. I think they have an option to get either one or tlie other. 
Tlie liability is enough to pay for the hospital bill. 

Senator Sciiweiker. Thank you, 

Senator Mondale. Senator Hughes ? 

Senator Hughes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I Avonld assume that wh'en you state, Mr. Boone, that inost of your 
work is piecework, that with the dilferent crops there are different types 
of measurement for pay, and that actually when you are measuring a 
total day's pay, it may include the children of the mother and father as 
well as the mother and father, all putting into the same basket. 

Mr. BooNE. It does. 

Senator Hughes. So if you broke the $1.45 an hour down to the 
family members, it would diminish quite a bit, wouldn't it? 

Mr! Boone. When I was talking about the $1.45 an hour, I was talk- 
ing about the agricultural workers who are nonmigrants. These are the 
})eople who raise the crops and prepare the fields and this sort of thing, 
tlie year-round workers. 

They are there year round. 

Most of the migrants work, like I said, strictly by the field. They are 
the ones who harvest the crops. They pick the beans and celery and 
stuff like that. 

Senator Hughes. Mr. Lloyd, could you describe one of the camps 
that you mentioned were built in stockade fashion behind a wire fence 
with a man carrying a gun at the gate, and tell me what the physical 
facilities are. What does the typical family unit look like, what are tlie 
toilet facilities; where do they get their water? 

Mr. Lloyd. I would like to take one in New York. 

In Xew York, in Kings Ferry, between Ithaca and Auburn, there 
is a camp that used to be run by the Kaiyuga Producing Corp. This 
camp is set about 5 miles out of the nearest town. They have barbed 
wire around the front of the camp, and also high trees, so that it is 
really invisible from the roadside to visitors who pass through. At 
the fi'ont of the gate, they have a house that they call the office. 

The assistant manager stays there. He is on the job at least IG hours 
a day, and he sleeps right there in the house. 

If any visitors came into the camp and passed by him without stop- 
pine', he would a'o down to the camp and eet them and brino- them 
back. 

Senator HuGin:s. Did he visibly carry a gun ? 

Mr. Li.ovn. Yes. 

Senator Hughes. Was he a peace officer? 

Mr. Lloii). Xo. You can see the gun butt sticking out of a side 
pocket. 

We have the same situation in Florida, where camp managers carry 
guns, and the camps have barbed wires, with such signs as, "Keep 
Out, Nonresidents are not allowed" posted. Although they have hu- 
man beings in the camps, they keep them in there as slaves. 

Senator Hughes. AVhat does the tyincal family unit look like? 

Mr. Li.oYD. The camps in central Florida, were built strictly for 
single men. There is no real family camp. In Xew York. A family of 
four will have two rooms, or maybe one room with a sheet to go across 
to separate the children from the adults. The children sleep on one side 



193 

of the slieet and tlie <^rown folks sleep on the other side. This is the 
reason that the sex life of the migrant children begins at an early 
age. 

Senator Hughes. What are they charged for that unit ? 

Mr. Lloyd. If you work for tlie grower, they probably will charge 
you maybe $2 a week or something like that, just a small amount. But 
what is involved here is the deduction out of your wages, which can 
very well contribute to the rent in a way that the migrant workers 
actually don't know anything about. 

It is easy for a migrant to be paying for something and he doesn't 
know what lie is paying for. 

Senator Huoiies. Is there water in the house '. 

Mr. Lloyd. Xo. there is one outdoor spigot, and all the toilet facili- 
ties are outdoors. 

Senator Hughes. Are they central toilet facilities, or individual 
outhouses, or what are they ? 

Mr. Lloyd. A camp of 450 last year in Xew York had eight outdoor 
toilets, for 450 people, and one shower bath for the men and one for the 
ladies. These are separated by a partition between one side and the 
other. 

Senator Hughes. What about cooking facilities in the unit ;* 

Mr. Lloyd. ^Nlost of the cooking is clone by the crew leaders — the 
crew leaders" wives will do the cooking. 

Some camps will allow an oil burner stove in one room of the house 
you live in, and the workers will feed the children from that and if 
the time is later at night when they arrive at camp, and if the families 
want somebody to cook, they will go to the crew leader and pick up a 
stove for the entire family. 

Senator Hughes. Do you take any lunch to the field with you ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Xot very often. Sometimes the crew leader will stop at 
the store, and other occasions the crew leader calls it a "run late"' morn- 
ing, and he comes into the field and says that his wife will be there later 
to bring lunch to the field. 

Sometimes it will be as high as 12 o"clock in the day before the lunch 
wagon shows up. 

Senator Hughes. "What about water in the field '. 

Mr. Lloyd. In most cases they carry water to the field, but this can 
be 2 hours behind the crew. The crew reaches the field at 7 o'clock in 
the morning, and the water doevSn't reach it until 9 o'clock. 

Senator Hughes. "VVTiat about the facilities for sanitation and pota- 
ble water and ever\i:hing else? Are there any Health Department 
examinations of the camps that you are aware of? Are there any signs 
sticking up stating that they have been approved, or anything of that 
nature ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes. There are signs. I doubt seriously that actual inspec- 
tions have been made. I was in Xew York last year for 3 months. A 
health inspector came once, in June when the camp first opened up, and 
he never did come back. 

Senator Hughes. You said Xew York was the best. "Wliat would the 
worst be like, as far as the States are concerned ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Oh, States? 

Senator Hughes. Yes, the States. 



194 

Mr. Lloyp. I would say Delaware, really. This is back in 1966. I 
would say Delaware. I worked iii Jersey in 1966. and Jersey and Dela- 
ware are close. In that year. I spent two weeks in different States, and 
at that time Delaware was the worst State for housing. They actually 
were sleeping outdoors, and the cabins had no screens in the windows. 

I have seen women hxmg meat in Delaware, and you couldn't tell 
whether they were fixing meat or fixing flies. That was in 1966. 

Senator Hughes. You mentioned crew leaders bringmg wiae and 
liquor back to camp. 

In my State we call this bootlegging. Is there any attempt to enforce 
the laws? 

Mr. Lloyd. There is no etiort made to enforce the law. "What hap- 
pens here, you see, is that the citizens of the community believe this 
is good that the crew leader is doing tliis, because it is doing them a 
favor by keeping the migrants out of town. 

There is no enforcement whatsoever. 

Last year m Xew York. I called the beverage man and asked him. 
if these people were licensed to sell liquor at high prices, and he said 
at that time the man who was supposed to see about that was out of 
town, and to call back '2 days later. 

Two days later we called back, and he said he was still out of town. 
It was the end of the season. 

Senator Hughes. TMiat about medical assistance. If somebody gets 
appendicitis some night in the camp, what do you do ? 

Mr. Llotd. I have in front of me here a statement about the medical 
situation in Xew York last 3-ear. 

Last year when we arrived in Berry, X.Y., the health commissioner, 
who was Dr. "Warner at that time, said that there wouldn't be a med- 
ical trailer situation on the camp because of some sort of Federal 
guideline saying that the money wasn't available. 

So a group of migrant works got concerned about it, and they came 
over to our trailer one day and asked if we could do anything about it. 
"We thought it would be necessary to write a letter to the health com- 
missioner, wliicli we did. The letter was signed by 1.5 migrant workers 
and sent to the health commissioner, who finally decided then to send 
the health trailer out that year. 

Xow, I mentioned that health care is good in some States and is bad 
in others. After we were successful in getting the health trailer out 
this time, we arranged, to have a doctor there once a week, and a nurse 
on duty every day. This is good in Xew York State, but it can very 
well l^e different in other States. 

Senator Hughes. "What about women expecting babies and this type 
of things Are they able to have their children delivered, or do they 
take them to a hospital, or is it a camp site delivery, or what happens ? 
^ ]NIr. Llotd. Actitally, the nearest hospital at that'time was in Albany,. 
X."i . AVe usually take the women every "VN'ednesday to get a checkup, 
and most times, if it is in the middle of the month and they estimate 
the woman will have the baby this month, they try to keep her OA-er 
there. I have known one occasion when a woman was about to have a 
baby and they called me over there to rush her to the hospital. 

"Well, I think I got over there just before. 

Senator Moxdale. You made it. 

Senator Hughes. I would like to have von tell me, and this mav be 
a part of the record, but I would like to know. 



195 

Suppose you worked intermittenth' because of vret mornings, lain 
or something. You got your supplies, your groceries, whatever you 
needed. How would you get paid ? 

Does your crew leader deduct for everything you received in the 
way of family supplies during the week, and you may wind up with 
$2 at the end of the week after everything is deducted, or you may wind 
up owing him something ? 

Mr. Lloyd. This is true. 

The crew leader actually will loan money to an individual, or even 
a family. At the end of the week, he deducts it from the wages, or it 
ma}' be deducted during the day, if they get paid on a day-to-day basis. 

In one case in New York. I remember that a young man Avorked 5 
days at a packinghouse, and he earned $52. At the end of the week, the 
crew leader deducted $4o from his pay and gave him $7. He asked the 
crew leader why this was deducted, and the crew leader said if he 
wanted to stay in one piece, he had to accept it, or words like that. 

As a matter of fact. Senator, the operation of the crew leader system 
is what we can say is crew leader brutality in the entire situation. 

The crew leader does as he pleases, and no one comes to the defense 
of the migrant worker himself, because these are small communities. 
The law is influenced by the grower, who the crew leader works for, 
and since he is closer to "the grower, he has the strongest voice with the 
law. 

Senator Hughes. In the camp, what do you do, establish your own 
law? 

yh\ Lloyd. You can easily say that the law in the camp is something 
like their own law, because, for instance, if someone got shot in the 
camp, or cut, and a local worker called the law, the law just won't 
come. 

Only two people are authorized to call the law in the camp, and that 
is the camp manager or the crew leader. 

Last year in New York, I was authorized to call the law. and this 
was the only way the law would come. If the law comes to the camp, 
he has to stop at the gate where the camp manager is. If the camp man- 
ager decides that the law shouldn't be involved, he tells the law to go 
on back, that the matter will be taken care of. 

Senator Hughes. You seem to have something like the boss system 
that seems to prevail in some prisons. The con boss system is really 
the law inside the walls, and it is the same, apparently, in the camps. 

The crew leader is God. if he wants to be. 

If we treated a mule this way, we would have most of the people 
highly incensed about it for cruelty to animals, but we ignore it when 
it comes to hmnan beings. 

I guess I have no further questions. 

Senator ]Sf oxdale. Thank you. Senator Hughes. 

Senator Bellmon? 

Senator Bellmox. Thank you, ^Ir. Chairman. 

I would like to ask a couple of questions. 

I missed most of the testimony, unfortmiately. I was at another 
meeting. 

You "referred to what you called crew leader brutality. How do the 
crew leaders get away with this? There are a large number of indi- 
viduals in the camp, Vnd only one or two crew leaders. AVhy do the 
miofrants stand for this ? 



196 

Mr. Lloyd. In the camp, the crew leader is the strong-arm man. He 
has alono- with him two or three backup guys. These are called his 
pimps, 'riiey operate by kicking anybody found to disobey the crew 
leaders' orders out of the camp. And it is announced over the loud 
speaker system every day, "If you don't live by the rules of the camp, 
you have to go,'' and' "you will be kicked oif the camp." 

The worker is completely powerless. 

Senator Bellmon. You mentioned rules. 

Rules are made by the camp leaders, not by the migrants ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes, the camp rules are made by the crew leader and the 
camp manager. 

Senator Bellmox. Do the migrants have any voic« at all in the 
making of the rules? 

Mr. Lloyd. Xo voice whatsoever. 

Senator Bellmon. I understand you were once a crew leader? 

Mr. Lloyd. Yes. 

Senator Bellmon. Did you operate in this fashion ? 

Mr. Lloyd. No. That is the reason, probably, why I am not a crew 
leader today. The system is outdated, and probably the only way to 
stay in front is to exploit. 

Senator Bellmon. So you are saying that the crew leaders don't 
have such a good deal, either. They have their problems ? 

Mv. Lloyd. Right ; they have their problems. 

Senator Bellmon. Is the problem basically the fact that the wages 
are low and that it is really very difficult for the workers and the crew 
leaders to make out on their pay ? Is this the problem ? 

Mr. Li:oYD. I would say so. The wages even handed down to the crew 
leader are low. 

A crew leader doesn't have the ability to negotiate with the grower 
for the right wages, and when they get through figuring out the over- 
head and reach down actually to the worker, the money is so low that 
the crew leader lias to cut back on what he offers the workers. This is 
the reason we have something like promise and reality. 

Most likely what a worker is promised in the South is very, very 
much different from wliat he finds when he reaches the Northern 
States. 

Mr. Boone. I would like to make a comment on the exploitation. 

The reason we have so much of it is because of a conspiracy be- 
tween the grower and the contractor. The grower will save money 
by letting the crew leader exploit the people. Then he will tell him, 
"Look. I can only pay you a certain amount for what you are doing, 
for liarvesting my crop, but I will give you a free hand to sell what- 
e\er you want on the camp and handle the camp in your own way.*' 
This is the way it has been done. 

The crew leader knows there is a lot of money to be made, and he 
will agree. Although he is not making what he should be making from 
the farmer, they will both gain by it, and nobody will lose but the 
migrants themselves. 

Senator Bellmon. So the crew leader really gets most of his income 
from the migrant ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Right. If his job is relatively competitive, if there is 
another crew leader or someone who might be interested in the same 
job he has, he feels somebody will take the job cheaper than he has. 



197 

There is hardly ever any written contract between the crew leader 
and the farmer, so the farmer could kick the crew leader out any day he 
gets ready. In order to stay in good with this farmer, because he has 
something for him to do, and he can at least make something, the crew 
leader will say, "Well. I will take this at a lesser price if you will give 
me a free hand with the camp,*" and that is the way it's done. 

Senator Beli.mox. You mentioned in your testimony that only the 
crew leader and perhaps one of the persons authorized to call the law 
and then you said that the law would not come unless the call came 
from these one or two individuals. Xow why does anyone need to be 
authorized to call the law ? 

Mr. Lloyd. Well, actually the organization actually comes from the 
law, because on past occasions the law claimed that they had been 
getting calls from the labor camp asking them to come down. When 
they got there, they could not find a person hurt on the campgrounds 
or could not find the person who called them. 

So the law themselves set up a system and they said, "I am going 
to let the camp manager call me or the crew leader call me.'' I would 
like to add that last year in New York a crew leader threatened to 
stomp me to death because I was trying to go away to the bus station. 
He said if I take the bus, he would stomp me to death. I considered that 
a threat. I called the law and when the law arrived, they said they 
didn't think it was necessary. Do you want to go down there and 
arrest him? 

I said yes. On the way down there, he said, ''You know, tomorrow 
you will forget all about this. I don't think you want to arrest no crew 
leader. It's kind of dangerous for a migrant worker to arrest the crew 
leader." I informed him that I was not working as a migrant worker 
this year, so I would prefer to have him go out and arrest him. 

I went down and swore out the warrant, and up to 9 o'clock that 
Sunday morning the crew leader was not arrested. I called again and 
asked why the man was not picked up and he said, well, he thought I 
would forget about it by now. I said, no, I wanted him arrested. 

He finally came and arrested the crew leader. Actually this was 
sort of an example to show the migi-ant worker that the crew leader 
can be arrested. Migrant workers don't beileve anything can happen 
to their crew leaders. They believe he is just ever^^thing. 

Senator Bellmon. This condition about only authorized persons 
calling the law, is this general or does this only exist in certain States 
or certain localities ? 

Mr. Lloyd. This depends on the size of the community. Xow Florida 
is very much diflerent. 

Senator Bellmox. Can you describe the conditions in Florida ? 

]VIr. Lloyd. Most of the migrant workers in Florida live in com- 
munities that are stabilized, where anybody can call the law. You have 
more than one leader in a community, but in the migrant camp you 
have only one. 

Most of the migrants live in communities in Florida. They are being- 
exploited by crew leaders and self-appointed communit}^ leaders. This 
is the cycle. 

The migrants can't get away from this exploitation under the pres- 
ent system. It is just a cycle. 

Senator Bellmon. Is there some reason why the migrants live in 
the community in Florida and live in these camps in other States is 



198 

different ? Why do the migrants not live in communities in other States 
«iich as Delaware and New Jersey and New York ? 

^fr. Lloyd. Actually there is no place prepared for thern in the com- 
nnmities in the nortliern States. They bnilt camps outside the_ com- 
munity to house the migrants. There is no place for them to stay in the 
North", other than in these migrant camps. In Florida it is different. A 
person is almost on his own. He can go and rent a house and work 
wherever he chooses to work. 

As I mentioned in tlie statement, once they board the bus on their 
trip North, they are at the mercy of the crew leader. 

Senator Bel'lmox. Is that the reason the system is different in Flor- 
ida, the fact that the migrants spend more time in Florida ? 

]\Ir. BooxE. That could be. 

]Mr. Lloyd. Iwould think so. Most migrants consider Florida their 
home base, and they have friends and more family ties in Florida than 
they have in the stream. 

Senator Bellmon. You mentioned that you feel there is a conspiracy 
between the grower and the crew leader and then you also mentioned 
that the crew leader sometimes feels that he is forced to bargain or to 
taken a bad deal with the farmer just to get the job ? 

Mr. Lloyd. This can very well be so because of the lack of organiza- 
tion and the fact that there are set laws on how a crew leader should 
bargain with a grower. The crew leaders have no job security. And 
sonieone will figure he can make out on the cheaper wages or another 
one will come along and say, 'T think I can do this job for a nickel 
cheaper," and the crew leader is out of a job. 

]Mr. Bellmon. Is this the conspiracy that you were thinking about ? 

^Ir. Lloyd. I didn't mention a conspiracy, I think that was Mr. 
Boone, but at the same time it could well be. The crew^ leader, even the 
grower, can hold a job back and interview three or four crew leaders 
and the one that can do it the cheapest will get the job. 

Mr. Bellmon. Is that what you had in mind ? 

]Mr. Boone. Yes, there is no written contract. There is no security on 
the job. The farmer will say, "Another crew leader was over to see me 
toda}^, and he is interested in your job, and will take the job a nickel 
cheaper. I like you and I want you to work for me. You gave me a 
good job, but I had a bad year and I don't think I can afford it. If I 
can get this done cheaper, I might come out of the hole. So do you 
think you could do it a nickel cheaper, just as he could?" It is a way 
of bargaining, that is all it is. 

Senator Bellmon. I see, that is all, Mr. Chairman. 

Senator jNIondale. Thank you very much. I want to ask just one ques- 
tion of Mr. Boone, if I might, I can understand why migrants when 
they are in the streams, in New York, Delaware, and so on, have diffi- 
culty persuading local public officials to respond and enforce the law. 
I don't appreciate it, but I can understand it because you don't vote 
there. The people who don't want the law enforced do. 

But in Florida, for example, the chairman of the board said that 
you weren't even his people, you were Federal people. He is elected, 
but in a county in which there are 22,000 farmworkers. You are from 
Pahokee, is that yow you pronounce it, and I think you don't have 
a single member of the county board. Am I correct on that ? 

Mr. Boone. Yes. 



199 

Senator Mondale. How many members of the school board do you 
have ? Zero ? How many members of the city council ? 

Mr. BooxE. None. 

Senator Mondale. Zero. So even though you have lived there for 
generations and you are citizens of that community, there are none of 
the duly elected officials who apparently feel that you amount to a 
strong enough political force that they have to be concerned about 
you for political reasons. 

How do you explain that ? 

Mr. BooNE. It is true. The reason is the illiteracy rate among the 
migrants themselves and the traditional way in w^hich things have 
heen done in the past, with due respect for the law in general. For 
instance, in the past years, in the small town of Pahokee, there has 
been no investigation into the handling of the city funds and the activ- 
ities of the police department and the whole works. 

As a matter of fact, there is an investigation going on now. Up until 
this time nobody had ever questioned anything. For example, a police- 
man will come doAvn and arrest a migrant and charge him on the spot 
without even having any knowledge of the law or due process. He will 
just say, "You are fined $100, pay me or else go to jail.*' So migrants 
-have this fear. 

Senator Mondale. The policeman rules right there ? 

Mr. Boone. Yes, on the spot. From what they have seen from exper- 
iences in the })ast, the migrants know that they are powerless. For 
instance, if a migrant goes out and gets drunk, and a citizen of the 
town, any white citizen, does the same thing, a policeman, black or 
white, will come along and take the white guy home and say "All right, 
Joe,"' and take the migrant to jail and charge him $50. 

Because of this, these people want no part of city government. They 
won't even go near- the city hall if they can get out of it. They are not 
going to register, they are not going to make any attempt to vote and 
become a part of it at all. It is a hard thing to try to indoctrinate these 
people. 

Their only opinion is "I don't know why you try ? They are going 
to do what tliey are going to do uptown anyway." 

Senator Mondale. Have you tried to get migrants active politically, 
to vote and so on ? 

Mr. BooNE. We have had registration drives and there are more vot- 
ing now than there have ever been in the past. 

Senator Mondale. Do you see any difference in the attitude of the 
local public officials as you increased your political activity? 

Mr. Boone. Arrests have dropped about 50 percent, maybe more than 
that, and they don't take people up there and fine them any more. 
For instance, there might be some legal aid lawyer in the area. If he 
comes with somebody who is being tried, nine times out of 10 they 
will drop the charges. Because they have been doing wrong for so long, 
they don't even know what the laAv is themselves. 

They don't know whether they are right or wrong and that is a fact, 
they don't know. In all those little towns around there they don't even 
have the cases presented right. The lawyer walks in the door, makes 
•one statement, and turns around and the man is free. 

That is the way its been done but it is changing. That part is going 
to change. 



200 

Senator Mondale. The migrant legal services program lias been a 
good service program ? 

Mr. BooNE. Oh, yes. 

Senator Mondale. We are most appreciative to the two of you for 
having your excellent testimony. Thank you very much. 

As you know, Mr. Pebeahsy became emotionally upset when the 
started to testify earlier this morning. He has accepted our suggestion 
that he present his testimony under more private circumstances. I 
think this witness is vitally important to the record we are trying to 
develop, and I am grateful for my colleagues approval of the oppor- 
tunity to hear this witness with only a limited representation of the 
press and public. 

(The subcommittee adjourned to the committee offices to hear the 
testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pebeahsy.) 

Senator Mondale. Can you tell us a little bit about your life as a 
migrant and how you see this problem ? 

STATEMENT OF FRANK PEBEAHSY, COMMANCHE INDIAN, 
ACCOMPANIEB BY MRS. PEBEAHSY— Recalled 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes; I started doing migrant work about 12 years 
ago. My trade is roofing and I do roofing work just like the migrant, 
just seasonal up to about 12 years ago. I was hurt with roofing with 
asphalt, once, and I got leary of it then. Then I quit and I did spot 
jobs for a while, which wasn't giving me enough income to feed my 
family with, so I told my wife that w^e have to supplement our income 
in different ways and that the only way we could do it was to — I had 
heard other people around the home where we lived that older Indians 
and myself that they had went out to different parts of the country 
and did potatoes and broom corn, sugar beets and the vegetable harvest 
in Phoenix. 

They said they had made enough to live on, which was all we were 
after. So we started in the migrant stream in that manner. We worked 
for a while in Idaho and then we worked for a while in Arizona, but 
the worst part of the country that we had went through was in Colo- 
rado itself — no, not Colorado, but in San Jon, N. Mex. 

The farmer we worked for there, he has one of these — I believe it 
is Avhat they used during World War II — barracks. They put them off 
in sections, which is not no bigger than this room up to the coffee urn 
here, maybe not quite that big for my wife and myself and our oldest 
daughter and my three boys. The beds are just single beds and some 
of them is broke where we go down to the lumberyard and buy con- 
crete blocks where we can set these beds upon and usually the mat- 
tresses are not so very good. 

Senator Mondale, Are there many Indians, Comanches, Navajos, or 
others that you know of who work in the crops this way? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I work mostly with the Navajo people, because I am 
in tlieir part of the country. New Mexico. 

Senator Mondale. What kind of crops do you work down there? 

Mr. Pebeahsy, None in New ]\Iexico except from biT)om corn. 

Senator Mondale. Are there a lot of Navaios workino- with vou 
there? 



201 

Mr. Pbbeahsy. Yes, the Broom Corn Growers Association they con- 
tract or make application to the employment offices in Farming;ton and 
in Gallup and possibly some in Arizona. Some of us, we go on our 
own, those who are fortunate enough to have transportation. But we 
don't have the money for our trip, so usually if my title is clear to my 
vehicle, I use that as a collateral to borrow money to go to work. 

Senator Moxdale. How much did you make last year ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Last year I don't believe I made over $2,500. 

Senator Moxdaee. Did you work all year as hard as you could ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Well, we work by piece, but we work as fast as wc 
can, sir. 

Senator Mondale. By $2,500, is that for you and your family ? 

]Mr. Pebeahsy. YevS. 

Senator Moxdale. Does your wife work, too ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes. 

Senator Moxdaee. Do you have other members of your family that 
work, too '] 

]\Ir. Pebeahsy. T"p until a year ago I had a boy, my oldest son. 

Senator Moxdaee. How many children do you have? 

Mr. Pebeashy. We have six aU told. 

Senator Moxdale. Do you bring those with you? 

]\Ir. Pebeahsy. We did to begin with, but my oldest son, he was 
fortunate to get a group in Colorado, the Migrant Council to help him 
go to Pueblo, Colo., for a schooling to where he can get a general edu- 
cation diploma and he has been doing that and now he is going to 
try to work with the VISTA group in the camp there so he can work 
among some of his own folks. 

My son — I have another son that is going to school up in Idaho — 
Pocatello, Idaho. But the main thing I wanted to say was about these 
living conditions that we have, especially this farmer in San Jon. 
Where Vi^e live, like I was saying, it was this big building that is par- 
titioned off for each family and on the north end of the building his 
pens to his stock begins, where he keeps his stock. 

During some parts of the day it gets so hot the flies are so thick 
there. We have asked him about moving this building back, but no- 
body will listen. 

Senator Moxdale. He won't listen? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Xo. And we had one outhouse that is for the men, 
the women, and the children — only one. 

Senator Mondale. How many workers worked there ? 

]Mr. Pebe^nhsy. We had somewhere between 25 and 30, sometimes 
more than that, some get discouraged and they leave. Maybe some- 
times they go to town and maybe if he is too short handed, he will go to 
town and maybe try to find some or maybe go back to the reservation 
and see if he can bring more. 

Senator Bellmox. Wliat sort of crops does this particular farmer 
liave? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Broom corn, this corn is jerked by hand. 

Senator Moxdale. What is broom corn ? 

Senator Bellmox. What you make brooms out of, it has a tassel 
that is pulled by hand and put in bales and used for brooms. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. This one particular instance where I went to town to 
call some of my people in Lawton and after I had made my call and 

3G-513— 70— pt. 1 14 



202 

I \vent back and sat in the pickup and I seen these two Indian hidies 
coming down the street. AVhere they had been or wliere they were 
going, I don't know, but I seen this man. The constable in the town 
[)nlled up right beside to them, talked to them for not less than a min- 
ute or not 2 minutes. He opened the back door for them and put them 
in. 

In full view of where I was sitting, they had what they called a 
detention or what you call a jail. He took them there and unloaded 
them and put them in and then he drove off. They had this inter- 
mediate that goes through the town. He came up on the north end and 
I didn't see him. He parked next to me and asked me what I was doing 
in town and I told him, and he said, "Just as soon as you get through, 
you get out of town and get back to the farm where you are supposed 
to l)e working." I said I would go after I finished my call and after a 
call had come back to me. 

I asked him why am I being treated like this? He said, ""Well, w^e 
have been told by the Broom Corn Growers Association to keep you 
peoi)le back on the farm." I told him that I had a privilege and the 
right to go wherever I wanted to when I wanted to. He told me then, 
he said, "Not in this tow^n you don't." 

I said, ''Why not?" I said, on the north end I seen the sign that says 
the town of 1,000 friendly people. I said, ""\^^lere did that friendliness 
go to?'' He said, "Well, we have a standing order to pick you people 
up and take you in and call your bossman and he, in turn, will come in 
and if there is au}^ fine to be paid, he Avill pay the fine and take you 
back out and you work that fine back out at $1 an hour.'' 

That is what we were getting. That is not much money, not for us, 
it is not. Then sometime when we leave there, we don't have enough 
saved. We have no one to go to if somebody gets sick. If there is any- 
thing that is supposed to be given to us, we don't know about it. We 
don't know or they don't tell us. 

Senator Moxdale. You mean like education or health or housing? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. They asked us about the children to go to school. 
!Mo>t of us people or most of the workers, they don't have the right 
clothes or they don't ha\e the clothes that they need to go to school 
and get lunches or we don't know how we are going to put our kids in 
that school, because it is the fii"st beginning of the school and we have 
to have health cards. 

The}' want to know if your children are vaccinated and for what 
and all them that they require we don't lune with us. Sometimes when 
we have the smaller children that we can't leave with anybody or they 
are afraid, they don't want to stay with this other bunch, we keep one 
of our children home, one of the children that is old enough to watch 
them. 

In turn, my wife and I and my son we go on out to the field and we 
work. 

Senator Bellmox. You say you leave them at home. You mean you 
leave them in the quarters that the farmer furnishes you ? 

Mr. Pebeaiisy. Yes. 

Senator Bellmox. You don't have them at Cache ? 

Mr. PEr.EAiisY. Xo; I take my family with me because I don't be- 
lie\e in leaving my family back. I know they are all right when they 
are with me. Even though I leave them in the camp when I go out in 



203 

the field to work, when I come home I know they are fine. I have no one 
in my home in Cache that I can leave my children with anyway. I 
have no mother and no father. 

Senator Bellmox. When you are in the camp do you cook your 
meals ? 

Mr, Pebeahsy. Yes ; we cook our own meals. We buy our food. 

Senator Bellmon. I)o you have anything like a camp manager or a 
boss? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Not in this broom corn, we don't. 

Senator ]Mondale. Do you have a crew leader, a crew chief ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We have what you call a pusher. He is a pusher, he 
keeps the crew all the time going, just keep a-going. When you slow 
down, he don't exactly say anything to you, but he says it to the crew 
leader where he says it to you. That way you can't say the farmer said 
this and that to me, that is why he has the pusher. 

The pusher is the one that keeps the people working. 

Senator Bellmox. Does the pusher live in the camp with the crew ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes ; he is usually one of the workers. 

Senator Bellmon. Does he treat you fairly ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Oh, yes, the pusher is usually a Mexican or an Indian, 
one of the two, whichever one has the greatest number of workers and 
that is how they work. 

Senator Bellmon. But he has no authority over the camp? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No. His only authority is in the field. 

Senator Bellmon. Where do you get your food ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. In this town they have just only one store, but we 
try not to go there. We try to go to a bigger market in Tucumcari, 
which is about 20 miles to the northwest. Those who go to Tucumcari, 
they usually ride along with somebody else that has a vehicle. 

Senator ]Moxdale. Do you get a better bargain there ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes. In this particular tow^n some of the products 
are not marked. We don't know what we pay for it. We might even 
pay 75 cents for a 5-pound bag of sugar, maybe even more than that. 
We don't know. We always ask them the prices and things jmnp so 
high, it is not funny. 

Senator Bellmon. But in Tucumcari 

Mr. Pebeahsy. In Tucumcari everything we buy in these Safeway 
markets or a market of that kind is marked. But in a small town like 
San Jon it is a privately owned store by a man, a person that lives 
there and it seems like when we come in, everything just goes out of 
style. 

Senator Bellmon. You became a migrant worker when your health 
was not good enough for you to work in the roofing business. Why 
do most other Indians become migrants, do you know ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I don't really, I could not speak for everybody else. 
I would not want to say why they work in the migrant stream. But 
I can just only say about myself. 

Senator ]Mondale. Do you feel it is because they are not well edu- 
cated and can't get another job? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Maybe that might be one of the major causes. The 
language barrier, a lot of the Indians don't have the education or they 
don't understand about the job opportunities that others have. They 
are not equipped for it. 



204 

Senator Mondale. Do you spend a lot of time talking to your fel- 
low Indians who are working with you ? 

Mr. Pebeaiisy. I have for a while. We talk among ourselves because 
we feel we can talk better to one another than we can to an outsider. 

Senator Mondale. Do you meet many of them that want to migrate, 
who like to get in the car and go around with their families, or would 
most of them prefer some kind of steady job somewhere? 

Mr. Pebeaiisy. Those who can get steady jobs, they usually stay 
witli it. But the majority, it is best off to work in different parts of the 
country and different crops. 

Senator Bellmon, Is the problem of alcoholism serious among 
mio-rants ? 

jNIr. Pebeahsy, Up to a point, yes, we have that problem just like 
everybody else has it. It is a problem that I don't think will ever be 
whipped. If it is, it isn't showing any improvement. Of course, the 
camp itself, this one camp in particular in Delta, they try to keej) 
them from spending too much on the liquor. 

Senator Bellmon. When you say "they," who do you mean ? 

Mr. Pebeaiisy. We have one person in particular. This one is a 
Mexican, He has been there for a lot more years than my wife and I, 
We have been going to Delta for about 10 years, I believe, my wife and 
I, and this man has been there and he is well liked by everybody and 
he tries to talk to them. But he is the only one that can. They can put a 
little stock into what he says, because I guess maybe he is just like us. 

These growers in New Mexico, I went to their meetings aiid they 
talked bad about us. They called us filthy names, drunks, and just 
anything they could think of. But yet when it comes time for their 
harvest to be cropped, it is always the Indian that always does the 
work. They don't want to take care of his house, they don't w^ant to fix 
the house up. 

They say they come from a worser home than what we are giving 
them here, what they have got here is just about like the Waldorf- 
Astoria. They always say that, and they talk about how bad we are. 
Then at this one time I got up when he was talking and getting too 
rough, and I said, "Yes, we admit that we have people that is not what 
you think is right. We have them." I said, "There is every race in this 
country that has the same kind of people that you are trying to push 
off on us." I say I know a lot of us is not smart. 

I said if we were, we would not be here working for you. I said, "We 
can't help what we are, we were born to what we are here, we are 
Indians and we are always going to be Indians. There is nothing we 
can do to change that." I said, "But we will work, but someday — I clon't 
know when — we are going to come back to you and we are going to 
demand what is really ours. We want to be treated fair and we want to 
have better wages and better housing for our families. We are entitled 
to that. Not only as migrant workers, but as the first-class American 
citizens." 

Senator Bellmon. How long does the broom corn harvest last ? 

Mr. PEiiEAiisY. It lasts about (i weeks, but a lot of them don't stay 
that long. Some of them just stay long enough to make enough money 
to get to the next field. 

Senat_or Bellmon, You are paid by the hour when you harvest broom 
corn, this is not stoop ? 



2C5 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes, it is not stoop labor. 

Senator Bellmon. And it is $1 an hour ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. $1 an hour is what we got. The jpusher gets $1.10, 

Senator Bellmon. Does he pull broom corn himself ^ 

]Mr. Pebeahsy. He does once in a while. ^laybe his wife is in the 
field or one of his children. He is more apt to help them than anybody 
else. We have no squabbles against him helping his family. 

Senator Bellmon. AVlio sets the price ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I don't know. The Broom Growers Association, I 
presume. 

Senator Bellmon. There is no effort on the part of the migrants to 
say we think we ought to have $1.'25 an hour ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes; we asked for it. We asked about a little higher 
wage and they said, "Yes; we can give it to you. We will give you the 
wage you think you are worth, but we will have to charge you for your 
house and your lights and the fuel that you use," which half the time 
is maybe just two little burners and sitting on one side is a couple of 
blocks to hold one leg up. 

Most of the time it is not attached, it has a piece of rubber on it. 
There is nobody there to hear our grievances, we can't go to anybody. 

Senator ]Mondale. In your response to Senator Bellmon, what you 
are saying is while they might give you a little more per hour, they 
will deduct that, so you are no better off? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No ; we are no better oft' than what we try to ask for 
in the beginning. There is nothing we can do, because we are there with 
no money. 

Senator Bellmon. Do they take any deductions from 3'ou when they 
pay you $1 an hour % 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No; just $1 an hour. Sometimes during the week if 
we need money, we borrow money and tliat money is deducted out at 
the end of the week. 

Senator Mondale. Do you pay interest on the money you borrow ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No, 

Senator Mondale. Are you still being paid $1 an hour ? 

Mr, Pebeahsy. Yes ; we were last fall. 

Senator Mondale, What were you paid 5 years ago ? 

Mr, Pebeahsy, 75 cents, that is what we got. 

Senator Bellmon, I know you can't answer this question. How many 
Indians do you suppose, or Mexicans, are migrants in the New Mexico- 
Arizona-Colorado area % Do you know ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I could not start to say, but I know there is well 
o\'er — like in the sugar beets where we are now, there is about maybe 
500 or GOO Indians there in that camp, in the one camp. 

There is a lot still in there, they come in and they house them out to 
the dift'erent farmers and then they are still coming in that stays in the 
house. On one end of the camp we have Mexicans from Texas there 
that comes in. 

Senator Mondale. You don't get paid $1 an hour in beets, do you ? 

Mr, Pebeahsy. No; but what we do get in beets is not enough. In 
this one particular job that we had just here about 2 weeks ago, five of 
us worked a 5,5-acre field. We had to borrow a little money to begin 
with to buy gas for our vehicle to go back and forth. After everything 
was taken out, we each got $17.50 apiece for about 7 days' work. 



206 

Senator Bellmon. "Was this price agreed to when you started the 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We started ont at $15.50 an acre. But some of the 
fields have rocks and so many weeds, they have two different prices. 
They liave $15.50 and $18.05, bnt we can't get that high price, no mat- 
ter. We talk and talk and ask and ask. 

Mrs. Pereaiisy. Some of them jnst pay $12. 

Mr. Pebeasiiy. Some get $12.50 and some $13.50. The farmer who is 
paying $12.50, we don't know becanse the Indian don't know the 
faiiner tliat well, because some of them come and work the first time in 
the sugar beets. I and mv wife and another old Indian lady are the 
only ones I know of that have been there for more than 5 years. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. She is the one that told us she was working $12 an, 
acre. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. $12.50 an acre or $13.50, somewhere in that line. 

Senator Bellmon. How many hours does it take to weed an acre 
usually ? 

Mr.' Pebeahsy. One person can do an acre, but you have to really 
row, yon can't stop. 

Senator Beli.mon. In a day? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes ; sometimes you can't get that acre. 

Senator Mondale. It depends a lot on the condition of the field? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Just like that. 

Senator JNIondaIvE. If the field is dirty, full of weeds, it is awfully 
hard to do that? 

]\[r. Pebeashy. It is awfully liard, very few, very few can do that. 
You have to be just about like a machine. 

Senator Mondaee. INIr. and Mrs. Pebeahsy, Senator Bellmon or I 
may have to leave in order to take care of important business. How- 
ever, we realize that you have come here all the way from Colorado, 
and Senator Bellmon has agreed to let Mr. Chert kov, counsel to the 
subconnnittee, as well as other staff members of both the majority and 
minority side, to continue to ask you questions so that we may have 
j^our important testimony for our pennanent hearing record. I da 
want to say, however, that I veiy much appreciate your coming to 
Washington to testify before the subcommittee, and I hope to return to 
the hearing shortly. 

(Discussion oil the record.) 

Mr. Chertkov, You were discussing that you leave Oklahoma and 
go to Colorado, and that you know that there is work there. Is the work 
ready at the time that you get there ? 

Mr. PebE/Vhsy. No. Most of the time we have to wait for a while, 
maybe a week, maybe 10 days. This time we waited about 3 w^eeks. 
But the company, Holly, helped us buy groceries to hold us. 

But then what groceries we bought don't last forever, because my 
children and my wife and sometimes my brother-in-law and his wife 
and his three kids, we all join and take turns feeding, helping each 
other. When this groceries run out, well, we don't want to get into too 
big a hole, so we go to the trash pile and look for copper. 

Wo know copper brings a little money, so we are out there when we 
are not working. We look for copper and whatever wires we find, we 
burn them and we roll our copper up together and take it to the junk- 
yards and sell it and that way we help bu}^ our groceries. 



207 

Or, we have something to pawn, like jewelry. We had her necklace, 
but she don't have it now. We pawned it to bu}^ something to eat with. 
We were just getting started about a week or 10 days when we came 
here and we borrowed. We borrowed some money that we want to have 
of our own so we can buy a few things and we left some money for our 
children so they can buy whatever they want to eat. 

All the jewelry that we have is pawned and my title to my vehicle is 
pawned and I hope to get them out. 

Mr. CiiERTKOv. Mrs. Pebealisy, what kind of food do you cook for 
your children and your husband ? 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. I don't know. I just buy some food from the store. 
I fix some bread myself, some when I am not tired. Wlien I am tired, I 
get white bread for my kids. 

Mr. Chertkov. You work all day and then have to come home and 
cook? 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. Yes, not all the time, just when I feel like to eat 
warm stuff for my kids and my husband, I fix it. '\"\^ien I am not tired, 
I fix it. When I am really tired, I just lay clown and go to sleep, that is 
all I can do. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do you usually get up at 4 in the morning ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes, I get up aromid 4 in the morning and I cook for 
my family, my wife and myself and I cook food and put it away for my 
children, so I leave the oldest girl home in the morning to help to get 
the boy up and get him clean and get him dressed so he can go to a 
Headstart school. 

Then later in the morning when it gets a little hot, we stop out in the 
field to try to rest for a while. I run back to the camp and pick up my 
daughter and let her come and help us for awliile, because she can't 
work no more than 8 hours a day according to the State law. But they 
seem to be awfully worried about working hours, but they don't care 
about what we receive for our work. 

That is one thing I can't understand at all. 

Mr. Chertkov. Your daughter goes to a Headstart school ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. The boy. And the girl don't go to school. She is 14 
and we work, we let her work. But we can't work her over 8 hours a day. 
She wants to, but we can't do it, because there is always somebody some- 
where maybe sitting off on the side of the road, just waiting for you to 
break a law of some kind, maybe even phone you. 

We have never broken that law. 

Mr. Chertkov. Wlien did she drop out of school? Did she quit 
school ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. She left school in May. We left home May 5. She 
won't get back to school again until- — if she is lucky — until November,, 
•maybe not even then. Or she may go to school if we are lucky enough to 
have money to get to Phoenix, she may go to school there. 

Mr. Steinberg. What grade is she in ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. She is in the seventh grade now. 

Mr. Steinberg. She is able to keep up ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. So far she has, but we always have to take our chil- 
dren out of school in the first week of May because that is usually when 
the sugar beets are ready to work. Usually we try to call before we go to 
be halfway on the safe side to where we won't have so much expense 
to us. Then this year we didn't have the money for what we are going 



208 

to do and we went early and we got stuff there for 31/2 weeks before we 
started working. 

Mr. CiiERTKOV. Has anybody from the State of Colorado ever asked 
her to go to school in Colorado ''i 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No. According to the law, I believe, there she said 
that 14 was eligible to work, but under 8 hours a day. My wife is not in 
the l>est of health, but she still works and I asked my daughter to come 
and work whatever time she can to work next to her mother and if her 
mother needs help, she is there to help her. 

I don't usually stay up in the same place with them, because I try to 
work as fast as I can to get as many rows to the acre that we can get. 
That is why I know, I just have to do that. I have to ask my daughter 
because she is the oldest one we have with us. 

Mr. CiiERTKOV. Your boys are with you, too ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Just one, just the 7-year-old boy. 

Mr. Chertkov. Has he ever worked in the field ? 

]\Ir. Pebeahsy. No. He was not working, you know, but he acci- 
dentally got ahold of a hoe and just about tore up all the beets and 
we had to keep all the hoes locked up in the farmer's barn. But we 
were not trying to make him work. 

Just like' all kids, he gets into mischief. But we would not ask our 
son to work. He is too small. He just plays around, but he is always 
wanting to help. 

Mr. Chertkov. "When you just arrive at a place, and there is no 
work, and it will be 3 weeks before there is work avaihible, I think you 
mentioned that you cut down on the total number of meals at that time ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes; Ave do. My w^ife and I do, but we don't cut the 
food for the children. My wife and I maybe in the morning ^xe have 
coffee and roll, maybe at noon just coffee and then we try to have one 
good full meal apiece, my wife and I during the day, when we are not 
Avorking. 

So at least I know we are eating something and what Ave live on 
mostly is sheep. Sheep is one of the chief products in that part of the 
country and Ave buy these sheep. Usually the man that runs the camp 
usually has sheep and Ave can buy these sheep for around about some- 
Avhere betAveen $12 and $14. Usually Ave get another party that needs 
that and Ave go in together and pay half and half, and then that is 
hoAv Ave share, you know. We help cut the cost of each other for the 
full price of the sheep. 

INIr. Chertkov. You slaughter it yourself and skin it ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We slaughter and skin it and Ave don't have no time 
to cure food like a lot of people do. We have to use it then, immedi- 
ately. But Ave try to hang on as long as AAe can Avithout using the meat, 
because Ave can ahvays have a little every day, a little meat every day in 
our food for our children. 

Mr. Chertkov. What Avould the sheep otherAvise be used for? Would 
the farmer sell them under any other circumstances on the market ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I don't knoAv, the person Ave buy this particular sheep 
in this camp, he buys them for that purpose. He buys them from prob- 
ably a stockyard, and he raises them just to sell. That is Avhat he is 
doing himself. 

Mr. Cherti^ov. To f arniAvorkers ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes; to anybody that Avants to buy it. 



209 

Mr. CHERTiiov. You mentioned your wife lias not been feeling weU. 
Does she go to a doctor ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Last fall we were working in potatoes and she some 
way got hurt somehow and we had to quit work. We had to go back 
about 250 miles, maybe 300 miles from where we were working, back to 
the Indian hospital to try to get her admitted, which we didn't succeed 
at first because there was no room available. 

All the operation appointments that they had were full plumb into 
late December. So we asked the doctor to get in contact for us with 
Gallup, which he did. He got her an appointment down there and we 
sent her that way immediately. She went in on a Monday and was 
operated on Wednesday morning. 

In this potatoes, particularly where we "was working, we were sup- 
posed to get $1.50 an hour, but the farmer says, let's do it this way and 
you are going to make some money, he says. He says, "I am going to 
"give you $1.25 an hour." He said, "At the end of the job you will have 
25 cents saved up for every hour that you worked,'' and he said, "By 
the time you get through here, you will have a fistfuU of money,*' he 
calls it. 

But a day and a half before the job was supposed to be finished, 
there was something went wrong somewhere. We got cut off so there 
went my bonus out the window and there I was with no money. So I 
borrowed from a man in town, this particular man that I go to, it is a 
barber man. I pawned my title to him for enough money for a tank of 
gas. That is all it takes me to get from Buena Vista to Farmington, 
X. Mex., one tank, that is good enough. 

Most of the times I coast, if I can find a hill big enough to coast — 
well, I coast and I send the money back to the man when I get to where 
I know some of my friends can help me. That is how I wind up losing 
my bonus. 

It is too much money, I guess, for them to have to gi^e up. 

]Mr. Chertkov. Do you hear of this happening with a lot of j-our 
friends? 

]Mr. Pebeahsy. A lot of them, not just only me. It happens to a lot 
of them. A lot of them they get stuck. We run into one once in a while 
and where we get together, maybe I and two or three other families 
that we know, we pool money and send him home. 

We used to once here several years back live in a granary. That is 
when my family got sick and I asked the man during the early hours 
of the morning to take us to the bus station and he said, "I got no time, 
I am busy." I said, 'Tt would not take you over 5 minutes to run 5 
miles," and he said, "No; wait until the evening." They will take us 
to town. 

Mr. Chertkov. This was the farmer? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. This was the farmer; yes. And yet we was good 
enough to work for him and live in this granary where you could lay 
down, have no bed, no stove. We cooked our meals outside on the 
ground and in the same granery you could lay doAvn and count every 
star in the sky. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. And the same man lets the people work in the rain, 
too. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Tliey make you work in the rain, not because you 
want to. It is when he has got his potatoes on the ground. If it rains, 
he is always afraid it is going to freeze, but he don't care about you. 



210 

All he cares about is them potatoes and that hior stofrie cigar he has in 
his mouth. 

Mr, Chertkov. Would you say this is true for most of the farmers 
you work for? 

^Ir. Pebeamsy. The ones we work for ; yes. 

]\rr. Chertkov. ^-N^ien your little boy was sick, and when you went 
to the bus station late that night, w'here did you go ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We caught the late bus, we caught the late bus back 
to Farmington. We didn't get all the way to Farmington. 

Mr. Chertkov. What city did you leave from ? 

]Mr. Pebeahsy. Buenta Vista, Colo. We didn't get to Farmington. 
That late bus, when it left Buena Vista, it went through Durango, but 
it didn't go in through Farmington because it was a through bus from 
Durango straight to Albuquerque, so we were still about 18 miles from 
Farmington and about 55 miles from the Indian hospital where we 
stayed that night. 

We didn't have much money and what we did have we paid for a 
room to get out of the cold, because it was way late in November. We 
had maybe around $25 or $30, what we could borrow from our friends 
and pawn stuff that we have. 

Mr. Chertkov. Wliat Indian hospital was that ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Ship Kock. 

!Mr. Chertkov. AVhat was wrong with the little boy then ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Like I say, we lived in the granery and when it 
rained, you got water in the house, you got w^ater in the granery. We 
had no beds, most of the time we slept on the floor. 

We had blankets, but not enough for the floor and not enough for 
cover. That is how my son got sick. I asked the farmer why we have to 
li\"e like this and even the health department from that county come 
out there and took our picture and that is all we heard of it. 

We asked about it. We said, "What do you take these ]:)ictures for if 
you are not going to do nothing for us?" They said, "Well, I will see 
what I can do" and that w^as 5 or 6 years ago and I ain't never seen the 
man again. Maybe he was just acting, I don't know. 

^Irs. Pebeahsy. I think it was about 7 years ago. 

]\Ir. Pebeahsy. I went back to the Farmington office and I told the 
director there and I told him just how we were treated but he can't do 
nothing. All he does is recruit us for the farmer. That is the same story 
everywhere. 

We can't get nobody. We can't sit down and talk to anybody. ^Vlio 
are they goin^ to believe? They are not going to believe lis. "Oh, yes, 
these guys just get drunk and tear up everything I put in there", but 
that is not so. 

We admit, like I say, we have some })oys that does do that, but on 
the whole not everybody. But that is no reason for them to treat us that 
way. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do vou think the farm labor service agent is doine 
hisiob? 

^Ir. Pebeahsy. Somebody ought to do something for somebody 
somewhere. I don't know w^here it should begin or where it should stari:, 
but it's got to be done in a hurry. 

Mr. Steinberg. When you had to travel so far to the Indian hospital 
when your wife was sick and when your son was sick, weren't there 
any closer hospitals you could have gone to ? 



211 

Mr. Pebeahsy. There was, but the first thing they asked ns for is 
liave you got insurance. No ; we don't have any. We can't buy it l^ecause 
we don't lia\'e the money to pay for it with. And the farmer surely is 
not going to take care of us. He is not going to help us. He says, "That 
is your problem." 

Sure, sure, that is my problem and we try to do the best we can to get 
him to the hospital when we can. They don't care nothing about the 
migrant worker. He is just there to get what this farmer wants done 
and then after you get done, you are a tramp again. 

The only time they do anything for you is when they need you and 
they come around and pat you on the back like a little pup. That is tiaie. 

Mr. JoHxsox. How is the care at the Indian hospital ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Their care is good. They take care of you because 
that is their job and they are real good at it. 

Mr, JoHxsox. Do you need more of them ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We could use more. We could always use more. 

Mr. JoHxsox. Is there a waiting list for beds ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I don't know but on the Indian reservation in 
Arizona and New Mexico and Utah, they got over 95,000 Indians 
alone. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. They treat you good, clean your bandages and clean 
sheets every morning, clean up every morning and every afternoon. 

They are not bad like the farmers. 

]Mr. Pebeaitsy. I just wish somebody here could come around, not 
come when somebody says so-and-so is going to come, he is going to 
come and look around and see how our workers live, let's fix up a litie 
house, just as soon as he goes we will take them out and put somel^ody 
else in there. 

Right after they announce they are going to come, we see them once 
in awhile. We see in the paper where so-and-so is coming down here. 

They say we will fix up things and just as soon as they are gone to 
hell with them. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do you have social security coverage ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes ; I have. 

Mr. Cheutkov. Does your wife ? 

^Ir. Pebeahsy. Yes. 

Mr. Chertkov. Does your employer deduct for social security? 

]Mr. Pebeahsy. That I don't know, I could not swear to that. 

Mr. Chertkov. How are you paid, in cash ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy, We are paid by clieck all the time, we are paid by 
check. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do you get a check stub with it ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No. We don't get no check stub. 

Mr. Chertkov. So when you get the check you don't know what has 
been deducted ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No, All we know is it has been deducted what we owe 
the farmer if we happen to borrow money from him. Outside of that I 
have always l)een told after you make a certain amount of money then 
you start paying your social security and I don't know how true that is ; 
can you tell me ? 

^Ir, Chertkov, Do you work as much as 20 days for one farmer ? 

Mr, Pebeahsy, Sometimes we do. 

Mr. Chertkov, Do you ever make more than $150 for one farmer ? 

^Ir. Pebeahsy. Not per person we don't : no. 



212 

Mr. Stktnrero. Does tlio FiinruM- oxov ask you what your social 
security numhor is'^ 

Mr. Pkhkaiisv. Yes; he does, he asks us. Then usually I don't know 
how this is in some ])laces but tlieu usually they always make it to 
where one pei'son will draw the money up to a certain amount and then 
somebody else will switch in and he draws the money. 

Maybe that is how this is done, I don't know. 

Mr. CiiKHTKOv, Maybe that is a way of avoiding- social security 
co\erap:e. 

Mrs. l^KUKAiisY. Down at Phoenix when you are a worker — a piece 
worker, they always do. 

They take a little money, like we work piece work by tlie hour, piece 
work in onions, carrots, and then for every so nuich amount of money 
you make they take several pemiies out but they don't tell you what 
that pennies is for. 

1 have asked twice, two or three times. Oh, you know after awhile 
you know how much you are goinfj to get or you get a slip showing 
wliere this went to. 

But then I don't hear or I don't get no sli[) or maybe it has been lost 
in the shulUe somewhere. 

Then in this particular example of this cami) in Phoenix they have 
a square, on one end is Peoria Avenue that comes ort' of Black Canyon 
Highway, that is the only side that does not have no outhouse. 

But this outhouse starts here and goes all the way around to this 
other end so you can't help but get tlie smell of any outhouse if you 
come froui any direction. That is one of the filthiest places 1 have ever 
seen. 

I don't see how in the world that labor department ever passes that 
camp. I don't. 

Mr. CiiKirrivOv. lla\e labor de])ar1ment oflicials ever been there ^ 

Mr. Pkhkaiisv. If they have. 1 have never seen them. Because I did 
not wait here to look for them, I have to get out and work. 

I don't know who comes, I don't know who has been there or who is 
going to be there. 'I'hey don't announce to us who is coming. They don't 
tell us. 

But I do know they have a big fancy looking office. Several years 
back I seen their office. Tt was no better than the house we were living 
in but lunv they have a hedge around that office. 

They don't want to have to look at our camp, I guess, maybe, T don't 
know. 

]Mr. CiTERTKoy. This is the State labor department or the Federal 
Labor Department : do you know? 

]\[r. Pkhkahsv. No: t don't know. I could not tell you, sir. I don't 
know who ever comes in. But there are several camjis in Phoenix that 
ai-e in that same shai)e. maybe worse. 

Mr. (^iiKirrivov. Hom- do you get medical ser\ice for your chihlren ? 
Do thev get vaccinations? 

Mr. Pkueahsy. Yes; we get vaccinations through the Ship Rock and 
Indian hospital. 

Mv. Johnson. The Indian hospital of the Public Health Sei-vice? 

Mr. Pkueahsy. Yes; that is right. 

Mr. CHERTKcn-. When you are in Colorado aiv you near a reservation ? 

^Ir. Pkueahsy. No; the nearest reservation is the Xavajo Reservation 



213 

which is about maybe 150 to 175 miles around through Durango or 
either Grand Junction and back down. 

But there in Colorado in this Holly they take care of all our medical. 
Tliat is the only place that I know of that they don't say you can just 
get so much with the medical attention. 

You get all you need. 

Tliat is the only place I know of that is that way. But the others in 
San Louis Valley County in Xew Mexico they would not take care of 
you unless you had the money or unless you had a big chunk of 
insurance. 

Mr. Chertkov. Are you registered to vote. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Well, let me tell you. If there are any politicians here 
I don't mean to hurt anybody. I don't vote for nobody Ijecause nobody 
does anything for me. 

I like to \ote, but I, just like a lot of them, says, can't stay in one 
i)lace where your residency is required. 

I don't stay in one place long enough to vote. 

But I read quite a bit anyway. 

I am not, I don't hold no malice or grudge to anybody, who ever 
wants to run for office. Like they say it is a free country. 

But in some places where we work we don't think it is free or it don't 
seem that way to us anyway. 

But if these people that run for these offices would come out and see 
what we live in, like they go out and meet the people and find where 
we live or how we are living when we are working then they might do 
something for us, maybe. 

But I don't know when that will be; someday, I hope. 

But I believe we deserve having everything that was written in the 
Constitution. We are not getting it. I don' know why. We are just a for- 
gotten bunch somewhere along the road. Somebody forgot to include 
the people that works the stuii" that everybody uses. 

I don't know where it is going to go but I just come to say what I 
just said. 

I wish I had the money and the powder to bring some more with me 
that can really give you a story that would really cheer you up. There 
is a lot of them, there is a whole l>unch of the Indians. 

I am not trying to raise Cain with the Government or the BIA. I am 
not talking about them. That is not my grudge to them. But I just 
think we deserve very better treatment. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. About 2 or ?> years ago they had a guard in the 
place. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. They did for a while and there was a misunder- 
standing: and that was cleared up pretty quickly. 

Mrs. Pebeastiy. He cleared it up — he cleared the cops out. 

Mr. Chertkov. The police were bothering yon ? 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. Xo; they had guards at the gate but they had a 
problem at that time. 

The persons that don't drink, they tried to search us that year. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. They had a problem there with Ijoys like everywhere 
else that were drinking and raising Cain. 

They are searching all the cars and the people going into the camp 
where we come to work, voluntarily. So I told the superintendent there 



214 

I went to his office and I told liim J don't like the way j^on are treating 
us and me. 

I said I come here from Oklahoma and I said you did not come to 
get me with a guard and gun and I said I am going to see what can 
be done about this real quick. 

Then my wife she called the chairman of the Navajo Tribe and he 
in turn called back to the office and that incident was taken care of 
very quickly and there was never any more guards there and we have 
all always told them that we are not going to stand for that. 

So that was just the only incident there in Holly. But that was a 
misunderstanding that somebody did not think what they were doing at 
the moment. 

Mr. Chertkov. Have you had any other situations when you traveled 
through a city, to buy gas or to buy groceries where you just were not 
accepted by the community ? 

You mentioned the hospital situation. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I will tell you, Mr. Chertkov, we don't travel much 
during the day. We don't hardly travel during the day because during 
the day is the time when the children want to stop and again want 
something all the time. 

For what limited funds we have we try to travel at night or late in 
the evening when it starts getting dark when we can travel on through 
the night and maybe once in a while the wife and I drink coffee to 
keep awake. 

We don't travel during the day because we don't have the money. 
But if we do stop we stop at night, somewhere we just stop alongside 
the road and nap for an hour or so and go on again. 

But that is why we try to travel at night because we don't have the 
money. If the kids do want something we don't have anj-thing to give 
them. 

]Mr. Chertkov. Will your daughter go on to college ? 
Mr. Pebeahsy. I don't know, I am afraid to say now. If it happens 
I don't know, but we do have a good friend that is helping my son. 

Mr. Chertkov. You would like her to, it is just the financial re- 
sources. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Each tribe I guess has funds for their children but 
we don't think that any of our children at the rate that Ave are going 
in the migrant stream will stay long enough in one place to finish high 
school. 

When we do leave home now and we go back, if we happen to go 
back if she is in the eighth grade now when we get back she will be in 
the eighth grade again next year because she missed out 3 or 4 weeks of 
school. 

She has to go back to the same grade again and go over. 
That is what has happened. That is Avhy our oldest son now, one of 
the oldest sons we have with us he went back to the 10th grade 3 years 
in a row because he missed out 3 weeks, maybe 2 weeks. 

Then we talked to a friend of ours in Boulder who was good enough 
to help my son to get to Pueblo to this scliool where he can get a general 
education diploma. 

This man is Prof. Jonathan Chase. He is the kind of man that 
we like to see around every day. 



215 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. We don't know him the first time. My little boy 
knoAv him first and he bring him to the house and we shake hands 
with him and started talking. I thought he was just a worker or how do 
you call it? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. The way he was dressed at that time did not fit with 
his profession anyway. 

We did not know who he was and we were leary of him ourselves 
just like we are of any person that comes into the camp and that is a 
white man and comes in to the camp. 

We don't want to talk to him unless we 1-aiow what he is there for. 

Then we always try to feel him out. We did not know him when he 
told us what he was. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. You found it out in the newspaper ? 

Mr. Pebeashy. I found it — I seen him in the newspaper, and I did 
not think he was the same person because he did not look the same. 

Mr. Chertkov. Let the record show that Prof. Joanathan Chase 
at the University of Colorado School of Law has worked with migrant 
workers as a farmworker. 

]Mr. Pebeahsy. He worked with us 2 years. 

]Mr. Chertkov. At times he does not appear as a law professor. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. His nickname in the camp was Custer. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. My little boy and my kids call him Custer. 

jNIr. Pebeahsy. I believe he took every kid in camp riding on that 
cycle and he had and I believe we w^ere all kind of very sad to see him 
go. But he is coming back again this summer, he told us. 

At least vre will have somebody there that we like. 

Mr. Steinberg. Has Professor Chase been able to represent you as a 
lawyer ? 

Do you have access to a lawyer ? 

Mr.* Pebeahsy. There was a group there last year. 

I guess they came in late. So we did not get too well acquainted witli 
them. But Professor Chase said they will be there maybe this time in 
the next week, maybe this week sometime I believe is what he was 
referring to, 

A lot of people do get hung on car deals. 

]Mr. Chertkov. How does that happen ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Well the first time when we came in May 5, we seen 
these cars in these lots where they are marked down maybe $300 or 
$400 and then maybe another couple of more day and we go by the 
same lot and the cars are jacked up maybe another $150 or $200. 

]Mr. Chertkov. Why are the prices raised ? 

jNIr. Pebeahsy. Because it is sugar beet time and they know the In- 
dians are going to have a little money and they know if the Indian 
wants that car badl}' enough he will buy it. 

That is how most of them buy their vehicles. They go back home or 
maybe from there they go up to Idaho country for potatoes. 

That is how. Because they come in there on a bus and they have to 
have transportation to go on further north to another harvest which is 
potatoes. 

That is how several of them pool their money together and go on. 

]\Ir. Chertkov. You mentioned that the ]:)rice on groceries is raised, 
and the price on cars, are there any other tilings like that you know of ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Those are the two chief ones. 



216 

Mr. Chektkov. Do you think the price of gasoline goes up ? 

INIr. Pebeahsy. Once in awhile they have a gas war. I don't know. 
While we were there this past week while we are getting gas in the 
morning the price went up one penny even before they put it in our 
tank. 

I said go ahead and put it in there. Being as we are here we want — 
we can't worry about that penny. It was 33.9 and before we got the gas 
it was 34.9. I guess this company had to put the price of the gas up. 

So I don't know myself. I just go ahead and pay what it says on the 
meter. 

Mr. CiiERTKOv. Would you like to tell us something, just as a mother, 
about how you feel wnth your husband working so hard. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. I don't really know. I don't know how to say it. 

Mr. Chertkov. Is it difficult to raise children ? 

Do you make clothes for your children ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No ; I buy clothes for my kids. They don't like what 
I make. They are not good for it. I buy my children's myself and I fix 
my clothes myself. For my kids I have to work for it and get some 
money and buy what they want. 

I get it for them. I don't sav "Xo.'' I can't say "No." 

]Mr. Williams (office of Senator Bellmon). In Oklahoma you can 
register in Cache and you can vote wherever you are. So if you want to 
start voting all you have to do is register and vote back there and write 
in for an absentee ballot and it will be mailed to you. 

You can vote. It does not make any difference if you are in Kala- 
mazoo. I roam all over the United States and I never miss an election. 
Incidently where did you ixo to school ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Fort Sill Indian School. 

Mr. Chertkov. If there were any laws that could be passed, which 
laws would you think are most needed, are most necessary ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. The law I would like to see most passed is to be able 
to bargain like our industrial brothers around the country. 

If we think we are not being treated fair we would like to be al)le 
to sit down and negotiate for better treatment for a better price, a living- 
wage is all we are after. 

We are not trying to be multiple millionaires, we want to sit down 
and eat a half decent meal where we will be satisfied and we know our 
kids will be. We would like to see that come. 

Now I don't know who sets these prices, the Government or the Ag- 
riculture Department, but I believe they maybe should come out and 
work for awhile and see how we do life and see how we make our money. 

Since I have been here I have listened to some people, not here in this 
building, but they asked about how we live and what we eat, how we 
work, and I just tell them I can't explain it to you but all I can say is 
come and live and work with us and you won't ha^e to just read a 
story somebody writes, you can live it first and know what it is. 

That is better than sitting here telling you. It is a whole lot better. I 
have always been told experience is the best medicine. We live in a 
hogan, my wife and I when we are in New ISIexico. 

This past winter that is where we lived. When my wife went to the 
hospital I had no money. Just as soon as she come out she was able to 
travel we went to the office in Crown Point and we told them we have 
no money and had nothing to eat and were living in a hogan and my 



217 

kids were not going to school because we had no decent clothes for them. 

So they helped us out, the tribe did. The Navajo Tribe was good to 
help us out through the hardest part of the winter. For our fuel the 
Navajo Tribe had an open pit mine where we went and got our coal 
ourselves and you have to dig it yourself and the snow is biting you in 
the back end. 

We went and got it to keep our children warm. 

Mr. Johnson. Did your children go to school in the winter ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. After January 1 I put my daughter to school after 
we got a little money from the tribe to help her buy a few clothes and 
she got on the school lunch, they do that for all the Indians there 
around there because I guess they get Federal aid from the Govern- 
ment, I believe. 

I am not sure but she did get on the lunch program for which she 
did not have to pay. But my young son did not come of school a^e 
until after the school started so he won't be going to school until this 
fall. 

Mr. Johnson. He will be going into first grade ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes. 

Mr. Johnson. Where will you be? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We are going to try to get him in the mission school, 
if we can. We put an application for it. Right there by my mother-in- 
law's home. It IS a Brethren in Christ mission, is what they call it. 

You pay a certain amount of money, 25 or 30 dollars a year and that 
takes care of that, I don't see how they can do it that cheap. 

Mr. Johnson. And he will stay there the w^hole year? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Oh, yes; it is a mission, they have a mission and a 
hospital right there too that they take care of all the schoolchildren. 

Mr. Johnson. That is an all Indian school ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes, just for Indian children. 

Mr. Williams. Is that in Oklahoma ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No, New Mexico. 

Mr. Johnson. What city is that ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. It is about 30 miles southeast of Bloomfield, N. Mex. 
It is out there in the boondocks, what anybody else would say. 

There is nothing but sage brush. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do most Indians that do any migrant farm work 
speak English ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Some, not very many. 

Some maybe quit school, like my wdfe, she quit school in the third 
grade. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. I can't go any farther up so I might as well quit. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. A lot of them get their education. 

Mr. Chertkov. Why couldn't you go farther up ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I can't go up, I was too dumb for it. 

Mr. Chertkov. Does the inability to speak English have an impact 
on the life of these other Indians that are migrant workers ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do you know from your friends of situations where 
they were having hardships because of language difficulties ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes ; we have it right there in Delta. Some can't un- 
derstand English and they know my wife and I and they come talk to 
my wife and they talk to my w'ife and they talk to us and my wife 

36-513 O — 70 — pt. 1 ^15 



218 

talks to me and I interpret for them and I tell my wife what they say 
and she in turn will interpret back to the Indian. 

That is how we get some of our sayings across to some. But they 
still don't listen. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. I learned how to talk English from him and my 
kids, they talk English to me, that is how I learn a little more hard 
words now. 

I was not like that before. 

Mr. Johnson, Many of the people that you work with and their 
children could speak English much less perfectly than you do, sir, 
is that correct ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do some of the places you work have both Mexican 
Americans and Indians ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes ; in all places, in Delta, in St. Louis Valley and 
also in Phoenix. 

Mr. Chertkov. What relationship do you have with Mexican 
Americans. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Our relationship with them is good because they are 
migrant workers just like ourselves we get along good with them. 

We have no trouble because we are only trying to make a living 
just like they do. In this camp in Delta they have rows, four rows of 
homes, three rows belong to the Indians and this last row on this right 
side belongs to the Spanish people. 

They stay on one side and we stay on the other but there is no fence 
in between. We communicate everyday, we talk to one another and 
we talk about our work and what kind our field is and how are the 
farmers paying us. 

Mr. Chertkov. The conditions are the same on both sides of the camp 
are they ? 

Mr. Pebeashy. Yes; they are both the same, one is not treated no 
better than the other. 

Of course that is the only place I know of that it is that way. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do you think that the cities that you both travel 
through, that Mexican Americans travel through and that Indians 
travel through, treat both groups the same ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I could not say anything about that because like I 
said awhile ago I don't travel where I can stop and converse with 
anybody. 

I try to travel at night. So I don't get to know. 

Mr. Chertkov. If the Mexican Americans have problems with health 
like you were mentioning with your wife and your children, can they 
get health care any closer to where they work than you can? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. In Delta they can get the same treatment that we 
get at the hospital, the company pays for it. But elsewhere I could 
not speak anything about that. Probably just like us, like in the pota- 
toes and we have to get what the sick person needs, or we sit home and 
try to bring them through ourselves. 

Mr. Chertkov. Are there any Negroes in the area where you work ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No, I have never seen any. 

Mr. Chertkov. Are there any wetbacks ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. It has been talked about among the workers in the 
camp in several camps or different places where we have been, that 



219 

they are around and especially in Buena Vista Center. I see these im- 
migration officers they are around. So if the wetback is not there what 
are they doing there ? 

He has to be around there somewhere. We worked with one last fall. 
He worked right in the same bin we worked with and how he got his 
pay without his social security number I don't know. 

But he got it. 

Mr. Chertkov. Do you think the farmers brought him in ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. I don't know, I could not say that. 

He was there, he just told me he was there, he just told me he was 
a wetback and you could tell he was a wetback, and he is not dressed 
like the Mexican and he doesn't understand. 

You can stand there and cuss him up and down one side and he won't 
know what you are saying. At least the Mexican American here knows 
what you are talking about to him but this boy did not know nothing. 

But he worked anyway. And there were several of them in that 
potato growers warehouse. But who they stayed with I don't know. 

We just see them come in the morning and go out in the evening 
and we don't know who they stay with. 

Mr. Chertkov. You mentioned that the migrant labor camp in 
Phoenix, that the outhouses were on the rim of the camp further 
east from the road, so that they could not be seen from the road, is that 
right? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. You could see them from the road. 

They are not right along the road. But this Peoria Avenue comes 
off the main road from Flagstaff and this Peoria Avenue runs down 
here and the camp is right on this side here. 

Tlie outhouses are right on the rim, on the inside of the fence, and 
the outhouse starts and then your houses in there. 

Mr. Chertkov. Would you say that most of the places that you 
have lived and where you have worked, are away from the road ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Yes. This farmer where we live for the broom corn 
is about maybe 4 or 5 miles off the road, where this place was \yhere 
we lived where we all used the same outhouse, all of them, Mexicans 
and Indians and the children and we all used the same house. 

It has been there I don't know how many years since I have been 
going there that I remember, that house has never changed except he 
moves it once in awhile when ever he feels like moving it. 

Mr. Chertkov. If you went back to Colorado and called the health 
department about that situation, what would they say ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. Nothing, they ask who are you? 

I said I am an Indian migrant and my name is Frank Pebeahsy, I 
want to make a com]Dlaint. 

"It will be awhile before we can come out there, but we will be 
there" and that is as far as it goes. They don't come out and talk to 
us, the worker, about the abuses that is being given to us or the women 
being treated. 

They ask the farmer, he says, "Yes, I am going to correct it right 
quickly" and after he is gone, then he comes back again and the farmer 
says, I forgot about it. I was pretty busy but I will do it now." 

It is the same old story, the same old cycle, word after word. There 
ain't nothing that we can do. We can go home, sure, but like I said we 
are there with no money. 



220 

We borrow money to go there but we can't make the farmer do 
anything. 

We can ask him and that is all we can do, it is got to be people up 
here that can make these conditions change. 

The laws have to be passed. They can be strictly enforced, not just to 
send somebody out there just stay for maybe four or five minutes, 
maybe five at the most, and they are gone. 

You don't see them no more. 

Mr. Chertkov. Is there anything more that you want to contribute, 
that you want to add to this record ? 

Mr. Pebeahsy. No, there is not much more that I can add. But I 
would like to say this one thing, that I wish somebody would come out 
and see how we are living, that is all I would like to ask. 

That is not much. 

The Government here spends oh, I don't know what I read millions 
and millions across the countries for people, like foreign aid or some 
stuff like that, I don't know, I don't read the records that they have 
here, too good. 

But they then have nothing for us, their own people. 

Mrs. Pebeahsy. They could help across the ocean, they should 
help us. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. They should chahge the laws for us to where we 
can have a decent wage to where we can walk down the street like 
everybody else with our head high. 

Mr. Chertkov. It is a very frustrating process for us, too. We are 
trying our best and we are deeply appreciative of your coming here. 
You should feel assured that you have made an important contribu- 
tion to the subcommittee's study of powerlessness. 

Mr. Pebeahsy. We will, sir. Thank you. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you very much again for coming to 
Washington to present your experiences as a migrant farmworker. 
Your testimony will I am sure, prove to be one of the most important 
parts of our hearing record. 

At this point I order printed prepared statements, and other x>er- 
tinent material supplied for the record. 

(The material follows :) 



REPORT OF THE 
YAKIMA VALLEY PROJECT 



Charles E. Ehlert 

American Civil Liberties Union 

Smith Tower, Seattle, Washington 

March, 1969 

(221) 



222 



"I was born in Grand Junction, Colorado and I am 44 years 
old. My parents are dead - they were from Guadalajara, Mexico, 
and never became U.S. citizens even though they lived here for a long 
time. I was raised in Pueblo, Colorado. My father did field work 
there and also worked in a steel mill and on the railroad - he never 
made much in any of these jobs. My mother never worked for a 
living until my father's death. She never made much money and things 
got pretty bad for us then. There were 19 kids back then, plus 
four step-brothers. Of all these only five are alive now besides 
me... They are all married and mostly do farm work, except the 
boy, ... who v/orks in the same steel mill as our father did a long time 
ago. My dead brothers and sisters died mainly of pneumonia, though 
some died at birth too. Some died from accidents while they were 
working. In Pueblo I lived in em all Mexican barrio. Most of the 
people worked in the fields or in the brick yard or in the steel 

mill - they v/ere all laborers My father died in the winter tine 

topping beets, in lone, Colorado. He was working in water and got 
pneumonia. I v/as six at the time. 

"After that we traveled a lot to find work and I never 
really did get to go to school much. We went to Montana, Wyoming 
emd other parts of Colorado, during the summer mostly working in 
the sugar beets. The whole family got about t\-7elve dollars for 
weeding an acre of beets. So we were poor. In the winter we were 
alv/ays on relief. Welfare even helped us bury one of our step-brothers 
^■Jhen I was in school, my mother used to go to school some times and 
explain that the reason I didn't come to school regularly was that 
I didn't have shoes. The principal would give us second-hand shoes 
and clothing. Once my brother even had to wear girl's shoes - that 
was funny in a way except that all the other kids. were wearing better 
clothing and it made you feel bad. My mother did odd jobs too to 
get money for food, so we never 'starved. 

"I worked too. I used to hire out to people and work in 
their kitchens making tortillas. Sometimes I made five dollars a 
day. I finally left school for good when I was fourteen. My mother 
said she took me out because a lot of girls were getting in trouble 
and running away. Actually it was because she v/as sick. Her feet 
were s\>^ollen a lot and sometimes she had convulsions. Because she 
was sick cind because of the work I never did get to go to school more 
than about tt^o or three months a year. We were traveling north and 
looking for work in the sugar beets - thinning, hoeing and topping 
the beets 

"I don't travel much now and only work in the beets 

because I guess you could say I v;as born and raised in the beets 

Times are better for us now. We have a little money, though v;e ov7e 
a little too, and we own our car. We have a little in the bank for 
emergencies, because you never knov; v;hen you'll need it again. 

- Statement of a Mexican-American v;oinan. 



223 



TABLE OP CONTENTS 

REPORT OF YAKIMA VALLEY PROJECT . . i i i .«. i ...... « i i . « . ♦ i ♦ 1 

1. YAKIMA VALLEY i..«..i 2 

2. AGRIBUSINESS .♦,,,..,. 6 

3. THE CYCLE OF POVERTY H 

k, EDUCATION 15 

5. HEALTH 20 

6. EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES 23 

7. HOUSING 35 

8 . WELFARE ^^2 

9. POLICE PRACTICES AND CRIMINAL PROCEEDING ^7 

10. VOTING 55 

11 . ORGANIZATION 6l 

12. LEGAL AID IN THE YAKIMA VALLEY 6? 

• 13. THE YAKIMA VALLEY PROJECT 71 

Ik. RECOMMENDATION 77 

FOOTNOTES. r • • ^ 



1 - 



224 



"A board -walled stockade, with a walk foi' 
guards and barbed wire around the top and 
with floodlights, probably can be completed 
by Monday night In order to house prisoners 
taken by the county In Thursday's labor agi- 
tation disturbances* said O.E. Brashears, 
county engineer, who has general charge of 
the work." Yakima Morning Herald , Saturday, 
August 26, 1933, page 5, column ^. 



"If thou seest the oppression of 
the poor, and violent perverting 
of Judgment and justice In a pro- 
vince, marvel not at the matter,,,' 
Ecclestlastes 5«8 



REPORT OF YAKIMA VALLEY PROJECT 
By Charles E, Ehlert, Director March I969 

This report is based upon the work, largely during the 
summer of I968, of the American Civil Liberties Union Yakima 
Valley Project, a pilot program to provide legal services 
for Yakima Valley farm workers, to participate in educational 
activities among farm workers, and to study the legal pro- 
blems of farm workers, and the means of finding some solutions 
for them. This report Incorporates a s\immary of the findings, 
observations and activities of the project staff. Much of 
the report is based upon conversations in the fields and camps 
of the Valley, with, farm workers, local leaders, a'gency person- 
nel and others who have worked with farm workers, and upon ex- 
periences in the courts of the Valley. Much of the legal re- 
search was done by law students on the staff during the summer 
of 1968. 

- 1 - 



225 



1. YAKIMA VALLEY . The Yakima Valley Is an arid basin 
on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains In the Columbia 
drainage of central Washington, thro\igh which the Yakima River 
and Its tributaries flow. It extends from the high orchards 
In the bottoms on the Ellensburg, Naches and Tleton Canyons on 
the Northwest, southeasterly to the barren, brown Horse Haven 
Hills, a distance of about 60 miles, and from the Klickitat 
watershed below the glaciers of Mt. Adams, easterly to long 
sagebrush ridges paralleling the Columbia River, nearly 70 miles 
across at its broadest. The central Valley Is a broad flat plain, 
watered by a system of Irrigation ditches carrying water down 
from storage reservoirs In the Cascades, and Is pinched to- 
gether In the middle at Union Gap, where the Yakima River runs 
through a narrow notch between Ahtanum and Rattlesnake Ridges, 
dividing the Valley Into Lower Valley, where row crops predomi- 
nate, and the slightly cooler Upper Valley, where most of the 
tree fruits are groim. The central Irrigated portion of the 
Valley averages about 15 miles In width. 

Yakima County, which Is roughly coextensive with the 
Valley, has an area of about 2.75 million acres, about one- 
half of which are Irrigated. Two-thirds of the land In Yakima 
County Is In federal ownership. In the Naches National Forest, 
the Yakima Firing Center, a military reservation, and the Yakima 
Indian Reservation. Much of the productive farmland and several 
of the Lower Valley towns, principally Wapato and Toppenlsh, 
are located on the Reservation, the land being either leased 
or deeded away by the Indians. The City of Yakima, located 

- 2 - 



226 



In the Upper Valley, Is the Valley's largest community and the 
county seat. It Is about 150 miles southeast of Seattle. 

The permanent population of Yakima County is some- 
what over 15^ 1 000, most of whom are Anglo-Americans ("Anglos.") 
Besides Anglos there are Mexican-Americans, the next most nu- 
merous group, Yakima Indians, Negroes, Filipinos, and a few 
Cubans. In i960 "non-whites" in Yakima County numbered 6,293, 
of whom 3.007 were Indians, 1,626 were Negroes, 410 were Fili- 
pinos, 271 wei-e Japanese and 92 were Chinese. 

The Negro population includes many people recruited as 
farm workers from one particular town in Louisiana, Jonesborough, 
and is largely located in and aroxmd the City of Yakima, with 
some families living in the Lower Valley, near the hops. The 
Mexican- American, Indian and other minority groups are heavily 
concentrated In the Lower Valley j Indians, in and arovind the 
towns of White Swan, Wapato and Toppenlsh; and Mexican-Americans, 
in and around Wapato, Harrah, Toppenish, Granger, Sunnyside and 
Mabton. In the absence of any accurate count, the Mexican- 
American population is variously estimated by the local O.E.O. 
anti-poverty program at about 8,000 and by the Mexican-American 
Federation at about 12,000. Mexican-Americans tend to work in 

the row crops of the Lower Valley, and Anglos, in the orchards 

2 
of the Upper Valley. The term "Anglo" is commonly used to refer 

3 

to a white person who is not of Mexican ancestry. 

Migration has always been a part of the life in the 
xul ima Valley, since the earliest Indians made the annual trips 
to the Colxunbia River during the salmon runs, and to the mountsins 

- 3 - 



227 



around Mt. Adams In the fall to pick berries. These habits 
are still strongly Ingrained In Indian life, as I learned when 
a law student sent to White Swan to interview an Indian woman 
over 100 years old found she had left for "the mountains" to 
pick huckleberries. 

The Valley was first settled by Anglos after the Indian 
wars were settled by treaty In 1855 » 200 people lived In the 
Valley by 1865, and the population had grown to about 3,000 by 
1880. 

A few Japanese farmers and Filipino workers had come to 

7 

the Valley by the early 1930* s. When Filipinos first arrived 

In Toppenlsh aro\md September 1928 to harvest field crops, they 

8 
were forced to leave town by a "group" of local residents. 

During the 1930' s many "Arkles" and "Okies" and other 

Anglo refugees from the drought states and the Dust Bowl, some 

of them dispossessed from their own land, came into the Yakima 

Valley, some via California and Oregon, seeking farm work. The 

same movements continue today, and Arkansas license plates are 

9 

not unusual in the labor camps among the upper Valley fruit orchards. 

Among the Negroes In the Valley, a number have been re- 
cruited by Sicks Hop Ranch and Cahodas, Lancaster and Frank in 
Yakima since World War II from Jonesboro, Louisiana. By 1968 
the crew leader who had brought many of these people to Yakima 
had gained some notoriety, and it was hard to find a Negro from 
Jonesboro who didn't have a story to toll about "Willie Bob Single- 
ton", usually one concerning broken promises and long rides in 
the back of a truck. The experience of this group is a model 

- i+ _ 



228 



of the farm labor contractor system. 

Mexican-Americans have come to the Valley since the 
1930's. Neither Hathaway nor Landis mentions them in their 
studies of migrants in Yakima County. In 19^7 Mexicans were 
paid 15 to 25 cents an hour to pick cotton in the Lower Rio 
Grande Valley, owing to the competition from Mexican nationals 
working in the United States. Poor wages and a crop failure 
in the Rio Grande Valley in 19^9 forced Mexican-Americans from 

Hidalgo County, Texas, into the migrant stream, many of whom have 

12 
since settled out in Yakima County. 



- 5 - 



229 



"Regardless of any grievances these 
Individuals may have against society, 
we assert that their misfortune does 
not belong to us..." Statement by a 
committee of farmers, Yakima Morning 
Herald , August 15, 1933. P. 3. c. 67 

2. AGRIBUSINESS . The Yakima Valley is one of the richest 
agricultural areas in the United States, Yakima County ranking 
among the top 15 of about 3,200 counties in the United States 



in the total cash value of its crops, and having been as high as 

Ik 
fourth, A favorable climate, rich volcanic soil of the Columbia 

Basin, access to water and a supply of cheap labor have com- 
bined to create a strong agricultural economy, based upon two 
dozen or more major crops, recently valued at from $117,000,000 
to $125,000,000 per year. The apple crop is the most valuable, 
followed by hops, the oldest crop. Others include peaches, pears, 
cherries, prunes, apricots, grapes, asparagus, mint, sugar beets, 
potatoes, hay, barley, sweet corn, beans, berries and tomatoes. 

The main line of the Northern Pacific Railroad runs 
through the Valley, and the City of Yakima is the shipping point 
for the produce of the Valley. The cold storage capacity of 

Yakima is exceeded only by that of New York and Chicago in the 

17 
United States. 

The County had a total labor force of about 55.000 in 
1964, of whom about ^5,000 were directly or indirectly asso- 
ciated with agriculture. Most of the non-farm businesses in 
the Valley were service or marketing concerns serving the agri- 

culture industry and employing about 24,000. Hired farm workers 

19 

in Yakima Coionty were paid $22.2 million in 1964. 

- 6 - 



230 



In 1964, 5,^4-^1-0 farms and ranches occupied about 2,099,942 
acres of the area of the Valley, ranging In operation from small 

family farms to large, vertically integrated corporate enters 

20 
prises. Large food companies, farming thousands of acres In 

the Valley, grow food products which are marketed In regional 

and national markets under brand names such as Rainier Beer, 

U and I Sugar, Del Monte, Stokley-Van Camp, Welch and Green Giant, 

Typically, the ownership and management of these businesses Is 

absentee. 

The tendency has been toward more concentration of land 
holdings. Between 1959 and 1964, total farm acreage Increased 
from 1,884,694 acres to 2, 099 » 942 acres, total niunber of farms 
declined from 6,010 to 5.440, the average size of farms In- 
creased from 313.6 acres to 386. acres, the number of all farms 

under 200 acres each decreased, while the niimber of farms of 

20.1 
^00 acres or more each Increased. 

The agricultural Industry Is highly organized. There 
are associations for growers of each of the largest crops, for 
packing and marketing of major crops and there are powerful 
Industry-wide organizations, such as the Farm Bureau and the 
Horticultural Society, The National Farmers Organization, a 
more militant association of smaller farmers, which originated 
in the Mid-West, Is beginning to establish a presence in the 
Yakima Valley. 

Agribusiness extends well beyond the private sector. 
The association of government officials police, sheriffs. 



- 7 - 



231 



prosecutors and legislators with private grower Interests 

Is so close that they can be regarded as extensions of agribusiness. 

During the 1930' s deputy sheriffs guarded hop camps, aided 
by the "Hop Patrol," consisting of State Highway Patrolmen, who 

kept camps and fields "under surveillance, day and night, al- 

21 
ways on the alert for 'labor troubles.'" 

V/hen fruit pickers and growers (differentiated by white 

arm bands) fought a battle at Congdon's Castle In August, 1933 » 

resulting In casualties on both sides, the Yakima County Sheriff 

arrested only the fruit pickers and not the farmers, and the 

Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney met vrlth the farmers and 

County officials prior to filing criminal charges against the 

22 
fruit pickers. Among the farmers armed vrlth pick handles who 

fought the workers, one of the first on the scene was E.A. Ban- 
nister, perhaps the same Edward Bannister later appointed by 
the Yakima County Commissioners to be a Commissioner of the 

Housing Authority of Yakima County, which operates run-down 

23 
shacks for farm workers In the Valley. 

Sheriffs with delegated police powers can serve as re- 
cruiters when labor Is In short supply. Here is a descrip- 
tion of the work-release program operated by Bert Gvms, Yakima 
County Sheriff I 

"The Yakima Valley labor pool Is being supple- 
mented with the help of eight County Jail prisoners who 
are being freed ahead of their release dates to help 
harvest the crops . 

"County Prosecutor Lincoln Shropshire said today 
he prepared orders for release of eight men from the 
County Jail. Their release was requested by Moxee area 
hop growers . 



232 



"Shropshire said the releases were the culmina- 
tion of pleas made both to him and to Sheriff Bert Guns 
by hop growers who could not fill their labor needs... 

"The releases were approved by Justices of the Peace 
George H. Mulllns, Yakima; Raymond P. Held, Toppenlsh; and 
E.V, Cain, Wapato. 

"Judge Mulllns, who also presides In Yakima Muni- 
cipal Court, said he received no request for early re- 
lease of any city prisoner. He said he would be In- 
clined toward leniency to some Individuals If their pre- 
sence In a hopyard or fruit orchard were requested." 2^ 

Legislators from agricultural areas provide exceptionally 
good representation for the growers. On October 29, 1968, a week 
before the November general election, the State Department of Health 
adopted revisions to the Labor Camp regulations, requiring Instal- 
lation of cold running water In cabins and separate sleeping rooms 

for parents of children over six In labor camps, to be Imple- 

25 
mented over a five-year period. On November 19, 1969, Melvln W. 

Ammerman, President of the State Farm Bureau "called upon the 1969 

Legislature to rescind new State Board of Health regulations gover- 

26 

nlng camps for migrant farm laborers." In February, 1969 . Senator 

Jim Matson from Selah, whose wife Barbara Is the Yakima Farm Bureau 
representative, Introduced Senate Bill No. ^7^» which would exempt 
all existing labor camp housing from the operation of the new regu- 
lations. The bill was referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee, 
and Chairman Hubert F. Donohue of Dayton held a hearing on It at 
8j00 A.m. the next morning, before the bill was even printed. No 

witnesses appearing to oppose It, the bill was voted out and sent 

27 
to the Rules Committee within 2k hours of Its Introduction. 

The contrast between the huge subsidies of state and federal 

government for the agriculture business and the systematic neglect 



9 - 



233 



of farm workers and refusal to extend coverage of important 
labor legislation to farm workers, is itself evidence of the ef- 
fectiveness of the political arm of agribusiness. During 1967, 
for instance, the United States Department of Agriculture paid 
an amount conservatively estimated at $2.3 million to Yakima 

Valley farmers in price support payments, of which about $789 i 331 

28 
went to 81 farmers In payments of over $5fOOO each. The same sum- 
mer, Yakima County Deputy Sheriffs followed the Washington State 
Secretary of State around In a tour of make-shift migrant camps 
along the river bank, evicting the vinemployed workers and their 
families, (to the dismay of the Secretary of State, who had told 
the people they could stay where they 



?9 
were. ) 



- 10 



36-513 O - 70 - pt. 1 -- 16 



234 



"The Mexicans vrho, In die territories 
aforesaid, shall not preserve the 
character of citizens of the Mexican 
Republic. . .shall be Incorporated Into 
the Union of the United States, shall 
be admitted at the proper time (to 
be judged by the Concress of the Uni- 
ted States) to the enjoynent of all 
the rights of citizens of the United 
States, according to the principles 
of the Constitution..." Treaty of 
Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Article IX, Feb- 
ruary 2, 1848. 

3. THE CYCLE OF POVERTY . A labor force of betvreen 15.000 
•nd 20,000 is needed to grow and harvest the farm and orchard crops 
In the Yakima Valley each year, of whom about 9»000 are migrants 
who pass throTigh the Valley at some time during the gro:ring season, 
working for periods varying from a few days to several months. The 
ethnic composition of the agricultural labor force in Yakima Is not 

accurately known, but is estimated to be about 50% Mexican-American, 

30 
kO% Anglo, and 10^ Negro, Indian and others. Ethnic composition 

of the migrant labor force for the State of VJashinston as a whole is 

about 40^ Anglo, kl% Mexican-American and 10^ Negro, Indian and I 

other, a ratio which probably under-estlmates the proportion of 

31 
Mexican-Americans in the migrant portion of Yakima's labor force. 

(Nationally, Spanish-Americans comprise about one-foiirth of the 

32 
migratory labor force.) 

Much of Yakima County's share of the million or more mi- 

33 
grant farm workers and their families in the United States is part 

of the West Coast migrant stream, consisting of perhaps a quarter 

of a million people. Typically, they move out of the Rio Grande 

Valley in Texas in the early Spring, fo]Llowlng the crops, across 

the southwestern states, working in citrus fruits and vegetables, 

north through the central valleys of California and into Oregon 

- 11 - 



235 



end Washington. After the late summer crops are harvested, many 
who have made to as far as the Northwest go south to winter over 
In California or In the Rio Grande Valley. Anglo migrants follow 
somewhat different paths, a number of them originating In Oklahoma, 
Arkansas, Missouri and Colorado, and a larger portion of them wln- 
terlng over In California. 

The demand for lat3or In the Valley Is nearly zero during 
the winter months; It begins to rise slouly In March with pruning, 
rises to an early peak In June with asparagus, cherries and thin- 
ning in apples, slacks off through the summer, then rises to Its 
greatest peak In late September ar^d early October with the hops, 
followed by appr.eij, and falls off precipitously In early November 
with the last of the late apples. The same seasonal pattern has 
existed for generations and Is the basic determinative factor in 
the "en-^-less cycle" of "migrant life in the Yakima Valley," to 
which much of the spectrum of problems of fann workers can be 

traced poverty, lack of education, poor housing and health, 

and lack of economic and political power, 

"It has established a pattern of life Into which 
people are born, live, and die, with very little fanfare, 
even nmong thens elves." 36 

Mexican-American families tend to be larger than others, 

the average size for those who have settled out of the migrant 

stream being 6,5 and the average size for migrant Mexican-American 

families belns 6.2, as compared with 3.2 for Anglo farm worker 

37 

families. 

In contrast to the great wealth of the Valley, the lives 
of Yakima Valley farm workers are ordeals of grim poverty, from 

- 12 - 



236 



which there has been little hope of escape and to which the more 
affluent citizens of the Valley, the local and state governments 
and most of the rest of society are largely Indifferent. A 
United States Department of Agriculture study ranked the economic 
status of the rural population of Yakima County among the lowest 
two-fifths of rural populations of all counties In the United 
States, taking Into account a composite of factors, Including de- 
pendency rates, amount of Income, length of schooling, and condl- 
tlon of housing. Yakima farm workers suffer from low wages, lack 
of Job security, poor health, high mortality and Injury rates, 
Inadequate nutrition, education and housing, discriminatory ex- 
clusion from the benefits of social welfare legislation enjoyed 
by others and a lack of political power. The most serious depri- 
vations occur among the Mexican-American migrant farm workers. 

With a growing season that begins In April and lasts until 
October or November, the schooling of children Is often Interrup- 
ted by travel. And because farm workers have little or no mini- 
mum wage protection, are paid low wages, and tend to have large 
families, their children are taken out of school to work In the 
fields to supplement the family Income, Lacking the basic edu- 
cation necessary for higher paying Job skills, the children are 
often locked Into a life of relatively unskilled farm work, the 
lowest paying and third most hazardous occupation In the United 
States, The least educated among them tend to be the first dis- 
placed by farm automation. They have no union. The rest of so- 
ciety has excluded them from labor and social welfare legislation 

- 13 - 



237 



and has disenfranchised them, on considerations of race as much 
as anything else. Farm workers are not able to obtain Justice and 
decent lives for themselves and their children through the normal 
political process. 

In the cycle of poverty In which farm workers and their 

children are locked and especially the migrant Mexican-Americans 

lack of education, low wages, accidents, poor health, lack of Job 
security, poor housing, dls enfranchisement, lack of organization, 
hopelessness and governmental neglect and discrimination are both 
causes and effects of one another, and operate to continue the cy- 
clical blight of poverty In their lives. 



- 11* - 



238 



"The natural consequence of this 
official attitude has been to foster 
a generation Illiterate In both 
languages..." McWllllams, North 
From Mexico , p. 299, 

'+. EDUCATION . Children of farm workers attend school 
less than others, and children of Mexican-American farm workers at- 
tend school the least of all, and are less educated than others. Rea- 
sons reported for Inadequate education of migrant children include 
sporadic attendance, problems resulting from multiple school enroll- 
ment, late entrance and early drop-out, language problems, employment 

of children to supplement family Income, and lack of transporta- 

39 
tlon. The average migrant child In Washington In 1966 attended 

school only 21 weeks out of a 36-week school year. Mexican-Ameri- 
can children among that group attended school on the average only 
17 weeks, less than half the school year. In 1966 nearly 10^ of 
migrant children under ten years, and more than half of the boys 

between ten and fifteen years, worked In agriculture. In the State 

^1 
of Washington. In I966 In Washington 3^^ of the Mexican -American 

migrant children, but only 15/^ of the Anglo migrant children, 

missed school because of travel, while 7% of the Mexican-American 

migrant children, but only "a negligible niimber" of Anglo migrant 

41.1 
children, missed school because they were doing farm work. Median 

years of education for adults In the State of Washington was 12.1 

years, but only 10,0 for adult Anglo migrants, 5.4 for adult Mexl- 

can-Amerlcem migrants, and 4,2 years for Mexican-American heads 

of families who had come to Washington from elsewhere and settled 

42 
out of the migrant stream. About two-thirds of the Mexlcan-Amerl- 

- 15 - 



239 



can migrants In Washington had "some difficulty In reading and 
speaking English." 

Physical segregation of Mexican-Americans and repression 
of Spanish speech In the schools In the Southwest, where the pre- 
sent adult Mexican-Americans have largely originated, Is a major 
cause of the low level of education among Mexlcan-Amvrlcan farm 
workers , 

Schools In Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California routinely 
segregated Mexican-American children from other children. Suits 
to desegregate such schools, beginning with Independent School 
District V. Salvatlerra in Texas In 1930, were successful as early 
as 19^6, eight years before the case of Brown v. Board of Education . 
In Mendez v. Westmln ster School Dlst. of Orange County (In 
I.:.:;.-:': the American Civil Liberties Union appeared as amicus curiae) 
four Mexican-Americans sued on behalf of their children and 5000 
persons similarly sltviated, and the District Court held that the 
provision of separate but equal school facilities for Mexican- 
American children was a denial of the equal protection of the 
laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitu- 
tion. The Court further stated i 

"The evidence clearly shows that Spanish-speaking 
children are retarded in learning English by lack of ex- 
posure to its use because of segregation..." ^7 

48 
Five years later, In GonzalfrT v. Sheely , a similar case, 

the Court entered the following finding of fact i 

"...It is also clear that the methods of segre- 
gation prevalent in the respondent school district fos- 
ter antagonisms in the children and suggest inferiority 
among them where none exists. "4-9 



16 - 



240 



An additional factor in the low level of educational 
achievement Is the suppression of Spanish among Mexican-American 
children, and the rejection of bilengual education in the schools 

of the Southwest. In New Mexico, the state Constitution requires 

51 
that public schools "shall always be conducted in English."^ In the 

name of a single "mother tongue," children in Texas schools who 

speak Spanish have been given spankings and made by their teachers 

to stand in a "black square" for an hour or so, to pay. fines of a 

52 
penny a word and to stay after school. The effects of such poli- 
cies on school children has been, first, to fail to give them a 
substantive education because of their unfamillarity with English, 

the language of instruction, and second, to create a sense of 

53 
frustration and lack of self-esteem. This has led to a higher 

drop-out rate among Mexican-Americans than among other white or 

non-white population groups. In Texas In I96O the median nximber 

of years of education completed by males 1^ years of age and over 

was 11.2 years for Anglos, 9.^ for Indians, 8.3 for Negroes and 6.2 

for Mexican-Americans 

The relationship between low educational achievement and 

other socio-economic problems is cyclical. Lack of education is 

associated with poor housing, poor health and nutrition, and social 

disorganization, which in turn lead to a lack of education in the 

second generation. 

56 

In the Bilingual Education Act, Congress authorized 

grants to local schools to develop and operate special teaching 
programs for Spanish-speaking students, including bilingual edu- 
cational programs, the teaching of Spanish as the native language 

- 17 - 



IS. 



241 



and English as a second language, and the teaching of Spanish 
language culture. 

Washington law now requires that "all common schools 
shall be taught In the English language,"^ although It may be In 

violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment 

58 
of the U.S. Constitution. Recently the Joint Committee on Edu- 
cation of the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives 
recommended the amendment of Washington law to permit Instruction 
of students (Mexican-Americans) In a language other than English 
(Spanish) "when such Instruction Is required to guarantee the 
educational advancement of the student."^ This would enable Wash- 
ington schools to participate In funds available under the Bi- 
lingual Education Act amendments to the E.S.E.A. A bill to Im- 
plement the Joint Committee's recommendation has been Intro- 

60 
duced In the Washington State Legislature. 

Bilingual education programs have been operated on a 

demonstration basis In several states with Spanish-speaking 

61 

populations. Development of new school policies toward the use 

of Spanish by children of migrant Mexican-American families should 

be begun. 

63 

Enforcement of child labor and compulsory school atten- 

64 
dance laws, should also be encouraged. 

Lack of education has been, now Is, and will continue 

to be a basic key to the problems of migrants and farm workers, 

and should be a key point at which to have a long range effect on 

65 
the problems. 

Although there Is one Mexican-American priest In the 
- 18 - 



242 



Valley, Father Jose Ybarra In Sxmnyslde, there are no Mexican- 
American doctors or lawyers. This year, however, there are over 
30 Mexican-Americans from the Valley attending college in Washington, 
and one first year law student at the University of Washington 
who worked dviring the summer with the Yakima Valley Project, Lupe 
Gamboa, of Sunnyside. 



- 19 - 



243 



"Some 2ii6 children will be bom 
to migrant families while they are 
In Washington during the I968 seasont 
and ... of these, a dozen will die 
during the first year, eight from 
preventable causes. About ninety- 
five adult migrants will also die," 
Bernard Bucone, M.D. , Director, 
State Department of Health. 66 



5. HEALTH . It is generally acknowledged that there is 
a relationship between the Incidence of Illness and low income, and 
that the lack of money, inadequate nutrition and unsanitary living 

conditions associated with poverty lead to more frequent and longer 

67 
illnesses. This relationship is grimly Illustrated In data as to the 

68 
life expectancy of farm workers in Washington. The average life 

expectancy for a person in the United States Is about 70 years. The 

average life expectancy for an Anglo migrant in Washington Is about 

65 years. A child born to a migrant Mexican-American family in 

Washington has a life expectancy of about 38 years; a third of them 

die at birth. 

Hunger, malnutrition and vitamin and protein deficiencies 

are prevalent among the poor in the United States and tend to be 

high sunong migrant farm workers, causing widespread anemia and rickets, 

and vulnerability to other diseases. Irreparably arresting mental 

development in children, and causing listlessness, withdrawal and a 

69 
sense of failure and low self-esteem. 

Although Yakima County is not listed in Hunger. U.S.A. 
as one of the "hunger counties" in the United States, perhaps be- 
cause the large relatively wealthy population in Yakima County pro- 
duces higher average figures, I have seen h\jngry people and badly 



- 20 - 



244 



undernourished children in the labor camps in the Valley. 

Farm work is the third most hazardous occupation in 

70 

the United States, after mining and construction j and every year 

there are injuries and even deaths caused by farm machinery, tools, 

71 
chemicals and dangerous conditions on farms in the Yakima Valley. 

Farm workers performing stoop labor tend to develop chronic back 
problems, as several of them told me during the summer of 1968. Fruit 
pickers in orchards fall off ladders with some frequency. Neverthe- 
less, the legislature has left farm workers out of the coverage of 

72 
the industrial insurance statute. Hearings have been held to deter- 

73 
mine whether they should be covered by administrative act, and the 

Director of the Department of Labor and Industries has ordered that 

and fruit pickers 
hop workers/ (comprising about ^0% of the j: ikl:. farm labor force) 



3d:, 



be covered, although the growers* representatives were quick to intro- 
duce legislation to rescind this move when the Legislature convened 

75 "^ 

in Janiiary, 1969. Farm workers tend to be poor, they have only limited 

access to legal assistance and their families suffer when their in- 
come Is terminated. Inclusion of all farm workers within workman's 

76 
compensation coverage is an essential and long overdue step. 

Unsanitary and unsafe conditions in labor camps are the 

cause of many illnesses and injuries, major and minor. The drinking 

water in two of the largest labor camps, run by the Housing Authority 

of Yakima County, is obtained from taps which are immediately next 

to the garbage cans, which are insufficient and consequently often 

surroimded by excess garbage j wash basins and toilets were reported 

by tenants of the camps to have slime and accumulations of filth on 



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245 



the plumbing and floors. The head of one family living In Ahtanum 
camp told me that four of his eight children had suffered some Ill- 
ness or Injury during six months In the camp as the result of unsafe 
and unsanitary conditions In the camp, such as broken glass, poiso- 
nous materials, collapsing cabin floorboards, burns, and Infection 

77 
from the showers. Another farm worker In the Lower Valley described 

how his yoimg son was burned to death In a one room cabin on a farm 

(in Washington but not In Yakima County) where he had gone seeking 

work, and how the grower attempted to conceal charred newspapers 

which had been stuffed Into the holes In the wooden walls, and then 

had evicted him with his family of fifteen the same day. 

The damage to mental health caused by Indecent housing 

78 
and the stresses of poverty Is only beginning to be recognized. 



- 22 - 



246 



"A THOUSAND EXTRA APPLE PICKERS 
NEEDED THIS WEEKEND. . .Call one of 
your Grower Friends right now or 
contact the Washington State Em- 
ployment Office CH 8-2550 Right 
Now, They'll assign you to a Job. 
It's vitally Important to our val- 
ley's economy..." Yakima Herald - 
Republic , September 30, 1965, p. 21, 

6. EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES . Farm workers In Yakima County 

are among the poorest In the United States. Although the average 

79 

per capita Income In the State of Washington as a whole was $3,200 

In 1966, and the average family Income In the entire state was 

80 
about $7»000 In I965, the Income of the typical migrant family 

81 
In Washington In I965 was about $2,300, far below the 13.300 annual 

82 
Income for migrant families In New York, and substantially below 

the federal "poverty line" of $3«000 family Income per year. This 
$2,300 represents only an average for migrant families, however, 
and many families exist on less. The report of a firm retained 
by the State of Washington to study migrants in Washington con- 
cluded 1 

"Perhaps the most striking conclusion of the survey was 
that the typical migrant family Income was well below 
that level by which we normally define 'poverty.' There 
Is probably no statistic which so clearly differentiated 
the migrant population as that which states that the 
average total annual Income for a migrant family was about 
one-third that of the average family residing In Wash- 
ington State." 83 

Farm workers are paid either by the hour or by some form 

of piece rate. In Washington about one-fourth of the migrant 

84 
workers are paid an hourly rate. Others are paid by the box, 

bin, pound, or other measure. Median hourly wages for migrant 

85 
workers In Washington were $1,^ In 1966. A growers' survey con- 

- 23 - 



247 



eluded that median wages for all types of farm work were about 

$1,50 per hour, indicating that piece workers earned slightly 

86 
more per hour. Experience of the personnel of the Yakima Valley 

Project in 1968 tended to confirm the estimate of the growers' 

survey. Of the farm workers with whom the staff talked, most 

indicated they were being paid about $1.50 per hour. The median 

daily wages for all migrants in Washington were about $13.10 in 

87 
1966. Stoop labor, most of it done in row crops by Mexican- 
American workers, was the lowest paying work, the median hourly 

88 
pay in I966 being about $1.^1 according to the growers' survey. 

To provide farm workers with an annual income equal to the average 

89 
for the state, they would have to be paid about $5*^0 per hour. 

The "bonus system" or "bogus system," as some farm 
workers described it, is a significant characteristic of the em- 
ployment habits of growers. Typically, it is an arrangement by 
which the grower pays more money to workers who remain throughout 
the harvest. As growers describe it, it is an extra remuneration 
paid to workers over and above the hourly or piece rate promised, 
in order to assure the grower of a sufficient labor force to com- 
plete the harvest quickly. As farm workers describe it, it is 
an amount withheld by the grower from the wages of the worker 
and paid to him only at the end of the harvest. Reports of 
farm workers not being paid their bonuses are common in the Valley, 

Farm workers tell of growers who find excuses to fire 
employees near the end of the harvest or provoke employees into 
quitting with rudeness and abusive treatment. One technique Is 

- 24 - 



248 



for the grower suddenly to become dissatisfied with the quality 
of an employee's work near the end of the harvest after several 
days or weeks without complaint. One family told of a hop 
grower for whom they had worked until Just before the end of the 
harvest who began yelling at them and verbally abusing them about 
their work and driving past them in a farm truck at a dangerous 
rate of speed as they walked along a dirt road on the farm, forcing 
them to Jiimp off the road into the ditch. Personnel of the Depart- 
ment of Employment Security acknowledge that abuses occur because 

of the bonus system, but believe that such practices are limited 

90 
to a few "bad apples" among the growers. 

None of the farm workers with whom the writer talked 
liked the bonus system, but most of them felt that when a grower 
states that the bonus is part of the empl03rment terms, they 
have no choice but to accept it. The farm labor wage system, in- 
cluding the bonus system, is almost entirely a one-sided arrange- 
ment dictated by growers, with no element of bargaining or nego- 

91 
tlatlon between the parties to the employment agreement. Growers, 

organized into associations, such as asparagus growers, fix wage 

92 

rates for labor. Because farm workers are excluded from the Fair 

Labor Standards Act suid the National Labor Relations Act, these 

activities by growers may amount to conspiracies In restraint of 

93 

trade, in violation of state and federal anti-trust laws. 

A^thoxogh under-payment or non-payment of wages is a common 

94 
complaint among farm workers and may constitute a misdemeanor, 

records of the Justice Courts in the Valley disclose no Instances 

- 25 - 



249 



95 

of prosecution. Also, although the Department of Labor and Indus- 
tries of the State of Washington Is authorized to collect wages 

for employees "who are financially unable to employ counsel," 

96 

without payment of any court costs and with broad subpoena powers, 

that agency has made no effort to litigate the legality of adhe- 
sive wage agreements between employers and unorganized farm workers 
or the deliberate avoidance of paying bonuses, and In the Lower 
Valley at least, the Department of Labor and Industries does not 
vigorously pursue wage claims which amount to choosing between 
the word of an employer or that of an employee and does not bother 

with minimum wage violations (for other than farm work) of less 

97 
than ten cents per hour, notwithstanding the fact that a claimant 

seeking less than ten cents an hour will generally be less able 

to obtain legal counsel and advance court costs than a claimant 

seeking more than ten cents per hour, simply because less money 

Is Involved. 

the Department 
During 1967 and I968, under R.C.W. 49.^4-8.040, /of Labor 

and Industries took 4,939 wage claim assignments for the entire 
state, 233 of them from Yakima County, It referred 60 cases from 
the entire state to the Attorney General for action. It collected 
a total of $415,471.47 through persuasive action and legal action 
for the entire state, and although It does not keep separate re- 
cords for Yakima County, Its Yakima Office collected $16,708.82 
for Yakima and Kittitas Coimtles. The Department states that It 
accepts a wage claim assignment "If the claim appears to be valid 
and enforceable In the courts, and If It Is so small as not to 

- 26 - 



36-513 O - 70 - pt. 1 -- 17 



250 



be normally acceptable by attorneys." The Department does not 
consider that it can use its wage collection authority to accom- 
plish changes in undesirable einployment practices such as bonus 
system abuses aid arbitrary discharges by employers to avoid paying 
bonuses. Efforts to publicize the Department's wage c1p.:i". collec- 
tion povfers are largely by wor ' of mouth and appearances before 

98 

groups 

Another statute gives employees a right to recover un- 
paid wages in a civil action, together vrith double the amoiint 

99 

withheld, costs and reasonable attorneys fees. Yet in a civil 

action brought pursuant to that statute by a Mexican-American 
farm worker against a labor contractor for recovery of unpaid 
wages, double damages, costs and attorneys' fees, the court awarded 

Judgment by default for the amount of linpaid vrages pleaded but re- 

100 

fused to award judgment for the fam worker for double damages. 

Agricultural workers are excluded from the coverage of 

101 
the $1.65 federal minimum wage statute, although the Fair Labor 

Standards Act Amendments of I966 novj provide a minimum wage of 

$lel5 per hour for agricultural workers in an enterprise invol- 

102 
vl;->g at l-^ast 500 Dan hours of labor in a quarter. Farm workers 



are also excluded from coverage under the |;i,60 per hour Washington 

103 

minimun vrage statute oy the device of defining the term "employee" 



so as not to Include farm workers a legislative act giving 

104 
official- status to the invisibility of the rural poor. 

Washington statutes also exclude farm workers from coverage 

105 

under the unemployment insurance system in the State of Washington, 

- 27 - 



251 



and froln coverage under the Industrial accident Insurance system 

106 
In Washington. 

In 1966 about one-fourth of the growers advanced trans- 

J.07 
portatlon costs for migrants, 91^ of which loans were repala. 

Federal law makes It Illegal to hold another to a condition of 

108 
peonage, a prohibition which covers an employer's forcing an em- 

109 
ployee to remain In his service In order to repay money owed. 

During the summer of 1968 a Mexican-American who lived 
and worked on an Isolated ranch with his wife and five children 
told the writer that his boss had advanced his expenses for tra- 
veling from Texas, employed him at a salary of $225 per month, 
made advances to him for food, fuel and living expenses which 
totalled $856,45, and then, when he became Interested In leaving 
to find a better paying job, told him that he could not leave be- 
cause he owed the boss money. The farm worker and his wife ac- 
cepted this as the fact. In another case a grower was dis- 
covered to be making out pay checks Jointly payable to the worker 
and the local grocery store. 

Farm workers are often recruited by labor contractors, 
who go as far as Texas and Louisiana to recruit crews of workers. 
Recruited laborers may travel north In their ovm cars, obtaining 
loans from the contractor, who Is also the "crew leader." Or 
the contractor may provide transportation for them, such as the 
back of a stake truck. The contractor deals with the grower, 
agreeing on matters such as wages and bonuses. Opportunities for 
abuse and oppression are Inherent in this system, and contractors 

- 28 - 



252 



110 

are now regulated by both state and federal registration statutes. 

The federal statute is based upon a finding that "irresponsible 

111 
contractors" "exploit. . .migrant agricultural laborers," and re- 
quires that the contractor disclose to the laborers the area of 
employment, the crops to be worked, the transportation, housing 

and insurance provided him, the wage rates to be paid him and the 

112 
contractor's charge for services. It also authorizes the Secre- 

113 
tary of Labor to promulgate regulations, pursuant to which fed- 

114 
eral regulations have been adopted. Although the Washington sta- 
tute authorizes the promulgation of regulations for its enforce- 

115 

ment, as of July 2k, I968, none had been promulgated, and the De- 
partment of Motor Vehicles, to whom the legislature had dele- 
gated enforcement responsibility, had itself delegated responsi- 

116 
bility to the Departments of Labor and Employment Security, Fifty- 
two contractors have been licensed, however, of whom 2? are in the 

117 
Yakima Valley. 

Some abuses continue under the contractor system, and I 
was told by farm laborers of instances of contractors failing to 
make the disclosures required by the federal statute, or of making 
false representations as to wages and working conditions at the 
job. One notorious crew leader has traveled to Jonesboro, Louisi- 
ana, for several years, to recruit a supply of cheap black laborers 
for a corporation farming in the Valley. Complaints are heard 
of his people being shut up in the back of a truck for twelve 
hours at a time, with little money for food and inadequate pro- 
tection against the cold. The only occurance that I learned of 



- 29 - 



253 



that resembled a spontaneous strike among farm workers of the 
Yakima Valley occurred among this particular crew leadeifs laborers 
In 1967 » when several of the men arrived at the Job and believed 
they had been deceived as to the rate of wages they were to be 
paid by the grower, and walked off the Job, taking other workers 
with them In a short-lived strike. 

State and federal governments cooperate In the recruit- 
ment of farm laborers, with local growers placing ordfers with the 
Employment Service of the Washington State Employment Security De- 
partment for a specified number of workers by a specified time, 
the orders being transmitted by the local agency to the United 

States Employment Service, a federal agency, and through It to 

118 
the employment agencies of other states, such as Texas, The Yakima 

administrator of the Employment Security Department stated that 

the purpose of the recruitment plan Is to "stabilize the economy," 

and described as "propaganda" the view that state and federal 

participation In Interstate farm worker recruitment might have a 

tendency to provide a surplus of labor for Yakima Valley growers 

119 
and to keep wages low and working conditions poor. In the surmrer 

of 1967, however, there were large numbers of farm workers and 

their families stranded In the Yakima Valley without work,_ many 

living In cars, on river banks and under bridges. The Employment 

Security Department Itself estimates the number of workers to have 

120 
been about 2,100 to 2,500. The total number of people Involved, 

Including dependents, may have been two or three times that num- 
ber, 6,000 to 8,000. In recent years the Department of Employ- 

- 30 - 



254 



ment Security has recruited from 2,700 to 3,000 workers from Texas 
annually, and In Janiiary, 1969. It sent two representatives to 

Texas to recruit workers to fill growers' orders for people to 

121 
cut asparagus In Yakima, beginning In April. 

The federal government does require certain minimum stan- 
dards for housing for farm workers recruited through "Interstate 
clearance orders" by state and federal employemnt agencies, and 

the Inspection of labor camps and certification of compliance Is 

122 
left to the officials of the state employment agencies. In 1968 

all of the labor camps In the Yakima Valley were on compliance 

123 
waivers Issued by the state officials. 

Federal regulations prohibit the Interstate clearance . 
of recruitment orders for agricultural workers without assurances 
from the state agency that labor Is not available locally or within 
the state, that adequate work Is available, that the wages pre- 
vailing In the area will be paid and that adequate housing meeting 

124 
federal standards Is available. Injunctive relief might be availa- 
ble to prevent the Interstate clearance of orders In January for 
workers In April, when no assurance can be given that labor will 

not be available locally or within the state or that adeqtiate 

125 
housing Is available. 

Agricultural workers are now excluded from coverage 

126 
under the National Labor Relations Act. Since the repression of 

labor-organizing activity In the 1930' s, there has been no xxnlon 

organization among Yakima Valley farm workers, despite the fact 

12? 
that the Supreme Court of Washington has held In Krystad v. Lau 



- 31 - 



255 



that a Washington employer not covered by the federal Norrls- 

La Guardla Act may not, nevertheless, fire employees for engaging 

In union organization* and that employees so fired have a right 

to reinstatement and recovery of back wages, a decision which Is 

128 
probably applicable to agricultural workers 4 Interestingly, the 

Yakima representative of the Farm Bureau has stated that the Farm 

Bureau would not oppose the organization of farm workers and 

129 
would support the right of anyone to organize. The Inevitable 

tendency of an economic system devoid of labor organization to 

produce slums, malnutrition, disease. Ignorance and "grinding 

poverty" was acknowledged by the Supreme Court of Washington In 

130 
Krystad . 

Mechanization and Innovations In farming are changing 

the patterns of farm work and It Is estimated that they will 

result In a net decrease In the n\imber of migrants employed In 

farm work In Washington of from 5 to 20^ during the next ten 

131 
years. Changes In apple growing, notably the Introduction and 

conversion to dwarf and semi-dwarf trees which can be planted 
closer together, are expected to lead to an Increase In the de- 
mand for workers by about 15 to 20% by 1975 • Mechanical aspara- 
gus cutters have been built and tested, which may harvest all 

133 
asparagus by 1975. Although the production of sugar beets Is 

already highly mechanized, machines are being developed to take 

over the remaining work, such as thinning, and a 35/^ decrease In 

13^ 
labor requirements Is predicted within ten years. The result Is 

apt to be that Innovations In farm work In the near future will 

Increase the number of jobs traditionally filled by Anglo workers. 



- 32 - 



256 



and decrease the number of Jobs traditionally held by Mexican- 
American workers, In some cases substituting better educated Anglos 
operating machinery, In row crops such as asparagus and beets, for 
Mexican-Americans doing cutting, hoeing and other stoop labor. 
This problem may be compounded by the Anglo's possession of skills, 
such as mechanics and carpentry, that the Mexican-American does 

not possess, and by the Anglo's greater access to adult and voca- 

135 
tlonal training. 

Growers use the threat of accelerated research and develop- 
ment of automatic farm machinery as a threat with which to resist 
progress In the provision of adequate wages, housing and field 
sanitation, promising, for Instance, to switch from people to ma- 
chines If they are required to provide Indoor plumbing for their 

136 
resident laborers. These threats are taken seriously by obser- 

137 
vers, and the consequences are too serious to Ignore them. One 

study of migrant farm workers In New York concluded that the 

threat of mechanization was so serious as to warrant caution In 

resorting to unionization among farm workers and moderation In 

demands for higher wages, with emphasis Instead on Improving con- 

138 
tractor practices and Improving working and sanitary conditions. 

Mechanization poses a profound dilemma for those seeking 

to work considerable changes In the economics of farming for the 

benefit of farm workers. The prospect of a decrease In Jobs and 

higher vinemployment among farm workers as the price of achieving 

better wages, working conditions and Job security for those who 

continue to work Is a dilemma for which no demonstrably satls- 

- 33 - 



257 



factory solution has been found. Many people believe that the 
solutions finally worked out will Involve not only the displace- 
ment of farm workers, but the end of many small farms, with more 
and more farm land coming under the control of "agribusiness" 

enterprises with greater capital, greater efficiency and pro- 

139 
ductlvlty, and more stable labor needs. 



- 3^ - 



258 



"Workers, who were Interviewed, 

complained of great discomfort 
In these camps." Hathaway, The 
Migratory Worker and Family Life , 
p. 133. 

7, HOUSING . Rural housing In the United States is on 
the whole Inferior to urban housing, and some five million rural 

families live In deteriorating housing or housing so dilapidated 

lifO 
as to endanger their health, safety and well-being, Migrant farm 

workers are the most poorly housed of the rural population, with 

nearly a million workers and their dependents living In housing 

which typically Is hidden from general view and lacks central 

heating facilities, running water, toilets, showers, adequate 

I'll 
space or adequate weather protection. Yakima County has long had 

some of the worst housing to be found anywhere. 

Labor camps are of two kinds, those, located on farms and 
operated by the farmers for their workers, and those separately 
operated by either private owners or by the public housing authority, 

While Yakima County has no building code, there are two 
sources of regulation for farm labor camps. One is the body of 

regulations of the Washington State Board of Health respecting 

li*3 
sanitation in labor camps. These deal with water supply, pliunbing, 

refuse disposal, rodent and Insect control, construction and main- 
tenance of dwelling units, minimum space, ventilation, heating and 
lighting requirements, toilet, shower, handwashing and laundry 
facilities and other matters. Adopted in I960, their require- 
ments until October, 1968, were minimal and most of the housing 
in the Valley probably conforms with their quantitative standards, 
as apparently does most of the farm labor housing in the rest of 

- 35 - 



259 



the state. Even the amendments of October 29, 1968, while they re- 
present a step forward, still provide only minimum standards of 
decency, provide for a five-year compliance schedule, and allow 
waivers without restriction. 

Another source of standards are those of the United States 
Department of Labor, pursuant to the Wagner-Peyson Act establishing 
the United States Employment Service for the Interstate recruit- 
ment of migrant farm workers, which regulations prohibit the place- 
ment of Interstate clearance orders unless housing is available for 
the workers which meets specific Labor Department standards, as 
to campsites, water supply, waste disposal, structural conditions, 
space, ventilation, lighting, screening, egress and heating stan- 
dards, garbage disposal, insect and rodent control, fire pro- 
line 
tection, toilets, washing and laundry facilities and other matters. 

In 1968, however, federal standards were waived for all housing 
for farm workers recruited by growers through the Employment 
Security office in Toppenish, which covers the Lower Valley area. 
About 65 camps In Yakima County held Health Department 

permits in I966, containing about 1,043 units with a capacity of 

148 
about 3,954 people. 

One of the poorer camps in the Upper Valley, Ramblers 

Park, is owned by a lawyer in Yakima. The writer found no Negroes 

or Mexicans living in it in August, I968, and Webster reported 

149 
that Negroes and Mexicans are not admitted. 

One of the largest landlords in the Valley is the Housing 

Authority of Yakima County, which operates two farm labor camps, 

Ahtanum camp in the Upper Valley, with 237 units and a capacity of 

- 36 - 



260 



about 600 people, and Crewport camp In the Lower Valley, with 129 

vinlts and a capacity of about 672 people. The population of the 

Ahtanum camp Is largely Anglo, and that of the Crewport camp Is 

largely Mexican-American. The Ahtanum camp consists of two types 

of units, the "homes," which have separate rooms and indoor plumbing 

and rent for about $^0 per month, and rovjs of "cabins," which rent 

for $5 per week. From the nearby county road only the painted 

"homes" are visible, situated under shade trees, and the site is 

rather pleasant in appearance. Beyond the few "homes," however, 

there are no trees end rovs ond iots zC stzvlzl-j barren 'jooden 

cabins occupy the campground. Crewport is similarly laid out. 

The following quotation from the complaint in a pending lawsuit 

against the Housing Authority and others, describes the cabins in 

Ahtanum t 

"2. Said cabins are constructed of unpainted and 
unfinished wooden boards and each contains one room with 
no interior partitions, approximately 15' 6" X 13' 8" in 
size, with a floor of rough unfinished vrooden boards, 
some of which were full of splinters and vrere rotten, de- 
fective, full of holes and gaps and unable to support the 
weight of a three year old child. Each cabin contains 
a single electrical outlst, a light socket hanging from 
the celling. The electrical wiring is not substantial 
enough to carry sufficient electrical surrent for normal 
household use and becomes overloaded and dangerous with 
normal use. 

"3. There is no running water or pliombing in 
either of the cabins, and the nearest running water is 
obtained from an outdoor pipe, located within the garbage 
disposal area and surrounded by garbage cans. Community 
toilet, laundry and shower facilities are located in a 
separate building. Hot water is not available at all times 
and the showers are locked at night to prevent tenants 
from using them. Plumbing in the showers and toilets 
leak, and water and slime accumulate on the cement floor, 
creating conditions dangerous to health and safety. Laun- 
dry facilities are not provided in sufficient quantities 

- 37 - 



261 



and tenants are sometimes required to wait two or three 
days to wash clothing. 

"4, Each of said cabins were furnished with a 
table and two chairs, two steel bed frames, springs, and 
mattresses. Each cabin was provided with an iron wood- 
burning "Pride" model stove for heating and cooking pur- 
poses. Each stove Is located approximately 2 to 3 feet 
from the only door In the cabin, and rests directly on 
the wooden floor, about one foot out from the cabin 
wall. There Is no protective nonflammable material on 
the floor or wall under or around the stove, and the flue 
Is not properly vented, causing smoke to leak Into the 
cabin. 

"5. The grovmds around said cabins and in the 
Ahtaniim Farm Labor Camp contain extensive areas of weeds 
and grass a foot or more high, where Infant children 
play, with scattered broken glass and refuse;, the grounds 
are not adequately drained and collect standing puddles 
of mud and water and are Infested with flies and mos- 
quitoes during the summer months." 15O 

These two camps were sold to the Housing Authority of 
Yakima County by the United States for about $80,000, and the 
deed conveying them to the Housing Authority contains two condi- 
tions subsequent upon the breach of which the United States will 
have the right to reenter the property and reacquire title to it. 
One of the conditions is that the Housing Authority will operate 
and maintain the property for housing farm workers, and the other 

condition is that the Housing Authority shall not sell or lease 

151 
the property except to a public or nonprofit agency. On November 

8, 1965, for a rental of $300 per year the Housing Authority leased 

about 60 acres of Housing Authority land adjacent to Crewport labor 

camp to a private party, who about January 5f 1966, assigned or 

subleased his interest to another private party who has farmed the 

land since then. 

The Housing Authority rents the cabins on a weekly basis, 

- 38 - 



262 



requiring occupants to sign a document captioned a "Revocable 
Occupancy Permit," which nowhere uses the word "lease," which grants 
the occupant the right to use the cabin for living purposes for 
himself and his Immediate family and which provides for termina- 
tion by the Housing Authority at any time upon three days notice, 
A large placard, prepared apparently by the Health Department, 
captioned "Health Department Regulations," also uses the term "oc- 
cupants," and mentions several duties of occupants (e.g., " Oc- 
cupants must keep cabins neat and clean."), but mentions none of 
the Health Department regulations as to the responsibilities of 
landlords In which tenants might be interested. 

Tenants In the Housing Authority camps are afraid of the 
arbitrary power of the camp manager, who has evicted tenants with 

threats of arrest, without notice or hearing, and for reasons 

152 
known only to him. One tenant who lived In a "cabin" in one of 

the Housing Authority camps told the writer that the camp manager 

had refused to rent a "home" to his family because they were 

black, and the camp manager indicates the race of black tenants 

153 
on camp registration cards. Others refused to sign affidavits 

for me about the labor camps because of fear that the manager would 
evict them. One meeting of Crewport tenants had to be conducted 
entirely in Spanish because the camp manager insisted on atten- 
ding the meeting but did not iinderstand Spanish. 

On September 6, 1967, criminal complaints, signed by the 
Manager of the Housing Authority, were filed in Union Gap Justice 
Court against three persons, charging that each of them did on 
September 5, 19671 

- 39 - 



263 



"...knowingly, wilfully and unlawfully Trespass upon the 
land of another; Housing Authority of Yakima County (Farm 
labor camp) by then and there taking residence without 
the express permission of Henry Schaffer, Manager of said 
Authority. . .against the peace and dignity of the State 
of Washington..." I5U 

The three persons were Charles Wolfe, his brother Wayne 

155 156 

Wolfe, and Lynn Wolfe, age 17, wife of Wajme Wolfe. The three de- 
fendants were arrested by a Yakima County deputy sheriff and the 
girl was booked Into the Juvenile detention home In Yakima. Ball 
for the two men was set at $100 by Justice of the Peace Leslie E. 
Vannlce of the Union Gap Justice Court. Judge Vannlce, who re- 
membered the case, told the writer that they had lived In Ahtanum 
camp but that "they weren't wanted" perhaps because they were 
"troublemakers." Vannlce stated that the manager went to the 
Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney, who advised him to wait vintll 
their current 30 day rent period had expired and then to refuse 
to "renew their rent" and to tell them to leave, and if they didn't, 
to file a trespass charge against them, Vannlce also stated that 
the three left the camp when the manager refused to accept their 
rent, but that a friend of theirs then rented a cabin, allowed 
the three of them to move In and then Just disappeared, turning 
the cabin over to them, after which the criminal complaints were 
filed. The Judge Insisted that they were not "arrested,'" and that 

they were only taken out of the camp by a deputy sheriff, taken 

157 
to Jail, booked and released on ball. When a local attorney agreed 

to represent the three defendants, the Yakima County Prosecuting 

Attorney dismissed the action. 

The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing 

- 40 - 



264 



Authority Is also a member of the Yakima County District Health 
Board. Commissioners of the Housing Authority are appointed by 
the Yakima County Commissioners, who are themselves elected. The 
Chairman Is also an elected member of the Yakima City Council, by 

virtue of which he was chosen to be a member of the District 

158 
Health Board. The District Health Board has the authority to re- 
commend, adopt and enforce local health regulations, as well as 

159 
those promulgated by the State Board of Health. The local Health 

Board In Yakima County might be expected to be most familiar with 
contltlons In the labor camps and to be the source of local Inno- 
vations In health and sanitation requirements. However, no local 
regulations have been forthcoming from the Yakima County Dis- 
trict Health Board, 

Local government In Yakima County has defaulted In Its 
responsibilities ot ensure safe, sanitary and decent housing for 
farm workers, upon whom the wealth of the entire county depends. 
With no building code, fire code or local labor camp health regu- 
lations In Yakima County, the provision of minimum legal stan- 
dards of decency for the housing of farm workers has been left to 
the state and the federal governments. 



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265 



"The migrant worker In Yakima Is 
a 'necessary evil' In the community. 
Encouraged by fruit growers to come 
to the region during the months of 
the harvest, he Is welcome no longer 
after the fruit Is packed and stored 
or shipped. His 'skldoo' notice Is 
his passport to 'parts unknown.'" 
Hathaway, The Migratory Worker and 
Family Life , pp. 212-213. 

8. WELFARE . Despite an attitude of some farm workers 
that they do not want to ask for or to accept welfare money, 
many families In the Yakima Valley are dependent upon some form 
of welfare and many more who need It are xinable to obtain it only 
because of the durational residence requirements, which migrants 
generally cannot meet. 

Although the Washington State Department of I>ubllc Assis- 
tance Is comparatively an enlightened and fair welfare agency In 
Its dealings with and treatment of clients, I observed more nu- 
merous and blatant examples of callous and xinfalr official be- 
havior during three months In the Yakima Valley, than In the pre- 
vious 18 months with the Legal Services office In Seattle. 

The most obvious and common welfare problem Is that of 

160 
the durational residence requirement for public assistance. The 

constitutionality of these and similar requirements Is now the 

subject of litigation pending In the United States District 

161 
Court In Seattle as well as In the United States Supreme Court, 

Colncldentally, but not surprisingly, the original plaintiff In 

that class action was a Mexican -American woman from Mabton In the 

Lower Valley who had traveled to California with her husband and 

children seeking farm work, lost her residence, and then returned 

to Washington with her children. After she sought and was refused 

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266 



aid to dependent children from the welfare office In the Yakima 
Valley, she sought and obtained a three Judge federal court to 
test the constitutionality of the residence requirements; Not 
long thereafter the Yakima County welfare reviewed her file and 
concluded that she had not lost her residence by moving to Cali- 
fornia after all, and granted her application for assistance, 
mooting the case as far as she was concerned. 

Another common problem, especially among Mexican-American 

162 
families. Is that posed by the maximum grant provision which 

limits A.F.D.C. grants to a maximum of $325.00 per month, no matter 
what the family size and notwithstanding the fact that actual mini- 
mum subslstance needs computed according to the Department's 
own standards may greatly exceed $325.00 per month. Grants for 
aid to families with dependent children are graduated according 
to the number and age of children, but the breaking point ordi- 
narily comes somewhere between five and seven children, and fami- 
lies with more children receive no more money. The average size 
of Mexican-American families of former migrant farm workers In 
Washington Is about 6,5 (^+.5 or 5'5 children) and families with 
eight to twelve children are not unusual. Indicating that this 
requirement Is particularly discriminatory and burdensome for 
Mexican-Americans. The constitutional validity of maximum grant 

requirements Is also the subject of pending litigation before a 

163 

three Judge federal district court In Washington. 

During the continuation of the Yakima Valley Project In 
the Valley, the writer also encountered 



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267 



threats to place liens upon the property of welfare recipients, 
under circumstances not authorized by statute; a caseworker who 
"forced" a recipient to marry the father of her child although she 
did not want to» a case worker who, upon learning that one of her 
clients had consulted an attorney and had asked for a fair hearing 
from one of her decisions, without communicating with the attorney, 
called the client In for a conference, threatened her with loss 
of a part of her public assistance grant and persuaded her to 
sign a document repiidlating her attorney's request for a fair 
hearing; a supervisor who refused to permit examination of the 
welfare department's file for an individual after her attorney 

had requested a fair hearing, in violation of an express regula- 

164 
tionj a caseworker who refused to give 90 day emergency assistance 

to a family stranded in Washington without work, with an infant 

child, after the end of the asparagus harvest without evidence of 

a proper "motivation," and whose idea of a proper motivation was 

a motivation to move back promptly to Texas ; a case worker who 

terminated a grant to dependent children whose father and mother 

were divorced after their father visited their house but did not 

stay overnight and did not pay their support, despite a recent 

United States Supreme Court case declaring the illegality of such 

a practice; and a County Administrator who could not say what 

criteria govern the dispensing of 90 day emergency assistance 

and who did not want to overly publicize the availability of such 

assistance or to make the public assistance office "the first stop" 

for stranded migrant farm workers with families and no money for 

gas or food. 



268 



The practices of welfare administrators In Yakima County 

In 1968 had not changed greatly since 193^ 1 when Marlon Hathaway 

reported! 

"The policy of the Coiuity Welfare Commissioner Is to 
grant emergency assistance when absolutely necessary 
and to follow this with the sei'vlce of a "skldoo" no- 
tice to the family. This notice, which quotes the pro- 
visions of the Pauper Act with reference to aid to non- 
residents, Is a warning to the family that no further 
aid can or will be granted by the Commissioner. During 
the summer months, one clerk In the office Is occupied 
mainly with preparing these notices which are served 
alike to families who have been refused assistance as 
well as to families who have received emergency aid." 16? 

It Is clear that long range solutions to the special 
problems of migrants lie In the direction of encouraging settle- 
ment out of the migrant stream, and with development of oppor- 
tunities for year-round employment and community ties. The most 

important key to settlement, obviously, is an income during the 

168 
months of late fall, winter and early spring. The purpose of 

residence requirements is to protect the local taxpayers from the 

burden of additional welfare claims. These laws are inhumane and 

169 
contrary to the concept of national citizenship, and are especially 

unfair as applied to migratory farm workers who contribute sub- 
stantially to the realization of over $6l6 million in farm Income 

170 
in the State of Washington. Historically, they have served to 

keep the migrant farm worker on the move and consequently 

disorganized, unable to vote and politically weak. 

If these laws are not declared unconstitutional by the 
United States Supreme Court, they can still be repealed by a re- 
sponsible legislature, at the request of an executive concerned 

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about breaking the "endless cycle" of migrant poverty. Abolishing 

these laws has been uniformly recommended by nearly every study 

171 

of migrant farm workers. In the absence of either legislative 

or Judicial repeal, some limited modifications of their present 
operations might be accomplished by adoption of administrative 
regulations or pursuit of fair hearing and appeal procedures de- 
signed to extend the definition of residence to the maintenance 
of some relatively permanent ties or contacts, such as mailing 
addresses, drivers licenses, or personal property, with or In the 
State of Washington, even during periods of absence from the state, 



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270 



" Toppenlsh , August 17, 1931. - 
With his bride of less than a 
month hanging to his arm, Roily 
Loomls walked with a line of 32 
men down the streets of Toppenlsh 
to the city Jail Saturday night, 
after police officers started a 
round-up of undesirable tasnslents." 
Yakima Morning Herald , August 18, 1931, 

9. POLICE PRACTICES AND CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS . Farm 
workers tend to have frequent contacts with the police and the 
police are especially zealous In the enforcement of the laws 
against farm workers, Indians, and others who are poor and un- 
represented. The tolerance for arbitrary and even abusive crimi- 
nal proceedings against such people seems to be high, probably 
much higher than It would be If the victims were middle class 
Anglo-Americans. Although the days are over when a Toppenlsh 
chief of police would call out over the police radio to his officer 
to "arrest them if they're niggers and buy them a drink if they're 
white," (and another man is now chief), nevertheless the selec- 
tive and vigorous enforcement of certain kinds of laws operates 
as a very real form of discrimination against people whose life 
style is to be out of doors, on the sidewalks, and In cars much 
of the time. 

Traffic and drinking offenses particularly are a plague 
on the lives of farm workers. Some of the arrests, charges and 
convictions are no doubt well deserved, as in cases of reckless 
driving and driving while intoxicated. But the zeal of law en- 
forcement personnel leads to such things as a state policeman 
confiscating the driver's license of a Mexican-American farm 
worker without a hearing or charge or conviction, retaining it, 

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271 



denying that he had It until a witness was mentioned and then 
suddenly finding It and returning It. 

The system operates In a lot of little ways. A Justice 
of the Peace allowed a Mexican-American to be questioned about 
prior traffic arrests over objection, "to test the defendant's 
memory." A Justice of the Peace on his own motion continued a 
traffic case when the Indian defendant showed up for trial but 
the policeman was absent, but Issued a bench warrant for another 
defendant when he failed to appear for trial and the policeman 
was present. An Indian who never had a driver's license was 
told by a Justice Court that his "privilege to drive" was sus- 
pended, despite the absence of a statute authorizing such a sus- 
pension; the next time he was charged with the more serious of- 
fense of driving while this privilege was suspended. 

A Mexican -American farm worker who Is an alcoholic with 
numerous arrests for being drunk In public In Wapato, a town where 
the police are notoriously severe, was arrested for being drunk, 
searched, found to have a marijuana cigarette, and charged with 
a felony pxinlshable by five to twenty years In prison, although 
the prosecutor has the choice of charging a felony or a misde- 
meanor and first offenses In other counties usually result In 
misdemeanor charges. He was assigned counsel "at public expense," 
subjected to two trials and one hung Jury before the prosecutor 
could get a guilty verdict, then was given probation on condition 
he not drink and he pay some #675 In court costs which included 
the amounts paid to the assigned attorney. Finally, he was arrested. 



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272 



Jailed and threatened with Imprisonment for five years In the 
penetentlary If he didn't pay the court costs. 

In another case, a yoving man home on leave from Vietnam 
was arrested, charged and tried for drinking a beer while under 
the age of twenty-one. 

In the Lower Valley town of Granger, the Justice of the 
Peace, Myrtle Flnley, stated that she could not remember any 

defendant being acquitted In her court, and reports for her court 

172 
for 1966 disclose none that year. 

In a trial of a Negro youth before the same Judge on a 
negligent driving charge, the police officer who wrote the ticket 
and marked the traffic conditions on the ticket as medium, testi- 
fied that he was at home fixing a can of soup at the time of the 
alleged offense, but heard about It later. During cross-examina- 
tion of the officer about the traffic conditions. Judge Flnley 
Interrupted me, stating, "Earl's lived here seven years and he 
ought to know the traffic better than you, Mr. SmartyJ" The same 
Judge stated, at a hearing to reduce the $200 appeal bond from the 
negligent driving conviction, that she didn't know how much the 
appeal bond should have been because she had "never had one of 
these stinking things before," and records of her court for 1966 
disclose no appeals that year. 

In another case a Mexlan-Amerlcan farm worker reported 
to me that a state patrol officer had suspended his driver's li- 
cense for 30 days and taken the license. More than 30 days had 
passed during which he had had to pay for transportation with a 

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273 



friend, and he wanted his license returned, but didn't know 
the name of the officer. Local state patrol officials told me 
they had investigated, talked to the officer on duty In the par- 
ticular area at the particular time, and that he hadn't taken 
the license. When I mentioned that a local doctor was a witness 
to the taking, they produced the license within about 24 hours, 
explaining that the officer had "forgot" and left It In the glove 
compartment of his patrol car. 

The one common problem In almost all of the criminal 
cases In which farm workers are Involved Is that the defendants 
are vmrepresented. The large majority of the cases Involve mis- 
demeanor and city ordinance violations and the courts do not pro- 
vide assigned counsel for Indigents In such cases. The case of 

173 
City of Seattle v. Hendrlx In which the Issue Is whether or not 

the constitution requires the appointment of counsel for Indi- 
gents charged with misdemeanors, has been pending In the Su- 
preme Court of Washington for about two years. Lack of counsel 
Is probably the one single most Important reason why these abuses 
flourish. 

The local communities must derive a substantial amount 
of Income from fines and forfeitures assessed against defendants 
In the police courts of the Valley. Information as to the amounts 
of money Involved, however, was not readily available. When an 
accountant from the Yakima Valley Project asked to see records of 
the police courts In several towns In the Yakima Valley, In most 
cases clerical officials declined to permit Inspection, offering 

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274 



various excuses, and the police matron In S\annyslde, who Is the 
clerk of the police court there, stated that the records are not 
public records and refused to allow the accountant to look at them. 

More ominous reports are heard In the Valley of mistreat- 
ment of prisoners, especially by some members of the Wapato 
police departments Wapato Is on the Yakima Reservation and is 
Inhabited and frec^uented by Indians, the town has a number of 
bars and Indians congregate on the sidewalks and In cars In the 
downtown area. Treatment of the Indians and Mexican-Americans 
In Wapato has left most of them terrorized, and too frightened 
to fight back or to give testimony, sign affidavits or even to 
talk freely about the Wapato police, Indians and Mexlcan-Ameplcans 
who will discuss It tell of Instances of the excessive use of 
force In making arrests by Wapato policemen, of Intoxicated or 
crippled men and even pregnant women knocked to the sidewalk 
by police officers, of drunks yanked violently from parked cars 
without provocation and of the soiinds of beatings In the Wapato 
Jail. 

In December 196? Mamie James, a middle-aged Indian 
woman with rheiunatlc leg pains requiring the use of crutches 
was arrested by a Wapato policeman, charged with being drunk, 
her crutches were taken away from her and she was taken to Jail, 
where she was knocked down and kicked when she protested. She 
gave a statement about this Incident to Sheriff Bert Guns, who 
twice denied to a Yakima Valley Project representative that he 
had any written report of the Incident. 

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275 



In February, 1966, Leona Avlles, an Indian woman was 
helping another woman, who was Intoxicated, along a sidewalk In 
Wapato, to take her home to the Reservation, when she was p\inched 
In the face and knocked down by Robert Wilson of the Wapato 
Police Department, who apparently wanted to arrest the other 
woman. She was pregnant at the time and gave birth to a prema- 
ture baby not long afterwards. Her husband, Benny Olney Avlles, 
who witnessed the Incident, was arrested and taken to the coimty 
Jail for assaulting Wilson. The Incident was reported to Sheriff 
Bert Guns who replied, when asked about It, "I Just can't remem- 
ber..." 

In December, 1967, Paris Morrison, an Indian in his 20 's 
was arrested In Wapato, booked, told he was a "punk," pushed 
around, and when he resisted, one or two Wapato police officers 
administered a beating with their fists, causing him to lose con- 
sciousness. Witnesses heard his screams and cleaned up blood in 
the Jail, Sheriff Guns couldn't remember hearing about this in- 
cident. 

Other reports about the Wapato Police Department Involve 
mistreatment of an Indian girl who was deaf or mentally retarded, 
wanton and unnecessary beatings administered to a Mexican-American 
boy who was loitering, and to a Mexican-American man walking home 
peacefully at night in Wapato who tried to run away when a police 
car began following him with its lights out. 

Indians also report that the Wapato police become more 
conscientious in enforcing the laws and making arrests about the 

- 512- 



276 



time the Tribe distributes per capita timber checks and the local 
Indians have cash on their persons, and sometimes don't keep 
track of it. 

In another notable incident, a Negro woman was arrested 
and held in Jail by Sheriff Guns for over JO days as a "material 
witness" and was not permitted to telephone an attorney. When 
the charges against the principal defendant were finally dropped 
and she was released, she was given $30. She was supposed to 
have heard a gunshot and was detained apparently because she was 
a farm worker and likely to go looking for work. 

On August 19, 1968, Robert Childers was arrested on a 
federal interstate fugitive warrant. He was then charged by the 
Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney with being a fugitive from 
Tennessee. When no extradition proceedings were instituted by 
Tennessee, the Prosecutor dismissed the fugitive charge, on 
September 2?, I968, Two days before, on September 25, the Pro- 
secutor filed a second complaint, charging him with being a fugi- 
tive from California. On October 7 the Prosecutor dismissed the 
California fugitive charge, leaving only the federal fiigitive 
charge, which was dismissed on October 11. 

Within a few minutes after being notified of the dis- 
missal of the federal charge, Childers' lawyer, a Yakima attorney, 
went to the Yakima Covinty Jail to procure his release. He was 
kept waiting 15 to 20 minutes. Finally Childers was produced, 
and was immediately seized by two men who tried to handcuff and 
chain him. Neither of them were police officers or sheriffs. 
Childers' lawyer tried to intercede but was pushed away. Childers 

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277 



was choked, handcuffed and chained by the two men. His lawyer 
protested to Sheriff Guns, who was present, but Guns Ignored even 
his request for time to talk to his client. One of Guns' depu- 
ties then opened the locked jail door and allowed the two men to 
leave with Chllders. One of the men showed Chllders' lawyer a 
letter from a California ball bondsman, purporting to authorize 
him to return Chllders to California, where he had apparently 
jumped ball. Before Chllders left, Gxms' deputy told him to sign 
a receipt for his personal belongings, which were not glvt to him, 

Although criminal actions could be filed against Sheriff 
G\ins and the two men, vinder various statutes, and the Prosecuting 
Attorney Is known to be resourceful In charging poor people with 
violations of criminal statutes, to my knowledge no charges have 
been brought against the Sheriff or the other men Involved, 

Nor has Sheriff Guns taken any action against Wapato 
police officers, although some of these matters have been re- 
ported to him. Nor has the Prosecuting Attorney filed any crimi- 
nal charges against any of the Wapato police officers, although 
the reports are known to his office also. 



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278 



"We hold these truths to be self- 
evident, that all men are created 
equal... That to secure these rights, 
Governments are Instituted among 
Men, deriving their Just powers 
from the consent of the governed..." 
Declaration of Independence. 

10. VOTING . The Washington Constitution requires that 

voters In Washington, among their other qualifications, be able to 

175 
read and speak the English language. Implementing legislation 

authorizes voting registrars to question applicants as to their 

176 
ability to read and understand "some ordinary English prose." 

The federal Voting Rights Act prohibits the administration of 

177 
literacy tests unless they meet federal standards of lonlformlty. 

Pursiiant to that statute the Attorney General of Washington has 

178 
ruled that literacy tests cannot be administered in Washington. 

Allegations have been made, however, that voting registrars have 

administered literacy tests to Mexican- Americans who applied to 

register to vote in the Yakima Valley, which allegations are the 

subject of a pending lawsuit against all the voting registrars 

179 
in the county. 

A state-wide study of migrants in Washington indicated 

that 71^ of the migrants usually speak English in their homes. 

22^ speak-Spanlsh, and ^% speak both English and Spanish and 2% 

180 
speak other languages, mostly Indian dialects. The study also 

indicated that 78^ of the Mexican-Americans speak Spanish in 

their homes J that 28^ of the persons who do not speak English at 

home (nrearly all of them Mexican-Americans) could not speak English 

at all J and that 69/^ of those not speaking English at home could 

not read English at all "or only fairly well." Thus, about o.l% 

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279 



of the migrants could not speak English, and about 18.8^ of the 

migrants could not read English at all or only "fairly well." 

182 
Assuming a total migrant labor force In Washington of about 40,000 

(a figure that Is probably too low, since It represents only peak 

migrant employment In late September, and there Is a constant 

turnover In the migrant labor force through the harvest season), 

about 2,860 people In the migrant labor force In Washington could 

not speak English, and about 7,520 could not read English at all 

or only "fairly well." Assuming that about one- third of the ml- 

183 
grant force Is employed In Yakima County and that It has about 

the same proportion of migrants Illiterate In English as does 
the state as a whole, then about 893 Mexican-American migrants 
In Yakima County cannot speak English and about 2,50? of them 
cannot read English at all or only "fairly well." Actually, the 
numbers are probably higher, because much of the rest of migrant 
labor force In other counties In Washington consists almost wholly 
of Anglos employed In the orchards. In Chelan and Okanogan Coun- 
ties for Instance, and Yakima County probably has more than one- 
third of the migrants who are Illiterate In English. Most mi- 
grants probably could not satisfy the various residence require- 
ments for voting In Yakima County (one year In the state, 90 days 

184 
In the county, and 30 days In the precinct) precisely because 

they are migrants. Nevertheless, the ability to vote Is a poten- 
tial community tie that Is denied those who do not read and speak 
the English language. Involving between three and seven thou- 
sand migrant farm workers In Yakima County, 

- 56 - 



280 



If the same ratios hold true for the Mexican- Americans 

who are more or less permanent residents of the Yakima Valley, 

185 
and assuming conservatively that they number about 8,000, then 

about 536 Mexican-American residents of Yakima County cannot speak 
English and about 1,504 of them cannot read English at all or 
only "fairly well." All fifteen hundred of them are actually or 
potentially disenfranchised by law and are unable to participate 
in the normal political process of government in the county where 
they live, pay taxes, and either obey the laws or pay fines for 
violating them. 

The discriminatory ad hoc literacy tests allegedly 
being administered to Mexican-Americans by Yakima County voting 
registrars are said to consist of such diverse things as reading 
from lists of names and from a water bill. In addition, the prin- 
ted registration form used by Yakima County registrars contains 
an oath which must be signed In order to become registered and 

which contains the statement "...that I am able to read and speak 

186 

the English language." No standards exist to enable either the 

registrar or the applicant to figure out how many words of English 
and which words the applicant must be able to read and speak, 
and the criteria seem to be the subjective judgment of either 
the registrar or the applicant, who is required to expose him- 
self to criminal prosecution for perjury if he guesses wrong. 

187 
Although one Washington case indicated that reading knowledge 

of the candidates' names on the ballot was sufficient, there is 
no evidence that Yakima County registrars are aware of the de- 
cision, that they Intend to abide by it or that they have ever 

- 57 - 



281 



applied such an Interpretation to the rather vague constitu- 
tional and statutory requirement of literacy, 

Washington Is one of only about 17 states with literacy 
requirements for voting. With a few exceptions these states 
stretch from Washington In the northwest comer, along the west 
coast, across the southern border and up the east coast to New 
Hampshire and Include only one Interior state, Wyoming. 

Viewing language as an aspect of racial or ethnic dif- 
ferences, It Is apparent that the dlsenfranchlsement of persons 
who are not literate In English Is a technique of racism, de- 
signed to enable certain ethnic groups to maintain control over 
the Institutions and policies of government and to prevent others, 
differentiated chiefly on racial and ethnic grounds, from parti- 
cipating effectively In the political process of government. 

There are not enough Mexican-Americans In the Yakima 
Valley alone to have a decisive effect on most elections. But 
their complete enfranchisement would change the political equation 
In Yakima County and would give them a measure of political 
power, and the elected officials of the Valley could not afford to 
continue to Ignore totally the demands and Interests of that 
group of people. Not surprisingly, local elected officials and 
the local newspaper In Yakima have resisted and ridiculed efforts 
of Mexican-Americans to become registered and to vote. 

The registration procedure Itself Is intimidating and 
sometimes humiliating to Mexican-Americans, even to those who do 
read and speak English. They are treated with condescension and 
suspicion. As a group they do not show a strong motivation to 

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282 



solve their problems throxigh the processes that middle class 

Anglo-Americans have come to regard as "normal" that Is, 

through hard work, education, and political leverage. The ef- 
fect of the kind of treatment given to Mexican-Americans who try 
to register to vote Is to create anew and reinforce the suspi- 
cion and political disengagement that Is prevalent among them. 

The Yakima County Auditor, himself an elected official, 
has the power to appoint deputy voting registrars for rural pre- 
cincts In the county, with this authority the Auditor has ap- 
pointed about 35 deputy registrars In the Valley, none of them 
Mexican-Americans. When a group of Mexican-Americans working on 
voting registration met with the Auditor and a representative of 
the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney, also an elected offi- 
cial, the Auditor refused to appoint the Mexican-Americans who 

volunteered to serve as deputy registrars, saying that he had no 

189 
power to appoint them. 

To encourage maximum registration among Mexican-Americans 
and other members of minority groups the Auditor could also ap- 
point mobile deputy registrars to go out to homes and register 

190 
people. He has not appointed any and refuses to. 

The Auditor seems to be more interested in finding ex- 
cuses not to get voters registered in order to maintain the poli- 
tical status quo in Yakima County than in having people vote. 
The exclusionary effect of the Washington Constitution and imple- 
menting legislation is nicely suited to these purposes and to 
keeping political power in the hands of county commissioners, 
prosecutors, sheriffs, auditors, housing authority commissioners 

- 59 - 



283 



and health board officers who are sympathetic to the Interests 
of growers and uninterested In finding solutions for the problems 
of the poor In Yakima County, 



- 60 - 



284 



"We are staying In this fight to 
organize the workers. We will 
not give up until we have suc- 
ceeded In the task we have set 
for ourselves..." Cesar Chavez. 



11. ORGANIZATION . There has been practically no or- 
ganization among farm workers now In the Yakima Valley, and there 
Is still no union organizing activity among them. 

The last time major organizational efforts were made 
in the Valley may have been In the 1930' s. In August, 1933 » 
striking fruit pickers assembled near Congdon's Castle, a castle 
built In the orchards about ten miles from Yakima. When It was 
reported that they had disturbed some shrubbery, growers arrived, 
beat them with pick handles, injuring many (and sustaining In- 
juries themselves), and marched them to the Yakima County Jail. 
There they were put Into a hastily constructed stockade, com- 
plete with overhead walkways for guards and floodlights. They 
remained there for several months, until the spring of 193^i 
while an obliging Prosecuting Attorney filed miscellaneous charges 
against some of them. Occasionally some were taken out at night 
by vigilantes, tarred and feathered, and sent on their way. When 
strikers assembled In nearby Selah, the National Gviard scattered 
them with tear gas bombs, bayonets and machine guns. The edito- 
rial colxunn of the Yakima Mornlnff Herald urged the growers on to 

vigilante action, noting their Inclination to handle the problem 

191 
"In their own summary manner," 

Organization of farm workers Is difficult for several 

reasons: the seasonal nature of the work, the migratory habits 

of many of the workers, the resistance, hostility or lack of en- 

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I 



285 



couragement from other groups In the community, the tradition 
of rugged Individualism among Anglo farm workers, and not the 
least among them, the considerable disengagement among Mexican- 
American farm workers. They are people who have been ground 
down by the rest of society for so long that many are psycholo- 
gically conditioned to being treated unfairly, to getting none 
of the wealth of the soil that they produce, to being treated 
little better than domesticated animals would be treated and 
sometimes worse. 

Farm workers, Mexican-Americans and Negroes are unin- 
formed about rights they do have and unaware of the kinds of 
reasonable political and economic expectations they might begin 
to strive for. Being cheated out of a bonus is often regarded 
as something of a misfortune, but, like bad weather, not some- 
thing that much can be done about. There is a reluctance among 
farm workers to speak out about abuses by police or growers. 
Those who have attained the security of steady work sometimes 
become silent and unwilling to displease the growers upon whom 
the security of their families depends. 

There has been some activity, nevertheless, and there 
is likely to be more in the future. 

The Yakima Valley Council for Community Action, or- 
ganized in 1965 as part of the O.E.O. war on poverty, has esta- 
blished three community centers in the Upper Valley and four in 
the Lower Valley, and some of the center personnel have been ag- 
gressive in finding the people out in the camps and in following 

- 62 T 



286 



through with help for their problems. Other center staff person- 
nel, however, have not been so aggressive* In 1968 the Yakima 
County Commissioners, who are the most powerful political force 
in the Valley and are closely Identified with grower interests 
and growers themselves, ahnounced their Intention of exercising 

their option of the Green Amendment of 1967 to the Economic Op- 

192 
portunlty Act and taking over the Y.V.C.C.A., which Indicates 

that Its potential for achieving substantial Institutional change 
may be somewhat limited. 

Two new organizations were formed In 1967. by two men 
who are former farm workers, both of which are Independent of 
O.E.O, programs and are financed by their own membership and 
by some modest grants from non-governmental sources. The United 
Farm Workers Cooperative was organized In early 196?, largely 
as the Idea of one man, Tomas Vlllanueva, to provide farm workers 
with additional buying power through the cooperative merchandising 
of groceries, and to bring together the Mexican-Americans of the 
Valley and provide a means for them to bring their Interests 
and demands to bear upon the power structure of the Valley. Lo- 
cated In Toppenlsh, the Co-op began with a membership of 80 farm 
workers and a total capital of $1,100, raised from the sale of 
$5 "00 membership shares. It has become a center of activity among 
Mexican-Americans of the Lower Valley and publishes a weekly news- 
paper, "UnamanosJ" ("Let us Unite!"), which Is distributed 
throughout the Valley. Vlllanueva and the Co-op have been In- 
strumental In the adoption of a new and stronger set of health 

- 63 - 



287 



regulations for labor camps and in the pending inclusion of farm 
workers within the coverage of the state industrial accident laws. 
In addition, the Co-op was Instrumental in the organization of 
the Yakima Valley Project which provided legal assistance during 
the summer of 1968. In less than two years the Co-op has grown 
to a membership of about 85O and a total capital of about $8,500, 
it is negotiating for the purchase of the lot and building where 
its store is located and is planning to expand its operations to 
include a discount gasoline station and a cooperative agricul- 
tural processing and marketing enterprise. 

The other organization active in the Valley is the Mexi- 
can-American Federation of Washington State, organized in November, 
1967, by Sam Martinez to represent and promote the economic, 
social and cultural interests of Mexican-Americans and to achieve 
political power for Mexican-Americans. Martinez, who once fol- 
lowed the crops from the Rio Grande Valley with his family, is 
now the Director of the Y.V.C.C.A. in Yakima. The Federation 
has chapters in four areas of Washington where there are Mexican- 
American populations, besides the Yakima Valley. During I968 
it conducted a voting registration drive among Mexican-Americans 
and organized and financed the campaign of a Mexican-American 
candidate for Yakima County Commissioner who, though luisuccessful, 
polled over 12,000 votes, more than was thought possible for a 
previously unknown Mexican-American candidate. The Federation, 
along with four farm workers, has also commenced a law suit 
against the voting registrars to have the English literacy re- 
quirement declared unconstitutional, to put a stop to the admlnls- 

- 64 - 



288 



tratlon of literacy tests, and to have Spanish-speaking voting 

193 
registrars appointed by the Yakima Coiinty Auditor. In July, I968, 

members of the Federation requested the Yakima County Prosecuting 

Attorney to remove the Chairman of the Housing Authority from 

office, owing to his also being on the Yakima Coiinty District 

Board and having a conflict of Interest in the two offices, but 

19i^ 
the Prosecuting Attorney refused to do so. 

During the late summer of I968 tenants' organizations 
sprang up briefly In the two farm labor camps In the Yakima Valley 
operated by the Housing Authority. The Crewport Tenants' Council 
chose Merced Castillo, a quick, self-possessed Spanish-speaking 
Mexican-American from Texas as Its leader; and the Ahtanum Camp 
Improvement Committee chose for Its leader Walter Waterhouse, a 
retired fruit picker from California and Colorado to whom many 
of the camp tenants had previously looked for advice and leader- 
ship. Both organizations flourished briefly, acquired memberships 
of perhaps a couple of dozen each, met with the Yakima County Com- 
missioners and the Housing Authority Commissioners with demands 
for Improvements In the camps, and then faded at the end of Sep- 
tember, when the harvest was over, work became scarce, the nights 
became cold and the leaders and most of the members left the camps, 
some to travel south to winter over In the Rio Grande Valley. The 
Commissioners of the Housing Authority, who are long time resi- 
dents and know the agricultural business, made no Improvements, 
'Despite the difficulties and obstacles to organization 
In the Valley, there Is now a greater militancy among the resi- 
dent farm workers there than there has been In the past, and the 

- 65 - 



289 



growing season will probably bring new efforts and a greater 
awareness among farm workers of the effectiveness of concerted 
political and economic activity. 



- 66 - 



290 



FOOTNOTES 

1. See Washington State Department of Agriculture, Yakima County 
Government, 10 (196^); Mexican-Americans and persons with 
Spanish surnames were enumerated In the white population 

in the i960 census. See U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
White Americans in Rural Poverty 2 (Agricultural Econo- 
mic Report No. 124, I967). The special census of Spanish- 
surnames people was limited to five Southwestern states 

Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. U.S. 
Bureau of the Census, U.S. Census of Population: 196O (Sup- 
plementary Reports, Series PC (SI) -55, I968). 

2. 3 Consulting Services Corporation, Migrant Farm Workers 

in the State of Washington 5 (196?); 2 Id. 58. (Hereafter 
cited as Consulting Services Corporation.) 

3. See C. McWllllams, North from Mexlcc 8, 9 (19^9); James, 
Langdon, Langdon, Patakl , Webster & Patterson, The Endless 
Cycle 25 (1967) . (Hereafter cited as The Endless Cycle). 

4. Washington State Department of Agriculture, Yakima County 
Agriculture 1 (1964). 

5. Id. at 2. 

6. League of Women Voters of Yakima, Profile: Yakima County 
Government 1 (undated). 

7. Landis & Brooks, Farm Labor in the Yakima Valley, Washing- 
ton 40 (1936). 

8. Hathaway, The Migratory Worker and Family Life 9^ (193^). 

9. Landis & Brooks, supra note 7 at 32, 43, 5I ; C. McWllllams, 
111 Fares the Land 53 (1942). 

10. The Endless Cycle, supra note 3, at 93, 94. 

11. See President's Commission on Migratory Labor, Migratory 
Labor in American Agriculture 79 (1951). Chase reports 
that Mexican-Americans working in Colorado beet fields in 
1967 earned as little as >,.30 an hour. See Chase, "The 
Migrant Farm Worker in Colorado - The Life and the Law," 
40 U.Colo. L. Rev. 45 (I967). 

12. The Endless Cycle, supra note 3, at 27. 

13- League of Women Voters of Yakima, supra note 6, at 4, 
14. C. McWllllams, 111 Fares the Land 62 (1942). 



- 1 - 



291 



15. 1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Agriculture, Part 
46, 282, 283 (1964); League of Women Voters of Yakima, 
supra note 6, at 4. 

16. League of Women Voters of Yakima, supra note 6, at 4. 

17. Id. 

18. Id. 

19. 1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Agriculture Part 46, 
297 (1964). 

20. League of Women Voters of Yakima, supra note 6, at 2. 
20,1. 1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, supra note 19t at 282^283. 

21. C. McWllllams, 111 Fares the Land 64 (19^2). 

22. Yakima MiemliigrBer&l-d:^ , Aug. 25, 1933 at 12, col. 3 ff.; 
C. McWllllams, 111 Fares the Land 64-66 (19^2). 

23. Yakima momlAg herald , Aug. 25, 1933 at 12, col. 3s and 
see complaint In Buttrey v. Housing Authority of Yakima 
County . No. 51991 (Super. Ct. Yakima County, filed Dec. 
6, 1968). 

21^ Yakima Herald -"Ropublic, Aug. 29, 1967, Page 1, Col. 6. 



25. W.A.C. 248-60-010 et seq . ; W.A.C. 243-62-010 et seq . 

26. Seattle Times, Nov. 20, 1968 at 23. 

27. Seattle Post-Intelllgencer, Feb. 28, I969 at 10, cols. 4,5. 

28. H.R. Doc. 16913, 90th Cong., 2d Sess. 1463, 1464. 

29. Statement of Lee Luckson, former Director, Yakima Valley 
Council for Community Action, at Whitman College, VJalla 
Walla, Washington, Sept. 21, 1968. 

30. Estimate of David Lalng, Granger, Washington. 

31. 2 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 2?. 

32. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Poverty In Rural Areas 
of the United States 3 (Agricultural Economic Report No. 
63, 1964). 

33. Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, The Migratory 
Farm Labor Problem In the United States, 90th Cong., 1st 
Sess. 1,9 (1968). 

--'it •^- 



292 



3^. 2 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 21. 

35. See Landis 4 Brooks, supra note 7, at 12, 62; 2 Consul- 
ting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 1. 

36. The Endless Cycle, supra at note 3, at 12. 

37. 2 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 29; 
3 Id. at 58. 

38. See President's National Advisory Committee on Rural 
Poverty, The People Left Behind k, figure 1 (I967). 

39. 3 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at l^J^. 
kO. 3 Id' at 15. 

kl. 2 Id. at 39. 

41.1. 2 Id. at 37. 

k2. 2 Id. at 32, 37 J 3 Id. at 59. 

43. 3 Id. at 16. 

il'U. See Click, "The Right to Equal Opportunity," in La Raza* 

Forgotten Americans 95 et s eg . , especially 69-100 (Samora 
ed. 1966); Rowen, "A Minority Nobody Knows," The Atlantic 
Monthly, June, 1967, at 47 et seq . , especially 51i52. 

45. 33 S.W. 2d 790 (Tex. Civ. App. 1930), 

46. 64 F. Supp. 544 (D.C.S.D. Cal. 1946), aff'd I6I F.2d 
774 (9th Cir. 1947). 

47. Id. at 549. 

48. 96 F. Supp. 1004 (D.C.D. Ariz. 1951). 

49. Id. at 1007. 

50. See Sanchez, "History, Culture, and Education," in La 
Raza; Forgotten Americans 1-26 (Samora ed. 1966). 

51. N.M. Const. Art. XXI S4. 

52. Essays by Diana Mesa, Juanlta Huerta, and Yolanda Guersa, 
7th grade, Jeremiah Rhodes Jr. High School, San Antonio, 
Texas, Oct. 7,8, 1964. 

53 • Sanchez, supra note 50, at 12,13. 

54. U.S. Bureau of the Census, I'.S. Census of Populations 196O 
at 19, table 3 (Supp. report series PC (SI) -55. 1968). 



- ill - 



293 



55 • statement of Dr. Joe Cardenas, Chairman, Education Depart- 
ment, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas at hearings 
before the Special Subcommittee on Bilingual Education, 
Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, U.S. Senate, 90th 
Cong. 1st Sess., May, 1967, pt. 1, p. 330j C. McWllllams, 
North From Mexico 299 (19^9). 

56. Bilingual Education Act, 20 U.S.C.A. f* 880 b to 880 b-6 
(1969 supp.) . 

57. Wash. Rev. Code §28.05.010 (196I). 

58. See Meyer v. Nebraska . 262 U.S. 390 (I923). 

59. Joint Committee on Education, Education In Washington 
42 (5th biennial report, I968). 

60. The bill. Wash., H.B. 153. '^Ist Sess. (I969). was enacted 
and became Ch. 71 Wash, laws 1969. In partlnent part (§§2,^4-) 
It provides: "That nothing In this section shall preclude 
the teaching of students In a language other than English 
when such Instruction will aid the educational advance- 
ment of the student." 

61. See Proceedings, National Conference on Educational Oppor- 
tunities for Mexican-Americans, 63-6'', Austin, Texas, South- 
west Educational Development Laboratory (Apr, 25, 26, 1968). 

62. 4 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 12. 

63. Wash. Rev. Code § 26. 28.060 (I96I). 

64. Wash. Rev. Code § 28.27.150 (196I). 

65. See National Conference on Labor Legislation, Report of 
the Committee on Migratory Labor, 19^4 at 1 (mlmeo 1944) j 
President's Commission on Migratory Labor, Migratory Labor 
In American Agriculture 167-172 (1951); President's Com- 
mission on Migratory Labor, Report to the President on 
Demestlc Migratory Labor 4 (1956); President's Commission 
on Migratory Labor, Report to the President on Domestic 
Migratory Farm Labor I6-19 (1960)j President's National 
Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty, The People Left Be- 
hind 49, 50 (1967); President's National Advisory Commission 
on Rural Poverty, Rural Poverty In the United States 149- 
169 (1968); Testimony at the Cabinet Committee Hearings on 
Mexican-American Affairs, El Paso, Texas, The Mexlcan- 
Amerlcani A New Focus on Opportunity 97-120 (Oct. 26- 

28, 1967) J 4 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 
2, at 9-13. 

66. Letter to Senator Harrison Williams, Dec. 21, 1967 In 
hearings before the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor of 

- Iv - 



294 



the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, U.S. Senate, 
90th Cong., 1st Sess., Dec, 1967 at I68-170. 

67. See e.g., President's National Advisory Commission on 
Rural Poverty, The People Left Behind 6I (I967). 

68. 2 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at iJ-5,^6. 

69. Citizens' Board of Inquiry Into Hunger and Malnutrition In 
the United States, Hunger, U.S.A. I6-38 (1968); "Hearings 
of the Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower, and Poverty 
of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare," 90th Cong., 
1st Sess. (Apr., 1967). See also Drew, "Going Hungry In 
America," The Atlantic Monthly, Dec, I968, at 53-61 for 

a description of the refusal of Congress and the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture to respond to the problem of malnu- 
trition In the United States. And see Southern Christian 
Leadership Conference v. Freeman , Civil No. 158^-68 (D.D.C., 
decided June 17, 1968) for an unsuccessful attempt to pre- 
vent approximately J229 million In unspent surplus com- 
modity funds from being returned to the treasury at the 
end of fiscal I968. 

70. Subcommittee on Migratory Labor of the Committee on Labor 
and Public Welfare of the U.S. Senate, The Migratory Farm 
Labor Problem In the United States, S. Rep. No. IOO6, 
90th Cong., 1st Sess., 53 (1968). 

71. See Prodlpto & Panning, Accidents to Farm People In 
Washington (1960); M. Hathaway, the Migratory Worker and 
Family Life 102 (1934); Hoffman & Seltzer, "Migrant Farm 
Labor In Upstate New York," 4 Colum. J. of L. & Soc 
Probs. 2, 41 (1968). 

72. Wash. Rev. Code § 51.12.010 (I96I). 

73. Wash. Rev. Code § 51. 12.040 (I96I). 

74. W.A.C. 296-17-020, (Class 48-3) (effective April 1, I969). 

75. The bill, Wash. H.B. 86O, 4lst Sess. (1969), would repeal 
Wash. Rev. Code § 51.12.040 (I96I) and thereby terminate 
the power the Director of the Department of Labor and 
Industries now has to define additional occupations as 
"extrahazardous." But see the following: (1) Wash. H.B. 
398, 4lst Sess. (1969)1 which would extend workmen's com- 
pensation coverage to include all agricultural work. (2) 
Wash. H.B. 551, 4lst Sess. (I969), a complete revision of 
workmen's compensation law, which would extend coverage to 
agricultural employees. (3) V/ash. H.B. 746, 4lst Sess. 
(1969). which would add to the category of extrahazardous 



295 



employment "... agricultural pursuits Involving the use 
of sharp hand tools, or working with or near power-driven 
equipment ..." As of Apr. 17, 1969i all bills mentioned 
in this footnote were under consideration by the Committee 
on Labor and Employment Security. 

76. This is a recommendation consistently made by studies of 
migrant farm workers. See President's Commission on Mi- 
gratory Labor, Migratory Labor In American Agriculture 159 
(1951)1 President's Commission on Migratory Labor, Re- 
port to the President on Domestic Migratory Farm Labor 

32 (i960); ^ Consulting Services Corporation, supra note- 2, 
at 3 ("to all agricultural workers"); Hoffman & Seltzer, 
supra note 71. at 41; J. Chase, "The Migrant Farm Worker 

In Colorado the Life and the Law," il-0 U. of Colo. 

L. Rev. 45, 77 (1967); Bivens , "Legal Disadvantages of Mi- 
gratory Workers," I6 Labor L.J. 584, 593 (I965). 

77 . See complaint in Buttrey v. Housing Authority of Yakima 
County , supra note 23. 

78. 3 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 13? 
Sax & Hiestrand, "Slumlordlsm as a Tort," 65 Mich. L. Rev. 
869 (1967); Shorr, Slums and Social Insecurity, H.E.W. 
Research Rep. No. 1, at 12, 13 (1966). 

79. League of Women Voters of Yakima, supra note 6, at 4. 

80. 2 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 13^ 

81. Id. 

82. Hoffman & Seltzer, supra note 71. at 47. 

83. 3 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 8. 

84. 2 Id. at 16. 

85. Id. 

86. Id. at 25. 

87. Id. 

88. Id. 

89. 3 Id. at 8, 9. 

90. Interview with Bob Clarke, Washington State Employment 
Security Dept., Yakima, July 25, 1968. 

91. See Hoffman & Seltzer, supra note 71. at 20. 

- vl - 



296 



92. Telephone conversation with Richard Jackman, Farm Place- 
ment Service, Washington State Employment Security Dept., 
Seattle, Mar. 5, 1969. The practice Is an old one. See 
newspaper article, "Growers Decide on Picking Wage, Yakima 
Morning Herald , Aug. 2?, 1933 » at 2, Col. 1. See also 

M. Hathaway, The Migratory Worker and Family Life 7^,75 
(193^). 

93. 15 U.S.C.A. §1 (1963); Wash. Rev. Code S 19. 86. 030 (I96I); 
See Glvens, supra note 76, at 591. 592. 

94. Wash. Rev. Code I 49.if8.060 (I96I)} Wash. Rev. Code § 49.52.050 
(2) (1961). 

95. 1967. 1968 Prosecuting Att'y for Yakima Covinty Ann. Rep. 

96. Wash. Rev. Code S 49.48.040 (I96I). 

97. Interview by Tom Chambers and Jim Marston with Harry Popp, 
Sr,, District Manager, Washington State Dept. of Labor 
and Industries, Yakima, July, 1968, 

98. Letter from Harold J, Petri e. Director, Washington State 
Dept. of Labor and Industries, dated January 7, 1969» to 
Charles E. Ehlert, on file with the records of the Yakima 
Valley Project. 

99. Wash. Rev. Code g 49.52,070. 

100. Sanchez v. Ziminga , Civil Action, Toppenish Justice Court, 
Raymond P. Ried, Justice of the Peace, Judgment entered 
September 25, 1968. 

101. 29 u,s,c, § 213, 

102. 80 Stat. 832, 29 U,S,C, § 206. 

103. Wash. Rev. Code 49.46.020. 

104. Wash. Rev. Code 49.46.010 (5) (a). 

105. Wash. Rev. Code 50.04.150. 

106. Wash, Rev. Code 51.12.010, 

107. Consulting Services Corporation, Vol. II, 17. 

108. U.S. Constitution, Amendment Thirteen; 18 U.S.C. § I58I. 

109. Pierce v. United States . 146 P. 2d 84 (5th Cir, 1944), 
cert , denied 324 U.S. 873 (19^5). petition denied 157 F.2d 



- vil - 



297 



SiJ-S (5th Clr. 19^6), cert , denied 329 U.S. 339 (194?) . 

110. Wash. Rev. Code Ch. 19.30; Pub. Law 88-582 (196'4-) 29 

u.s.c. §§601-613. 

111. 29 U.S.C. §601 (a). 

112. 29. U.S.C. §607 (b). 

113. 29. U.S.C. §613. 

114. 29 C.F.R. Parts 40.4l. 

115. Wash. Rev. Code §19.20.130. 

116. Letter from Harold J. Petrle, Director, Washington State 
Department of Labor and Industries, to William N. Matthias, 
dated July 2k, 1968, on file with the records of the Yakima 
Valley Project. 

117. Ibid . 

118. 29 U.S.C. §49; Wash. Rev. Code §50.12.180. 

119. Interview with Bob Clarke, Washington State Department 
of Employment Security, by Charles E. Ehlert, in Yakima, 
July 25, 1968. 

120. Washington State Dept. of Employment Security, Annual 
Farm Labor Report 1 (1968). 

121. Telephone conversation with Richard Jackman, Farm Place- 
ment Service, Washington State Dept. of Employment Security, 
by the writer, Seattle, March 5, 1969. 

122. 20 C.F.R. §602. 9(d) (I968). 

123. Interview with Don Johnson, Washington State Dept. of 
Employment Security, by Prof. John Junker, in Toppenish, 
September 4, 1968. 

124. 20 C.F.R. §602.9 (1968). 

125. See e.g. Gomez v. Florida State Employment Service , No. 
68-870-CIU-TC (D.C.S.D. Fla . , filed April 4, 1968), 14 
Welfare L. Bull. 17-18 (1968); and Ramirez v. Weinberger , 
No. 185906, Cal. Super. Ct., Sacramento Cty (filed July 
31. 1968), 14 Welfare L. Bull. 18 (I968) (taxpayer suit 
to enjoin unlawful expenditure of state funds, because 
housing alleged to be inadequate under 20 C.F.R. §603.4, 
604.1 and California State Department of Employment 
Security Manual). 

- vlli - 



36-513 O - 70 - pt. 1 -- 20 



298 



126. 29. U.S.C. §152 (3) (1965). 

127. 65 Wn.2d 827, 400 P. 2d 72 (1965). 

128. Peck, "Judicial Creativity and State Labor Law," kO Wash. 
L. Rev. 7i^3. 777 (1965). 

129. Statement of Barbara Mats en, Yakima Farm Bureau, at Con- 
ference on "The Faces of Poverty in Eastern Washington," 
Whitman College, Walla Walla, September 21, 1968. 

130. 65 Wn.2d at 83^. 

131. 3 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 29. 

132. Id. at 3^' 

133. Id. at 35-36. 

134. Id. at kk-k6. 

135. See the Endless Cycle, supra note 3, at 64; and 2 Con- 
sulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 32. 

136. E.g., Testimony of various grower representatives at 
Hearings before the Washington State Board of Health, 
on proposed new regulations for labor camps and field 
sanitation, Olympia, Washington, October 29, 1968; 
Statement of Mel Ammerman, State Farm Bureau President, 
November 19, 1968, reported in Seattle Times, November 20, 
2968, 23. 

137. Hoffman and Seltzer, op.cit . supra note 76, at 23; The 
People Left Behind, op.cit supra note 38, at 22. 

138. Hoffman and Seltzer, op. cit. supra note 76, at 22-23. 

139. E.g., Mittlebach and Short, "Rural Poverty in the West 

Status and Implications," 15 Kan. L. Rev. 453, 457-461 (1967). 

140. See The People Left Behind, supra note 38, at 93 et.seq . ; 
"Rural People in the American Economy," Agricultural Re- 
port No. 101, Economic Research Service, U.S. Dept. of 
Agriculture, Washington, D.C., October 1966, 30-33! "Poverty 
in Rural ^.reas of the United States," Agricultural Econo- 
mic Report No. 63, Economic Research Service, U.S. Dept. 

of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., November, 1964, 26-28. 

141. See The People Left Behind, supra note 38, at 98; "Rural 
People in the American Economy," supra note 140, at 31 ; 
Brann, Comment, "Houdng of Migrant Agricultural Workers," 

- ix - 



299 



^6 Tex. L. Rev. 933 (1968); Moore, The Slaves We Rent, 
Random House, New York, (1965) 35-50. 

liJ'Z. See Prodlpto, "Substandard Housing in Yaklms," Washington 

State University, Pullman, 196I; Landis and Brooks, op.clt . 
supra , note 7, at kl ■ 

143. W.A.C. 2ij-8.60.010, et seq ." 

l^^^. 3 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 18. 

145. 29 U.S.C. 149, et seq . 

li^6. 20 C.F.R. §602.9 (d)(iJ-)(l)(1968). 

1^7. See note 122, supra . 

148. Memorandiun, Yakima County District Health Board, "I966 
Yakima County Labor Camps . " 

149. The Endless Cycle, supra note 3, at 109-III. 

150. Complaint In Buttrey v. Housing Authority of Yakima County , 
supra note 23. 

151. Quit claim Deed from United States of America to Housing 
Authority of Yakima County, dated December 20, 19^9, 
recorded In Vol. 479 of Deeds, 528, under filing No. 
1286116, records of the Auditor of Yakima County, 4-5. 

152. See Infra n. 151 et seq . { The Endless Cycle, supra note 3, 
at 95-96; Thorp v. City of Durham Housing Authority , 37 
U.S.L.W. 4068 (1969); Note, "Public Landlords and Private 
Tenants: The Eviction of 'Undesirables' from Public Housing 
Projects," 77 Yale L.F. 988 (1968); Rosen, "Tenants Rights 
In Public Housing," Center on Social Welfare Policy and 
Law, Columbia University, (I967) (Mlmeo.) 

153. The Endless Cycle, supra note 3, at 95- 

154. State of Washington v. Charles Wolfe, Criminal Complaint 
No. 164-C, Union Gap Justice Court, Yakima County, Washing- 
ton, 1967. 

155. State of Washington v. Wayne Wolfe , Criminal Complaint 

No. I65-C, Union Gap Justice Court, Yakima County, Washing- 
ton, 1967. 

156. State of Washington v. Lynn Wolfe, Criminal Complaint 

No. 166-C, Union Gap Justice Court, Yakima County, V/ashlng- 
ton, 1967. 



300 



157. Interview with Leslie E. Vannice, Justice of the Peace, 
Union Gap, Washington, by the writer, in Union Gap Justice 
Court, September 26, I968. 

158. Wash. Rev. Code 70.46.050. 

159. Wash. Rev. Code 70.46.060 (196I). 

160. Wash. Rev. Code 7^.08.030 (old age assistance: five of 
past nine years); Wash. Rev. Code 7^.10.020 (disability 
assistances one year); Wash. Rev. Code 7^.12.030 (aid 
to families with dependent children! one year); I967 
Session Laws, Pamph. Ed., Ch. 13, Ex. Sess., Vol. "M", 
2931 (general assistance* three of past four years). 

161. Martinez v. Smith , Civil Action No. 7^55, U.S. District 
Court, Western District of Washington, Northern Division, 
filed November, 1967i see also Thompson v. Shapiro , 

270 F. Supp. 331 (three- judge court) (D.C.Conn. I967) (held, 
one year residence requirem nt for aid to families with 
dependent children violates Privileges and Immunities 
Clause and Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amend- 
ment . ) 

162. Wash. Rev. Code 7^.12.280 (196I); W.A.C. 388-33-O3O. 

163. Llndsey v. Smith . Civil Action No. 7636, U.S. District 
Court, Western District of Washington, Northern Division, 
filed 1968. See Collins v. State Board of Social Wel- 
fare , 2/J-8 Iowa 369, 81 N.W. 2d k (1957) . 

l6i^, W.A.C. 388-08-010. 

165. King V. Smith , U.S. , 20 L.ed. 2d III8, 88 S. Ct. 

(1968). 

166. Statement of Paul Boudin, Yakima County Administrator, 
Washington State Department of Public Assistance at a 
meeting at the Migrant Service Center trailer, Toppenlsh, 
August 26, 1968. 

167. M. Hathaway, op. cit. supra note 8, at 211-212. 

168. See 3 Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 56. 

169. See Edwards v. California , 314 U.S. I60 (1941) (holding 
unconstitutional California statute making it a crime to 
Import a pauper into the state). But see VJash. Rev. Code 
9.91.040 ("Importing Pauper"). 

170. 1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Agriculture 1964, 
Part 46, at I3, 14 (p67). 



301 



171. Migratory Labor In American Agriculture, supra note 65, 
at 159s "Report to the President on Domestic Migratory 
Labor," supra note 65, at 2; "Report to the President on 
Domestic Migratory Farm Labor," supra note 65, at 22; 
The People Left Behind, supra note 38, at 89 i The Migra- 
tory Farm Labor Problem In the United States," 1968 Re- 
port of the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, supra note 
33, at 56-61 ; M. Hathaway, supra note 8, at 213-216; 
Consulting Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 8; 

J. Chase, supra note 76, at 77; Scholes, "The Migrant 
Worker," in La Razai Forgotten Americans, (J. Samora ed.) 
80-81; C. McWilliams, 111 Fares the Land, eupra note 9, at 
3iH-345("In the files of the Tolan Transcript, for example, 
will be found the records of a case in which an American 
farm family was shipped back and forth from South Dakota 
to North Dakota, with each state denying responsibility 
for their welfare, four times in slightly less than a 
month. The family was finally stranded on a railroad 
track which constituted the border between the two states.") 
Thomas Paine described the "settlement laws" as "instru- 
ments of civic torture" - "by which the poor, instead of 
being relieved, are tormented." Paine, The Rights of Man. 

172. Annual Report of the Prosecuting Attorney of Yakima County, 
V/ashlngton, for the year ending December 3I • 1968, 8. 

173. No. 38357, Supreme Court of Washington. 

17^. See Wash. Rev. Code 9. 52. 010 (Kidnapping); Wash. Rev. Code 
9.52.020 (Conspiracy to Kidnap); Wash. Rev. Code 9.11.020 
(Second Degree Assault); V/ash. Rev. Code 9.II.O3O (Third 
Degree Assault); Wash. Rev. Code 9.27.06O (1) (Unlawful 
Assembly); Wash. Rev. Code 9.33.O6O (1) (Coersion); 
Wash. Rev. Code 9.33.020 (1), (5) (Oppression Under 
Color of Office); Wash. Rev. Code, 9.3^.020 (Personating 
an Officer); Wash. Rev. Code 9. 37.030 (Acting Without 
Lawful Authority); 18 U.S.C. §1201 (Kidnapping); 18 U.S.C. 
§2^4-1 (Conspiracy against Right of Citizens); and 18 U.S.C. 
§ 2if2 (Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law). 

175 • Constitution of the State of Washington, Amendment 5t 

176. Wash. Rev. Code 29.07.O7O (13). 

177. ^2 U.S.C. §1971 (a)(2)(C). 

178. Wash. Attorney General's Opinions, I967, No. 21. 

179. Mexican-American Federation-Washington State, et al. v. 
Naff, et al. , Civil Action No. 2457, U.S. District Court, 
Eastern District of Washington, Southern Division. 



- xll - 



302 



180. 2Consultlne Services Corporation, supra note 2, at 29, 

181. Ibid , at 30-31. 

182. Ibid, at 11. 

183. Ibid , at 2. 

184. Constitution of the State of Washington, Amendment 5. 

185. See p. 5. supra . 

186. Permanent Registration Form, 1-19^8, Adopted by Division 
of Municipal Corporations. 

187. Hill V. Howell . 70 Wash. 603, 127 Pac. 211 (1912). 

188. Wash. Rev. Code 29.07.010. 

189. Article entitled "Mexican-Americans seek Spanish-speaking 
registrars," and editorial entitled "Brooklynese, too, Sam?" 
Yakima Herald Republic , March 8, 1968; Article entitled 
"Spanish-speaking election registrars? No, says Naff," Yakima 
Herald Republic , March I6, I968. 

190. Wash. Rev. Code §29. 07. 010 (196I). 

191. See C. McWllliams, 111 Fares the Land, supra note 9. at 6i*-66; 
Yakima Morning Herald , August 17, 25,26,27,29, and 31. Sep- 
tember 2 and 3, 1933. 

192. The Poverty Warrior, Yakima Valley Council for Community 
Action, Vol. 1, No. 1, June 1, 1968, 1. Asked by the 
Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney, the Washington State 
Attorney General gave an informal opinion that the County 
Commissioners lacked the legal power to operate a community 
action program, and would have to wait for legislative 
amendments by the 1969 session of the Legislature. Letter 
from John J. O'Connell, Attorney General, to Lincoln E. 
Shropshire, Prosecuting Attorney, May 1, 1968. Legisla- 
tion has been introduced to accomplish this. H.B. 478, 
4lst Sess. (1969). As of Apr. 17, 1969. this bill was 
under consideration by the Senate Rules Committee. 

193 • Mexican- American Federation-Washington State, et al. v. 
Naff, et al. , supra note 179. 

194. See editorial entitled "'Wolf call monotonous," Yakima 
Herald Republic , July 20, 1968. 



-* xlil- - 



303 

[From the Congressional Kecord, Nov. 4, 1969] 
Migration to Miseky 

Mr. MoNDALE. Mr. President, the Palm Beach, Fla., Post-Times has recently 
completed an eight-part series entitled "Migration to Misery." The author of the 
series, Kent Pollock, has written what I consider to be one of the most vivid 
descriptions of the realities of the migrant and seasonal farmworker problem 
that I have read. 

In the first of the series. Pollock discusses the people that he met in his field 
investigations, and describes the self-perpetuating cycle of migrancy in which 
they are caught. 

Migrant farmworker, whose strong backs, calloused hands, and seasoned 
muscles are their livelihood, live in an American atrocity in terms of their 
housing, food, and the entire atmosphere in which they exist. Pollock finds that 
"migrants are the unwanted people, except at harvest time. Even then they are 
not accepted as members of communities." 

Pollock notes that migrants have few friends and many enemies, and that they 
are often exploited by many, including their own people. He gives an example 
of a man that sold migrants life insurance on a weekly basis, and when the 
migrant died and his family sought relief, they found the insurance was for an 
automobile. The man did not own an automobile. 
Pollock notes that — 

"Some farmers have automatic systems to water their beans, but their workers 
live in housing without showers and inside toilet facilities. Some have insulated 
cow barns while their workers must live in the tin shacks and cram old newspapers 
into cracks to keep the wind out." 

The second of the series of articles discusses in greater detail the perpetual 
cycle that traps the migrant and concludes : 

"Sickness, disability, bad fortune — tragedy sometimes provide the only exit 
from the migrant stream." 

Pollock attempts to understand what makes a migrant continue to travel 
from State to State in search of back-breaking work by analyzing his educa- 
tional background. Migrant children at an early age work alongside their par- 
ents, and are rarely sparetl fi-om working in the fields long enough for school 
attendance. Child labor laws are not enforced, and few compulsory attendance 
laws are applied to migrant children. It is not unusual that we find that the aver- 
age migrant and his family had attained an education equivalent of only 8.6 
years, and that over 17 percent of all migrants are functionally illiterate. This 
perilously low level of education perpetuates an inability to perform other than 
unskilled tasks. More importantly, it perpetuates a lock of confidence to try other 
work, and locks the migrant into the cycle of poverty. 

In the third of the series of articles, entitled "Squeezing Out a Living," the 
author discusses the pay that migrants receive, the extent to which laws such 
as the Crew Leader Registration Act are not enforced, and in describing the 
nature of the work, notes : 

"The migrant might work like a machine and live like an animal, but he is a 
human being." 

In the fourth and fifth columns, the housing situation is discussed : 
"Everyone in a position to better migrant housing is aware of the problem. But 
some simply won't publicly admit that there is a housing shortage. There is no 
quick solution. Meanwhile, the migrants suffer. They are serving life sentences 
in the prison of their environment." 

The plight of the elderlv migrant is discussed in the sixth article. 
In the seventh of the series of articles, the author discusses an extensive inter- 
view that he had with Elijah "Bubba" Boone, who at one time was a migrant, 
but because of education and drive has been able to settle out of the stream. In 
this interview— much as he did when he testified before the Subcommittee on 
Migratory Labor, Boone discusses the reasons that migrants are unabie to leave 
the stream and the need for change which he feels can be accomplished only 
through power: 

-Money makes power, education makes power, legislation makes power— we 
have none of these. All vou can do is hope for change and this I do every day." 
In the final article, Kent Pollock talks about efforts to improve migrant con- 
ditions in Palm Beach County, Fla. He notes that although that effort has been 
expansive, it has not been enough. 



304 

Mr. President, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, I have 
become personnally aware of the facts and realities covered in these articles. 
I regret that I have to report to the Senate that too much of this discussion and 
these conclusions are all too true. 

Because of their significance, I ask unamimous consent that the series of eight 
articles be printed in the Record. 

There being no objection, the articles were ordered to be printed in the Record, 

as follows: _ ^ .„„„, 

"[From the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post-Times, Oct. 5, 1969] 

"They Live Unwanted, in the Shadows of Society 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"Georgia Johnson stooped down, ran his fingers through a plant and came .up 
with 14 string beans. His 70-year-old-body ached, but he continued to work. 

"Caught in a self -perpetuating cycle, Georgia has to work. He is a migrant. 

"Lillie Mae Brown, 151, leaned back on her rusty bed and cried. A plaque in- 
scribed with the Lord's prayer hung over her head. 

"Lillie Mae was a migrant all her life until her body gave out. Now she sits 
alone in her one-room shack, praying, waiting to die. 

"Harvey AVoodard sat atop an unmounted, muddy tire. A broken man, he was 
drunk in the middle of the day. The smell of cheap wine surrounded him. 

"Harvey turned to wine years ago when he began migrating — nothing else re- 
duced his misery. In the past two months, Harvey has made about $100. 

"The plight of the migrant is full of untold stories, stories very much like that 
of Georgia's and Lillie's and Harvey's. 

"They travel from state to state straining to harvest an affluent nation's food. 

"They snap beans, pick squash, pull tobacco or corn — stoop labor mostly. 

"Their strong Dacks, calloused hands and seasoned muscles are their livelihood. 

"A migrant's work, his housing, his food — the very atmosphere in which he 
exists — is an American atrocity. 

"Nobody really knows how many migrants there are, but most estimates fall 
around 276,000. An educated guess would put Palm Beach County's migrant pop- 
ulation at 38,000. 

"Migratory workers performed more than nine per cent of the nation's seasonal 
farmwork in 1968, working in 900 counties of 46 states. 

"The migrants go where there is work. They travel either in old buses or old 
cars, up and down the migrant stream from New York to Florida and points 
west. 

"Migrants are the unwanted people except at harvest time. Even then they 
are not accepted as members of communities. 

"They live in the shadow of society. The only road left open to a migrant in 
most cases is the road to the next farm. 

"Mrs. John B. Herbert and her husband left the migrant stream three years 
ago. Now they live in a tin shack with no toilet facilities in Belle Glade. 

" 'I have nothing to do but sit here and wait on the $78 they gave us per month 
and the season,' Mrs. Herbert said. Her husband, .suffering from a heart condi- 
tion, leaned on a rickety chair nearby. 

"Unlike the Herberts, some migrants get away from farm labor entirely, but 
they are a minority. 

"Since 1949, the migratory work force has decreased from 422,000 to 276.000. 
Available statistics show a i>eak period of migrant employment in 1965 of 
466,000. 

"Migrants work in incredibly abominable conditions for incredibly low wages. 

"The migrant in 1967 worked an average of only 85 days for an average an- 
nual income of $922. 

"Yet there is a feeling of pride in their work. They are fighting a lo.«!ing battle 
against elaborate mechanization. 

"But there is hope — a sort of unexplainable dream that tomorrow might hold 
an answer. 

"But it won't. 

"A migrant has few friends and many enemies. He is exploited by many — even 
by his own people. 

"In Belle Glade last year a man sold migrants life insiirance on a weekly basis. 
When a migrant died and his relatives sought relief they found the insurance 
was for an automobile. 



305 

"The family did not own a car. 

"Many of the farmers who need migrant services show their gratitude by pro- 
viding blighted housing. Other farmers try to better migrant conditions. 

"But their efforts have not and apparently will not be sufficient to effectuate 
major changes. 

"The primary problem with migrants is the very nature of their work — it's 
seasonal. Tliey must move to keep up with the crop. 

"And before conditions can be bettered, many feel, migration must be stopped 
and migrants must settle into communities. 

"They are never in one place long enough to reap the few benefits available to 
them. 

"Despite several health projects aimed directly at migrants, the average per 
capita health care expenditure in 1967 was $12, in contrast to an average of 
more than $200 for the total population. 

"Levels of education are perilously low. So low, in fact, that Palm Beach 
County schools have begun a special prgram aimed solely at exposing migrant 
children to modern society. 

"Although funds for improving primary and secondary schools across the na- 
tion have soared to new heights, the migrants in 1967 had attained an average 
grade level of only 8.6. 

"Over 17 per cent of all migrants were functionally illiterate in 1967. 

"U.S. Senate subcommittee reported, "Children of migratory farm workers 
have fewer educational opportunities and a lower educational attainment than 
any other group of American children.' 

"Florida's problem is particularly pressing because many experts predict that 
when the migrants stop migrating they will settle in the state. 

"Florida needs the farm workers on a seasonal basis, but the state does not 
have adequate provisions to accommodate them year around. 

"According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some 
290,000 acres of vegetables are harvested yearly in Florida with a yield of al- 
most two million tons. 

"Although mechanical harvesting becomes more prevalent yearly, many crops 
must still be picked manually because they don't lend themselves to economical 
mechanization. 

"These are the crops left for the hard-working, abused migrant. 

"The harvest season in South Florida extends from late October to the end 
of May. During that time migrants from all over the United States are employed 
here. 

"There are roughlj nine groups of people within the migrant population, break- 
ing them down by race, language and origin. 

"These groups of traditionally oppressed people find themselves the target of 
a special discrimination when they enter the migrant stream. 

"Some farmers have automatic systems to water their beans, but their workers 
live in housing without showers or inside toilet facilities. 

"Some have insulated cow barns while their workers must live in tin shacks 
and cram old newspapers into cracks to keep the wind out. 

"PYderal and state legislation which covers migratory laborers is often con- 
flicting, confusing and unenforced. There are strict housing codes available, 
i3ut many migrants still live in filthy, decaying huts. 

"Farmers say they are doing all they can to better the situation. If we tear 
down the rotting housing, they ask, where will we put the people? 

"Floyd Ericson, president of the Everglades Farm Bureau, says the small 
farmer is caught in an economic squeeze and cannot afford to provide better 
housing. 

"He says farmers who try to better their migrant housing lose money through 
vandalism and improper care of facilities. 

" 'No matter what kind of housing you have for your help the laborers won't 
take care of it. They'll break your commodes and you're always sending a 
plumber down . . . no matter what you do they just don't take care of it, they 
just won't,' Ericson said. 

But those who fight for betterment of migratory conditions question whose 
responsibility it is to take care of housing. 

"If I rent an apartment and it needs painting or fixing, the landlord is respon- 
.sible for fixing it or painting it,' Alan Kuker of South Florida Migrant Legal 
Services said. 

"He feels the best solution to housing problems is wholesale destruction of 
substandard dwellings. 



306 

" 'If there's no place for the migrant he won't come here and the crops won't 
get picked in which case this whole area won't have an economy. So you can bet 
your life there'll be measures to put up decent housing so the crops can get 
picked.' 

"The migrants continue to work and travel and sweat while others talk about 
the controversy. Some drop out of the stream, others die. 

"When they arrive in Palm Beach County next month there will be no sub- 
stantial changes from years past. 

"Many will live in housing they have paid for throughout the year as insurance 
against having to move to either the Belle Glade or Pahokee Housing Authority 
labor camps. 

"Both authorities have housing projects in progress to provide more housing, 
but neither will be completed in time for this year's influx of workers. 

"And by next year, the new housing is likely to be filled by permanent residents 
and the migrants again will be left out. 

"Pahokee's Housing Authority has three farm labor camps which have been 
condemned since 1962. It is in these camps that migrants without reserved hous- 
ing will likely reside. 

"Then every morning they will go to the loading ramp near downtown Belle 
Glade where their labor will be contracted on a daily basis. 

"Farm representatives and crew leaders will drive up in aged buses and pickup 
trucks with wooden sides to choose their workers. 

"Somehow it carries the atmosphere of a human auction. 

"Ten to 12 hours later the migrants will be returned to the loading ramp and 
paid. Some will have made less than $10 for their lengthy day's work, a few will 
have made as much as $50. 

"At night the migrant might get drunk and get in a fight. He might go home and 
sleep away the thoughts of his painful life. 

"If he wants to bathe away the dust and sweat accumulated in the field he 
must sometimes walk 100 yards or more to the nearest water. If he wants hot 
water, he must heat it on a stove. 

"He and his wife will sleep in a room separated from their children only by an 
old sheet or blanket hung from the ceiling. Sometimes there is no separation at 
all. 

"In the morning he starts over again. 

"This is the life of a migrant. He is not a migrant by choice but by necessity — 
it is the only life he knows." 

"One Proposed Solution : Insure Their Right To Vote 

"Among a lengthy list of proposals for programs to alleviate the plight of the 
migrant is a suggestion that federal legislation be passed to insure migrants the 
right to vote. 

"Such legislation would give the migrant a voice in his government now lack- 
ing because of stringent residency requirements. 

"The Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Labor proposed amendments to na- 
tional voting rights legislation to forbid states from denying citizens the right to 
vote on account of residency requirements. 

"Because of a migrant's high degree of mobility he cannot often qualify to vote, 
adding to his powerless state. 

"The subcommittee also recommended immediate extension of the five-year 
Migrant Health Program which terminates in 1970 to insure continuation and 
possible extension of health services to the migrants. 

"The subcommittee called for appropriations 'more commensurate with the 
problem' to expand present health services and increase the number of health 
projects in areas of large migrant population. 

"Some $15 million has been authorized to fund programs under the Migrant 
Health Act in 1970. 

"A study to determine how effective OEO programs are in lifting migrants 
out of poverty was proposed. OEO has been appropriated a budget of $27.3 mil- 
lion for the fiscal year 1969 to assist impoverished migrants and seasonal workers. 

"Sources in Washington indicate that the Migrant Health Act will likely be 
extended an additional five years soon. The fate of the other proposals looks 
much gloomier, they report. 

"A third recommendation of the subcommittee was to review all Office of 
Economic Opportunity programs aimed at migrants to evaluate their effec- 
tiveness." 



307 

"[From the Palm Beach (Pla.) Post-Times, Oct. 6, 196&] 

"A Perpetual Cycle Tkaps the Migeant 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"Hendeesonville, N.C. — Mary Longs doesn't really want to migrate and pick 
beans the rest of her life, but she probably will. 

"She is trapped in the migrant cycle and doesn't know why. 

"Mary sat between two rows of bright green crawl beans, a bushel basket 
nearby, and talked in a sleepy voice. 

" 'It's pretty hard to find a job with the kind of work you can do. ... I don't 
have no ambition for this work. It gets worse and worse.' 

"She was wearing blue jeans and a man's shirt. A small cap covered her hair 
and a soiled sweat band hung down the back of her neck. 

" 'My husband is dead. I have nine children but not with me. I ain't going to 
go too many more years.' 

"Mary is 43 years old. She says the reason she 'ain't going to go too many 
more years' is because she is 'sort of on the sick list.' 

"If she gets sick enough, she will stop migrating and go on welfare. If not, her 
miserable migration will continue. 

"Sickness, disability, bad fortune — tragedy sometimes provides the only exit 
from the migrant stream. 

"Lillie Mae West has been migrating since 1951. She wears a straw hat with 
a little feather in the side. Her bright yellow dress, imitation pearl earrings 
and blue blouse separate her from others in the field. 

"But her story is essentially the same. 

" 'I'll work until I get disabled and sick, I guess,' she said in a crackly voice. 

"Lillie Mae and Mary are members of a migrant crew from Belle Glade. 
They came here in early July and will soon return to Florida. 

"Ella Grant, another Belle Glade resident, takes a realistic view of her con- 
tinuing plight. Ella is 59 and a migrant by birth. 

" 'It's been pretty good until this year. This year it's been bad. It's the rains. 
I reckon it's account of the rain. The beans just ain't here.' 

"Does this mean Ella is ready to stop migrating and settle into a community? 

" 'Nah, it looks like I'm going to be picking all my life. ... I can't crawl, 
though, I never could. I sure is getting tired of them beans.' 

"Did Ella ever consider other work? 

'"I reckon I never though about that, no, sir, I don't know much else.' 

"George Johnson is looking forward to returning to Florida this year. He 
has been traveling between Belle Glade and North Carolina since 1956. 

" 'I like it better in Belle Glade in a way, that's right. I got to go back this year, 
I'm going to get my teeth.' 

"Last year Georgia had his teeth pulled for $37. He didn't have enough money 
to buy a plate. He plans to make the purchase at the end of the Belle Glade 
bean season this year. 

"At 70, Georgia looks healthy and strong. He's proud of his youthful appearance. 

" 'I'm strong all right. I take care of myself. This work will keep you in shape, 
but if the other fields keep being like this here one I'll be in bad shape !' 

"The field he is working is being picked for the second time. Gteorgia will only 
pick seven bushels in 10 hours for $1 per bushel. 

"He's wearing a blue service station shirt inscribed with the name Malcom. 

" 'When I go to the store I pick up anything. I don't take me long, that's 
right. I just slip it right on.' 

"Georgia, too, say he will not quit soon. 

" 'I gue-ss I should stop right now. It's not worth it, you can't make any money. 
When I get sick I'll quit. And I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to 
draw them checks.' 

"A fellow worker nearby says Georgia has been saying he'll quit as long as 
he can remember. 

"Migrant after migrant tells you he will quit soon. They don't know what 
makes them continue, but when the crop is picked they traditionally head for 
the next farm. 

" 'I'm not going to pick no longer than I can help. I'll quit when I'm old enough 
to get my pension,' says James Reed. 

"Reed is 63. He wears a straw hat and a burlap sack tied to his waist. Gray 
suspenders hold up his faded blue jeans. 



308 

" 'I'm a little too old for construction right now. It used to be good to me, but 
I'm too old right now- I do pretty well at this sometimes.' 

"Reed leans over and grabs another handful of beans. He tosses them into a 
half-filled bushel basket then picks some more. 

"Like his life of migration, bean picking has become automatic to the old man. 

"To understand what makes a migrant continue to travel from state to state 
in search for backbreaking work one must study his sociological background. 

"Migrant children become adults at an early age. They work in the fields along- 
side their parents as soon as they can walk. 

"Many times children cannot be spared from working in the field long enough 
for school attendance. Laws forbidding farmers from hiring children during 
school hours are not strictly enforced. 

"The net result is a perpetual continuation of illiteracy among migrants. 

"In 1967 the average migrant and his family had attained an education 
equivalent of only 8.6 years. Over 17 per cent of all migrants were functionally 
illiterate. 

" 'Children of migratory farm workers have fewer educational opportunities 
and a lower educational attainment than any other group of American children,' 
Sen. Harrison Williams of New Jersey, chairman of a Senate Subcommittee on 
Migratory Labor, wrote in this year's annual report. 

"This perilously low level of education perpetuates an inability to perform 
other than unskilled tasks. More importantly, it perpetuates a lack of confidence 
to try other work. By the time a migrant is 15 he is often married. Pregnant 
child brides are not uncommon. 

"When the youthful couples have children they are forced into the mainstream 
of migrancy. They must continue traveling to the next farm to exist. 

"It is not long before they are trapped. 

"Dr. Robert Coles, a Harvard University psychiatrist engaged in a study of 
'the migrant subculture,' discusses his observations of young adult migrants be- 
coming trapped in the stream. 

" 'At 20, at 22, they are full-fledged adults ; we would call them 'older' migrants. 
They have lost much of their interest in the possibilities of another kind of life ; 
they often move about by themselves, no longer attached to their families . . . 
they are caring for their own children. 

" 'They have settled into the curious combination of industry and initiative 
(needed to keep moving over such distances, to keep working at .such back- 
breaking work) and lethargy and despair (reflected in their faces, their way 
of slow movement, flattened speech, infrequent merrymaking).' 

"Dr. Coles said migrants develop 'symptoms' which result from their 'cumula- 
tive stresses of their kind of existence.' 

" 'They may drink heavily before or after work, using the cheap wine and 
beer they can afford to dull their senses in the face of, or in the wake of, their 
long hours of harvesting. 

" 'They often become careless and hurtful towards the homes furnished them 
by farmers, destroying screen doors, stopping up central plumbing facilities of a 
camp. Some may call such behaviour accidental, but many farmers are correct 
in sensing the barely submerged hostility and resentment at work in these 
people. 

" 'The migrants don't specifically intend to damage property, but are aware of 
feeling overworked and underpaid, and carry those feelings around with them 
fairly constantly.' 

"The rest of the migrant story is always the same. Once in the stream, he will 
suffer the hardships of poor housing, poor working, poor eating. 

"He will know a special form of discrimination which keeps him in different 
social circles than other impoverished Americans. 

"The migrant is the poorest of all poor Americans. 

"He tries to work for a living while others head for the city to go on relief. 

"Dr. Coles says what keeps the migrant from the temptation of city life and 
welfare cannot be explained by any one generalization. 

" 'The explanation rests in a combination of such factors as fear of the city, 
a genuine attachment to the land, a sometime enjoyment of movement, a depres- 
sion that sets in for many of them when they do stop traveling and working, and 
a fear of that depression.' 

"So they continue and don't really know why. 



309 

"another solution : a national advisoby council 

"The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on migratory labor suggested last year that 
a national advisory committee on migratory labor be founded to better plot the 
future of the migrant. 

"Duties of the national council would be to advise the President and Congress 
on effectiveness of federal programs aimed at betterment of migrant conditions. 

"Another important duty of the council would be to advise the government on 
legislation to assist the migrants. 

The council would perform a 'valuable watchdog' role for federal programs 
aimed at migratory labor. 

"The subcommittee said a comprehensive evalution of the causes and possible 
remedies of unemployment and underemployment of agricultural workers needed 
to be made. 

"The evaluation should be made 'with a view toward ending the migratory 
way of life,' the subcommittee's report said. 

" 'Migratory farmworkers constitute one of our nation's great manpower prob- 
lems, for as a group they are underemployed and underutilized. Underemploy- 
ment and poverty are more widespread and no less severe in rural areas than 
in urban areas,' the report said. 

"The subcommittee's overall proposal to solve the many migrant problems is 
to increase industry in rural areas and dry up the migrant stream. 

"The increased industrial activity would provide jobs for migrants during 
off-season periods, but would not necessarily rob farmers of needed help at 
harvest time. 

"The subcommittee proposed federal wage subsidy for migrants who discon- 
tinue their migration and are caught between periods of harvest and the estab- 
lishment of nonfarm industrial jobs. 

"Washington sources say passage of these proposals is doubtful in the near 
future." 



"[From the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post-Times, Oct. 7, 1967] 

"Squeezing Out a Living 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"Hendersonville, N.C. — There are rows and rows of bright green snap beans. 
Between the rows dark spots move slowly in misery. 

"Those spots in the distance are migrants trying to squeeze a meager living 
from a second-crop bean field. 

"This is a bad bean field. Each plant has only six or seven beans hidden under 
its soft green leaves. 

"There are lots of bad fields in North Carolina this year. Hot sun and heavy 
rains plagued the farmers, ruining many first crops. 

"This bean field is immense. The unending pattern or rows blends into a green 
mush on the horizon. 

"A migrant's life is centered around his diflScult work. When conditions are 
right he can make a poverty-level income. 

"When crops are bad, the migrant suffers. It's not a new story. 

"These crops are bad. These migrants have suffered. They came here from 
Palm Beach County. 

"James Reed of Belle Glade is on his knees between two rows of beans. He 
wears a straw hat with a yellow band around its center. Gray suspenders hold 
his faded blue jeans up as he treks his way up the row. 

" "I just lean over like this and push the leaves aside, see, and grab them 
beans' Reed explains as he strips another plant. 

"He tosses the few beans into a half-filled wooden bushel with his left hand as 
his right hand reaches for another plant. 

"He works without thinking. As he talks his muscles automatically continue 
moving. 

"When the bushel is full Reed's crew leader will give him a small yellow- 
ticket — not much to show for more than an hour's work. 

"At the end of the day, the tickets can be cashed in for $1 each. Snap beans 
also are called crawl beans because of the backbreaking chore they present at 
harvest time. 



310 

"Like machines, the migrant's fingers sift through a bean plant and strip 
its sweet product. The experienced migrant can snap every bean from a tangled 
plant in seconds. 

"They either crawl or stoop or bend over nearly double to harvest the ground- 
hugging crop. Some work all three ways, budgeting their aches to different parts 
of their abused bodies. 

"For this they receive $1 per bushel. A bad field yields only about six bushels 
per 10-hour day. 

"At a good field, the migrants say they can pick 20 bushels in 10 hours — but 
this requires plenty of skill. And abundant fields are rare. 

"Migrant workers across the nation averaged $1.33 per hour earnings in 1967, 
according to a Senate subcommittee on migratory labor. 

"In Florida, the average was $1.12. 

"But these statistics only cover the hours worked. There are many days when 
the migrant sits at the loading ramp waiting for a job. 

"Along with their other problems, migrants sometimes have to compete with 
foreign labor for jobs. 

"While some 15,000 foreign workers entered the United States last year thous- 
ands of migrants suffered from a lack of continuing employment. 

"Most foreign workers were from the British West Indies and Canada, ad- 
mitted to this country to harvest sugarcane in Florida and apples in the North. 

"Cane growers are allowed to import laborers because they say they cannot 
find domestic labor to cut cane. 

" 'The American citizen continues to avoid acceptance of employment in the 
cane-cutting operations even though the basic wage has been substantially in- 
creased' U.S. Sugar Corporation's Fred Sykes told an agricultural stabilization 
committee in July. 

"Before growers in this country can hire foreign laborers they must pass 
stringent housing inspections and agree to meet high standards of wages, food 
and transportation. 

"Ironically, standards for hiring migrants across state lines are much lower 
and are not as strictly enforced as offshore labor hiring standards. 

"The average migrant farm worker was employed only 82 days during the 
year in 1965, according to the latest statistics available. 

"And much of the labor is conducted by children under the age of 16, leaving 
the older, less productive members of migrant society without work. 

"According to the Senate subcommittee, there are some 800,000 paid farm- 
workers under 16, about one-fourth of the entire work force. 

"Statistics show there were 2,700 fatal accidents in agriculture in 1967 — the 
highest of all industries. There were also 230,000 additional disabling injuries. 

"Most of the fatal farm accidents came from dangerously operated machinery 
and poisoning from improper care when spraying chemicals on crops. 

"It has been alleged that higher farm labor wages would raise consumer costs. 
However, the Senate subcommittee, reported, a twenty-one cent head of lettuce 
represents only a field labor cost of 1.3 cents. 

"A pound of celery retailing at 15.5 cents represents a field labor cost of .3 
to .5 cents. Lemons retailing at 24 cents per pound cost the farmer less than one 
cent for field labor. 

" 'It is therefore clear from these statistics that wage increases for farm- 
workers would have little, if any, impact on the consumer in terms of the 
price ... in the local supermarket,' the subcommittee reported. 

"But statistics mean nothing to the migrant working and living under 
abominable conditions. 

"All he knows is that when the season ends there is rarely enough money to 
move. Often he works for a crew leader who provides transportation. 

"But those who work for crew leaders risk the possibility that their boss 
might be dishonest. 

"Legislation requiring crew leaders to register if they intend to cross state 
lines has quashed much exploitation, but some still exist. 

"Many crew leaders skirt registration laws by traveling in caravans with each 
vehicle carrying less than 10 migrants. Crew leaders with 10 or more workers 
must register. 

"There are crew leaders who 'take the pennies,' a term for collecting money 
for social security payments, and never report the deductions to the federal 
government. 



311 

"There are crew leaders who charge their workers for transportation, meals 
and even water — deducting the charges from workers' pay without any records. 

"All crew leaders aren't bad, though, Erskine McCuUough Jr. of Pahokee is 
one of the good ones. 

"Even though McCullough openly admits working around crew-leader registra- 
tion laws his people will tell you he treats them fairly. 

"McCullough sat atop his tractor in a Hendersonville apple orchard and told 
of his plight. He has been migrating most of his life and can't get out of the cycle. 

" 'You're always behind the eight ball, see. You're always living from day to 
day 'cause you never make enough money to pay your bills or anything else. 
I don't see how I can stop.' 

"McCullough runs Streamline Taxi company in Pahokee during the season. 
It has been a losing venture, he says 'The credit bureau people are probably 
looking for me right now.' 

"Apple picking, too, is backbreaking work. The workers climb up and down 
ladders with half-bushel containers strapped to their shoulders. 

"Up and down ; up and down ; carry the ladder to the other side of the tree : 
back up, down — as in bean picking the work seems endless. 

"Water for the hard-working, sweaty migrants is available at the end of the 
bean row, several hundred yards from where they are picking. 

"Leaving for a drink of water means wasted time. Wasted time means wasted 
money — and to a migrant wasted money can mean the difference between an 
eveinng meal and hunger. 

"But migrants don't complain about their work conditions. They are accus- 
tomed to misery and despair. 

"When the day ends they leave the field in the same aging bus they arrived 
in, to be deposited, like used bottles, back at the loading ramp near downtown 
Hendersonville. 

"Migrants gather at the loading ramp every morning to contract their labor 
in auction-like fashion. 

"If it rains, there will be no work. 

"But the migrants wait patiently for the sky to clear. 

"Migrants are used to waiting — their entire life has been controlled by others. 

"When someone says work, they work until someone says quit. There is no 
coffee break in a bean field or apple orchard. 

"The buses used to transport migrants to and from the fields are old and some- 
times dangerously in need of repair. 

"One bus sits empty at the loading ramp. Inside there is dirt and garbage on 
the fioor. The seats are relatively clean. "^ 

"A swarn of files gathers on a half a loaf of bread left on one seat. A blue 
sweater and a burlap sack tied in a ball sit on a seat across the aisle. 

"The interior smells the stale odor of hard work and poverty. 

"The migrant is immuned to the smell ; it surrounds him constantly. 

"His impoverished family is caught in a treacherous cycle of mental and 
physical anguish. 

"He might work like a machine and live like an animal, but he is a human 
being. 

"These migrants are looking forward to returning to Florida. They talk about 
plentiful bean fields and better work conditions. 

"But they aren't fooling themselves. In six months they will look forward to 
North Carolina and talk of plentiful bean fields and better work conditions. 

"Theirs is a story of migration to misery. 

"PEOPOSAL : EXTEND LABOK RELATIONS ACT 

"A major proposal of last year's U.S. Senate subcommittee on migratory labor 
dealt with extending the National Labor Relations Act to cover all agricultural 
workers. 

"The extension would give migrants the right to organize and set up pro- 
cedures to bargain with farmers for better work conditions and wages. 

" 'We must guarantee employes the right to organize and bargain collectively, 
and we must make the orderly procedures of the act available to the (agricul- 
tural) industry,' the subcommittee's yearly report said. 

" 'Mounting evidence confirms that the lack of established procedures for com- 
munication, elections, negotiation, arbitration and settlement by employers and 
employes leads to costly strikes and disruption of interstate commerce,' the 
report said. 



312 

"The subcommittee also suggested increasing Labor Department i)ersonnel to 
insure adequate compliance with crew leader registration laws. 

"Unemployment compensation coverage for migrants would be a 'great step 
forward' in providing small amounts of income for migrants during the off-season 
periods. 

"Of all 50 states, the subcommittee reported, only Hawaii has made its 
unemployment program applicable to agricultural workers. 

" 'Most often the migrant worker is unemployed through no fault of his own,' 
the report said. 

"Other suggested legislation by the subcommittee would extend workmen's 
compensation programs to cover all migrant workers. 

" 'While such laws (workmen's compensation) have traditionally been within 
the province of state government, the interstate recruitment and employment of 
migratory farmworkers . . . strongly suggests the desirability of federal action in 
the area.' 

"In addition, the subcommittee suggested modifying the Social Security Act to 
shift the burden of reporting wages from the crew leader to the farmer. 

"Often, the subcommittee found, crew leaders did not make sufficient reports to 
the federal government to guarantee benefits to migrants under the Social 
Security Act. 

"There has been little movement by Congress to adpot any of the subcommit- 
tee's proposals to better migrant work conditions." 



"[From the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post-Times, Oct. 8, 1969] 

"Fob $50 a Month : A One-Room Shed, No Toilets 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"Where there isn't tall grass there is deep mud. 

"The foul odor of poverty fills the air as you walk between rows of decayed 
wooden shacks. 

"You tell yourself human beings cannot live here, but you are wrong. 

"A group of barefoot children romp in the mud and the broken glass and the 
garbage, smiling, not knowing better. 

"It is not a pretty sight. 

"You are at Armstrong Quarters in Pahokee, the homes of some 35 families of 
former migrating farm workers. 

"When some 38,000 migrants arrive in Palm Beach County next month they 
will be fortunate if they can find housing this good. 

"Some will sleep in old buses and cars for a while before finding a place to call 
home. 

"Others have paid as much as $7.50 per week while working "up the road" to 
reserve one-room sheds without inside toilet facilities. 

"Housing is a critical problem to the migratory farm laborer. There is no such 
thing as really comfortable migrant housing — only bad and worse. 

"According to information compiled by the Florida Migrant Health Project, 
18,416 farm workers were housed in private facilities last year in the Glades. 

"The other 52 percent of this county's migrant population lived in public hous- 
ing camps. Private housing is hard to find even during off-season periods. 

"Annie Lee Harris was burned out of her home in Pahokee in early February. 
For three days Mrs. Harris and her six children searched for shelter. 

"Finally they found a rotten shack in Davis' Quarters. They haven't located 
anything better. 

"Davis' Quarters is just outside the Pahokee City limits. It was condemned by 
the county health department and ordered vacated by Sept. 1, but many families 
still live there. 

"In fact, few have left. 

"A U-shaped dirt road filled with huge potholes runs through the horrible 
housing. Toilet facilities consist of tin sheds covered with grass. 

"Diane Freeman, 9, .shows you where her toilet is located. Her two younger 
sisters run along with her in bare feet as she makes her way through grass, 
broken glass and soggy garbage. 

"Diane is Georgia Bell Freeman's daughter. Georgia Bell and her family moved 
to Davis' Quarters years ago. 



313 

"The outhouse is covered with weeds and grass. The girls giggle when you 
shake your head at the excreta-covered privy. 

"A hole in the ground, a rickety tin shelter overhead, a piece of plywood with 
a rough-edged space in the center — this is the migrant bathroom. 

"Ella Mae Jenkins lives across the street with her nine children. They, too, 
have an outdoor privy. 

''When you open the outhouse door a rat so big it doesn't even run in fear 
stares you in the eye. 

"Ella Mae sees rats inside her house almost daily. A child was bitten in the 
head by a rat not long ago in Davis' Quarters, she says : 

"There are those who say Davis' Quarters. Armstrong Quarters and other 
such facilities are rarities. But it is not so. 

"For every migrant house with individual inside toilet facilities in the Glades 
area you can find a shack without them. 

"At Thompson's Quarters in South Bay. families live in ten-foot-square rooms. 
They have inside water, but it is cold unless they can afford to have the elec- 
tricity turned on. 

"One woman says she doesn't have her electricity turned on because her meter 
covers two houses and she can't pay for someone else's power. 

"The toilets at Thompson's Quarters are attached to a sewer system and will 
fiush — sometimes. But they haven't been cleaned for months. 

"Derotha Franklin lives on the main street in South Bay. She hurt her toe 
last November and her leg became infected. In December she lost her right leg 
about the knee. 

"She too lives in a one-room house. Her toilet is located 200 feet down a hall- 
way and is shared by several other families. 

"For this she pays $10..10 per week. If she doesn't pay, she will be evicted — 
almost immediately. 

"Most slum rental is on a weekly l)asis. If the tenants don't pay they are put 

out. The housing shortage is so critical there's always someone to fill the shack. 

"Rent at Thompson's Quarters runs .$."5. 7.") per week. Some pay i?28 per month. 

"At Davis' Quarters it's as much as $10 per week. At Armstrong Quarters it 

adds up to about .$.">0 per month. 

"Armstrcmg Quarters is only a few blocks from downtown Pahokee. It is 
owned by Dr. and Mrs. L. W. Armstrong. 

"Mr. and Mrs. .lim Garrison live on the corner of Reardon Ave and Carver 
Place in one of the better houses at Armstrong Quarters. 

"Their income during the summer consists of .$07 in welfare assistance and 
.$82 in aid to the disabled. Garrison has a kidney ailment and must go to the 
hospital twice monthly at a cost of .$42 per visit. 

"The Garrisons pay $.")0 per month for rent and about $12 per month for water 
and electricity. Their water is located on the corner of a community outhouse. 
"The toilet.s are connected to a sewer system, but residents say the only way 
to flush them most of the time is by dumping a bucket of water inside. 

"Dr. Armstrong is an elderly retired dentist. He and his wife were among the 
pioneers of migrant hiring in the Pahokee area. 

" -Doc and I brought the first niggers into the area to farm in 1916.' :Mrs. Arm- 
strong says proudly. 

"The Armstrongs say they cannot afford to better their housing facilities. Be- 
sides, Dr. Armstrong .said. 'I haven't heard of too much migrant dissatisfaction 
because we have ample housing here.' 

"Pie said he felt his views were representative of most property owners m the 
a rea . 

"Dr. Armstrong said he builds concrete block structures with inside facilities 
to replace shacks destroyed by fire or vandalism. 

" -We can't afford to put inside toilets in the others. It would cost thousands 
of dollars.' , ,. , 

"The area needs more housing. Dr. Armstrong .said, but not public housing. 
" -I'm afraid they're (public housing authorities) going to overdo it . . . there's 
such a thing as too "much housing for too few jobs, you know.' 

"Dr. Armstrong said housing for migrants did not really need upgrading. 
" -I don't think the migrants suffer for anything. I don't think they do. They 
should and could better themselves but they don't want to work. It's not because 
they can't find work.' tt- r. m i 

"There are many who would agree with the retired dentist. But n . L. iaylor 
president of the Progressive Citizens Association, does not. 
36-513— 70— pt. 1 21 



314 

"He says the answer to migrant housing problems is in ownership. His organi- 
zation bought land and sold it to migrants at reasonable prices. 

-The project developed into Progressive Park subdivision. Already 49 families 
have settled there. 

"His organization was formed by nine migrants who decided to better their 

lives. 

"Taylor, like many men who fight hard to better migrant living conditions 
feels that housing codes should be strictly enforced. 

"County officials agree, but ask where they can relocate the thousands of peo- 
ple who would be evicted through strenuous condemnation. 

" "We haven't pushed too hard. You can't move these people out unless you've 
got someplace to put them. There's a critical shortage of housing,' William 
Tucker of the countj health department said. 

"Tucker is in charge of housing and labor camp inspections in the Belle Glade 
area. 

"Since there is no place for the impoverished slum dweller to move if his 
house is condemned, Tucker's efforts have focused 'more or less on education.' 

" 'It mainly consists of talking to the landlords and pointing out these defi- 
ciencies. We also try to work with tenants . . . improving housing and getting 
rid of some habits which lead to accumulation of filth.' 

"George Wedgeworth, president of the Sugar Cane Growers Co-op of Florida, 
said there had been a lot of excellent housing built in the past 10 years in the 
Glades area. 

"He is in favor of more housing, whether it's built by private enterprise or 
public housing authorities. 

" 'Our farm organizations are to a great degree dependent on a good and stable 
source of workmen. Labor to us is as important as capital, as farmland, as man- 
agement or even as owners themselves,' Wedgeworth said. 

"Everyone in a position to better migrant housing is aware of the problem. But 
some simply won't publicly admit that there is a housing shortage. 

"There is no quick solution. 

"Meanwhile, the migrants suffer. They are serving life sentences in the prison 
of their environment. 

"senators propose effective enforcement of housing codes 

"The U.S. Senate subcommittee on migratory labor proposed that federal agen- 
cies should encourage strong, effective enforcement of existing housing codes. 

"The subcommittee reported that while 42 per cent of all farm housing is sub- 
standard only 14 per cent of nonfarm housing was substandard. 

" 'Only in isolated instances has housing for migrants been constructed to meet 
minimum standards of health, safety and sanitation,' the subcommittee reported. 

"It suggested that a substantial portion of housing appropriations be ear- 
marked to carry out rural housing programs. 

"The subcommittee also proposed an incentive for farmers desiring to build 
adequate migrant housing in the form of rapid tax amortization of construction 
costs. 

"A rapid tax amortization period of five years as opposed to the current 20^0 
year period in the case of some farm housing was suggested. 

"The subcommittee also recommended that the special amortization incentive 
be applied to remodeling of existing farm housing facilities not up to standard. 

"To qualify for the special tax treatment, the owner of housing for farm 
laborers would provide housing which is decent, safe and sanitary ; establish 
a reasonable rental price ; make the housing available primarily for farm work- 
ers during the five-year period ; and operate the housing in accordance with 
standards of safety and sanitation. 

"Whether Congress will pass legislation to cover the subcommittee proposals 
remains to be seen." 

"[Prom the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post-Times, Oct. 9, 1969] 

"Migrant Gets What's Left 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"There are five publicly owned, federally financed migrant housing camps in 
Palm Beach County. 

"Each has shanties unfit for human habitation. 



315 

"The decent shelters are occupied by yearly residents. As new facilities are 
built, more year-round residents move in. 

"A migrant gets what is left — and it isn't nice. 

"The worst facilities were built under a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant 
in 1939. Since then there has been little maintenance. 

"Some sheds are twelve-by-twenty foot tin shelters which often house families 
of nine or more. 

"A quick tour of the five camps begins at Everglades Camp, one of three oper- 
ated by the Pahokee Housing Authority. 

"The camp is located outside the city on State Rd. 15. A row of royal palm 
trees ironically lines the main entrance to the insect and rat-infested facility. 

"Washtubs hang on the sides of huts. Children and mangy dogs play in the 
filth. 

"The signs of poverty are everywhere. 

"Community bath houses are at various locations. It's impossible to imagine 
the migrants' plight, bathing, inside a rickety facility which stinks. 

"There is running water available fi'om a number of faucets. Some are as 
far as 100 yards from houses. 

"The migrant toilet here is no difi:erent than it is in other places — a wooden 
shack, shared by several families. 

"Up the road, toward Pahokee, is the Pahokee Farm Labor Center. It houses 
only white laborers and has been mostly demolished. 

"It is designed in the same manner as the all-black Everglades Camp. 

"There is little difference between the atmosphere in the two facilities, but at 
least most of these shacks have been destroyed. 

"Residents have ingeniously pulled plastic covers over windows broken long 
ago. Old newspapers stick through cracks in the wall depiciting a hard-fought 
battle against cold wind. 

"Although maintenance at both camps appears almost non-existant for the 
shacks, the camp managers homes near each entrance are freshly painted and 
clean. 

"The third Pahokee Housing Authority camp is a black facility located on 
U.S. 441 about eight miles north of the city. 

"They call it Sandcut Camp or Canal Point Camp. Like the other labor centers, 
Sandcut Camp was condemned in 1962. 

"The only water at Sandcut Camp comes from Lake Okeechobee and is often 
brown with mud. The shallow lake become murky with the slightest of storms. 

"Houses stand on wooden stumps and lean at varying angles in the muck. 

"Belle Glade's two farm labor housing centers are no better. 

"There is considerable construction under way at the city's two camps, but 
many families still reside in tin shacks. 

"The shacks are without plumbing. Electricity comes in the form of danger- 
ously frayed cords running from place to place. 

"Okeechobee Center, the city's black camp, is located on State Rd. 80 a few 
miles outside downtown Belle Glade. 

"Residents of the faded green sheds here are poor, often hungry and always 
miserable. 

"A young man of about 15 months plays in the mud. Someone has tied a brown 
paper bag to his waist with string for underwear. 

"One toilet facility at this camp is the worst in any of the five publicly owned 
facilities. 

"Upon entrance the odor is stifling. The toilets are literally piled full of 
human waste. I didn't go close enough to determine whether they fiusli. 

"When I turned to exit my foot slipped. I looked to the fioor and shivered at 
what I saw. 

"When the toilets filled, the migrants begin using the concrete floor instead. 

"Most human beings could not exist in such conditions. It is expected of a 
migrant. 

"Outside the outhouse there's a water faucet— the only water faucet for several 
families. 

"A piece of old wood provides a makeshift bridge over the green slimy mud 
surrounding the faucet. A group of children wait their turn to drink from the 
rusted, corroded fixture. 

"Osceolla Center is the other Belle Glade camp. It, too, has tin sheds and out- 
houses. Poor whites live here. 

"The facilities have been maintained better than at Okeechobee Center. Toilets 
flush and bath houses are in working condition. 



316 

"Fewer people live in the tin sheds here than at Okeechobee Center. 

"Both the Belle Glade and Pahokee labor camps are racially segregated, yet 
they are si;pported by federal funds. 

"The men in charge maintain that camps are segregated by the residents' 
wishes. 

'• 'We are not segregated as far as we are concerned. AVe have no colored people 
living in this one and no whites in the other but the people segregate them- 
selves." Fred Simmons, Belle Glade Housing Authority director said. 

"lie added. 'I don't want to say we're segregated because nobody's allowed to 
be segregated any more. You knwo that.' 

"James Vann. Pahokee Housing Authority director for the past 23 years, said 
his authority's segregated camps 'apparently resulted from the desires of the 
tenants rather than any policy of this housing authority.' 

"He added: 'We have had an open policy on this for three years.' 

"The Civil Rights Act of 1954 guarantees equal housing opportunity to 
Negroes. 

"Sinunons said his authority didn't intend to get involved in forcing camp in- 
tegration- 'AN'e'll let nature take its course on integration.' he said. 

"Both housing authorities have expansive new housing projects under way to 
better their filthy, slunilike condition. 

"But the new projects will not aid the migrants. 

"Housing is a problem in both communities and as quickly as low-income fa- 
cilities are constructed they will be filled by year-round residents. 

"I'ahokee's three farm labor camps are to be demolished. The Farm Labor 
Center will be closed next year and the others should topple by 1972, making way 
for planned low-income housing projects. 

"Vann said many migrant families which use his labor camps won't qualify 
for his authority's new low-income housing because of poorly kept income 
records. 

'• 'That's the sad pai't of the problem. They (migrants) have a problem but we 
have no answer to it. I don't like the implications of what I'm saying, but it's 
just a statement of fact.' he said. 

"Many migrants could not qualify because they make more than poverty level 
incomes. But their wages are often wasted on exploiting hustlers for food, rent 
or poor purchases such as faulty automobiles. 

"They remain in the poverty cycle. 

"There are many who feel the only answer to the problem is individual home 
ownership. Alan Kuker, an attorney with South Florida Migrant Legal Services, 
is one. 

" 'Public housing is not the answer. The answer is individual home ownership. 
It's not only the way I feel about it, it's the way the migrants feel about it as 
well,' he said. 

"Roy Vandergriff, a sweet corn, celery and bean farmer, also prefers private 
housing to public housing — if the private housing is adequately maintained. 

" 'My opinion is that either private or public housing should be brought up to 
standard or removed. It's that easy. I would prefer private housing providing it's 
adequate, or even housing owned by the workers,' A'andergriff said. 

"After extensive research, a report by the American Friends Service Com- 
mittee's Migrant Project suggested establkshment of a county housing authority 
and sewer system. 

"The housing authority would provide more housing at reasonable rates. The 
.sewer system would allow private enterprise to economicall.v build low-cost 
housing. "County commissioners have already taken the first steps towards 
formation of a county housing authorit.y, but it will take at least a year before 
the organization is a reality. 

"Directors of the Belle Glade and Pahokee Housing Authorities contend they 
have done all they can to maintain their labor camps. 

"Last year, the Belle Glade Housing Authority spent more than $110,000 in 
maintenance of its two camps — but the filth continues. 

"Pahokee Housing Authority Director Vann says he spends as much as ix)S- 
sible for maintenance of his camps but makes only necessary repairs because the 
camps are closing. 

"That only minor repairs are made is evident. 

"There are an estimated 410 families which rely on the Belle Glade Housing 
Authority for shelter. Some 1,700 people live in Pahokees' farm labor centers. 



317 

"When about 38,000 migrants arrive in Palm Beach County next month these 
figures will skyrocket to enormous proportions. 

"The problem is gigantic. And it probably will get much worse before it gets 
better. 

"OxE Need : Get Rid of Redtape 

"There is a need to formulate a serviceable plan of action to combat over- 
lapping jurisdictions of the various agencies administering low-income, rural 
housing programs. 

"That was the finding of the U.S. Senate subcommittee on migratory labor 
last year. 

"The subcommittee said the overlapping caused frequent delays and a frustrat- 
ing maze of red tape for rural low-income housing applicants. 

"The subcommittee also found that greater attention should be given to em- 
ploying modern technology to provide inexpensive housing for migrants. 

"It suggested utilizing prefabricated or portable buildings that could be trans- 
ported from place to place depending on migrant needs. 

"Agencies administering federal housing projects for rural areas, particularly 
for migrants, should also investigate the possibility of collapsible structures, 
the subcommittee said. 

"In addition, the subcommittee asked that federal agencies encourage strong, 
effective enforcement of existing housing codes. 

"One possible approach to better migrant housing camps, the subcommittee 
said, would be prelicensing powers to prohibit occupancy of defective structures. 

"The focus of all federal rural housing projects, the subcommittee said, should 
be on the local level 'in direct response to local needs.' 

"Legislators have not expressed any intentions of adopting such legislation." 



"[From the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post-Times, Oct. 10, 1969] 

"Ax Elderly Migrant Who Waits to Die 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"Lillie Mae Brown is waiting to die. 

"Her tired body let her down five years ago following an abusive life of migra- 
tion from state to state as a farm worker. 

"She hoed cotton, picked beans, pulled corn. She harvested food for an affluent 
nation. 

"The work all but killed her. 

"Now she is forgotten. 

"She just sits in a decayed one-room shack in South Bay. There is nothing else 
to look forward to. 

"She is not a lonely person. She has her faith in God. 

"The hot water heater doesn't work because Lillie Mae can't afford to turn on 
her electricity. But the rats behind it don't seem to mind. You can hear them 
scratching and gnawing day and niuht. 

"Thei'e are so many Lillie Mae Browns in the migrant world. They travel 
everywhere, but belong nowhere. No community outside their world really ac- 
cepts a migrant. 

"The traditional rejection continues when migrants grow old. They exist in a 
subculture all their own, separated from other impoverished Americans. 

" 'I have no one but myself,' Lillie Mae says. 'If it wasn't for the Lord what 
would happen to me today . . . he's my mother, my father, my sister, my brother.' 

"The thought brings tears to Lillie Mae's eyes. She wipes her cheek with one 
hand. The other holds a vest-size edition of the Bible. 

"Lillie Mae was born in 1906. Nine years later, she began working in the fields 
with her family. 

"She was born 'up the road' near a bean field in Charlotte, N.C. 

" 'I been working ever since I was big enough to know it. Field working all 
my life. I worked when I was too young to work. I used to go in the woods and 
cut cord wood when there wasn't no ci-ops..' 

"Lillie INIae's past is not a happy one. but she enjoys reminiscing anyway. 

"She sits on a milk crate. The only light inside her 10-foot square shack rushes 
through a decayed doorway. At night, she lights a kerosene lantern. 

36-513— 70— pt. 1 22 



318 

"She jokes about her fat body. It is the product of illness and a poor diet. 

" 'I been heavy all my life. I weigh 268 right now. I've been fat all my life. I 
guess I was born fat as a baby, yes sir.' 

"She doesn't remember when she left home, exactly, but she remembers why 
she left her family of 22. 

" 'When I left home my daddy was mean to me. He treated me like I was a dog. 
I left home to keep him from beating on me, knocking on me.' 

"Whatever happened to young Lillie Mae Brown — the young woman who 
worked by day and played by night; the woman who landed in jail four times 
on morals charges? 

" 'I'm just tired and old, that's all. You see, I's been just a poor little girl all 
my life, yes sir. I never had nothing. I had a hard way to go, that's right.' 

"It was in 1965 that Lillie Mae's body finally quit on her. It could work in 
the fields no longer. Her heart, her lungs, her back all quit. 

" 'I took sick and never worked no more.' 

Sad, perhaps, but it was while Lillie Mae was in the hospital that she became 
'a child of God.' It was there that she gained the faith that keeps her alive today. 

Her words tell the story well : 

" 'I know I'm a child of God 'cause I've been born and been healed by the 
spirit. Praise the Lord, I know it 'cause Jesus come into my room and told me 
when I was flat on my back in Belle Glade hospital. 

" 'And God came and stood over my bed and I asked Him to heal me and he 
told me that he would. And I knowed it was Him 'cause He had His hair parted 
in the middle and coming down on each side. 

" 'And I looked at Him like I'm looking at you. I said Lord I know it's you. 
And He had three trains running in and out. Each one of them trains had eight 
coaches on each side, listen to me good, and the train in the middle, it had 11. 

" 'He said pick out which one of these trains you want to ride. I said I want 
that train in the middle, that's a fine coach. And He said this is the train to ride, 
'cause that's the one I drive and I am Jesus. Hallelujah, hallelujah. I know I'm 
all right' 

"Lillie Mae Brown is crying now. 

" 'He's my God, Dr. Jesus. He's my God. He stood on my bed with his hair 
flowing to the floor and He healed me.' 

"You listen to Lillie Mae, the child of God, and you wonder why she has to 
be poor. 

"Her washtub is opposite you under an unsteady shelf. Beside the shelf is a 
kerosene stove sitting on an orange crate. 

"Why must this woman of faith live in this Hell on earth? Will death be 
kinder to the old woman? 

" 'I'm not afraid to die 'cause I'm a child of God. I'll let God handle it like he 
wants it. I know I got to die. I was born to die. I'll die when God gets ready 
for me.' 

"She raises both hands to the air, her Bible clutched tightly in the left hand. 

" 'I ain't got too much longer to wait. God's going to let me know when He gets 
ready for me. I'm already ready. Whenever He calls me I'm going to be all 
right.' 

''Heaven to some, is a very personal thing. It often reflects a person's innermost 
feelings. 

"Many people look to Heaven for personal betterment, but not Lillie Mae. 

" 'Heaven is going to be a beautiful home for everyone. It's a beautiful place, 
a level country. Everything is living happy. All the human beings is living to- 
gether and the Holy Ghost, he'll be on the inside and the devil can't get in. And 
the gates will be open when I get there.' 

''This is Lillie Mae Brown. She was a migrant all her life. 

"Her worldly possessions sit at the foot of her raggedy l)ed in a wooden chest. 
On the wall above is a calendar inscribed with the Lord's Prayer. 

"The food she eats is contained in four tin cans. There is lard, flour, corn meal 
and rice. A hunk of cheese sits in the sink. 

"The meat she occasionally buys is stored in a friend's freezer. Lillie Mae 
doesn't even have a place to put a block of ice for food storage. 

"Lillie Mae Brown picks up her small Bible and begins reading it to herself. 
"She is waiting to die." 



319 

'•[From the Palm Beach Post-Times, Oct. 11, 1969] 

"BuBBA Boone : A Migrant Out of the Stream 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"He speaks of the migrants with passion. He knows their despair. 

"For nearly 30 years Bubba Boone worked in bean fields from Florida to New 
York helping support a family deserted by its father. 

■'He lived in a bean box when he was a baby. 

" 'I sat in that bean box and when I cried mother would come over and caress 
me. ... I started working as soon as I was old enough to crawl out of that box.' 

"Bubba is an investigator for South Florida Migrant Legal Services. 

"Through education the former migrant found his way out of "the stream." 
Now he has dedicated his life to helping others leave the self-perpetuating cycle. 

"He speaks out against the injustices he experienced as a migrant. He says a 
migrant's life is worse than that of a slave. 

" "At least when farmers owned slaves they treated them as their property.' 

"Bubba was the first black student from Pahokee to graduate from Everglades 
Vocational High in Okeechobee Farm Labor Housing Center. 

"He looks at the migrant problem emotionally. He says it's hard to explain 
his feelings to a man who hasn"t lived the life of a migrant. 

" "The migrant is where he is because there's no place else for him to be. He's 
left outside society . . . he's not included in society, not in the laws . . . there's 
no equal protection under the law for a migrant.' 

"Bubba is sitting at his desk in an air conditioned office. It is quite a contrast 
from his former life working in bean fields. 

"But he still toils in the fields for extra money sometimes. He recently spent 
his two week vacation planting and hauling potatoes. 

"He wears gray pants and a shirt without tie. It is buttoned down, neat and 
starched. His hair is cut short, especially in front. 

"His face is an open book. His eyes speak frankly. 

"Society, says Bubba, made the migrant what he is today and has an obliga- 
tion to change him into a full member. 

" 'Experience has taught the migrants that nobody cares about them. Experience 
shows them they are the scum of this earth, they're the absolute rock bottom of 
American civilization, and they know it. 

" 'It's the obligation of society to change these people. They are a part of 
society. These same people who are not allowed to reap the benefits of society 
are paying taxes along with everyone. They do all the things society demands of 
them and yet they receive nothing in return.' 

"The only solution to the migrant problem is the complete elimination of the 
migi'auts, i^ubba says. 

"But to make change you must have power, he says, and the migrant is "the 
most powerless person in America." 

" 'Money makes power, education makes power, legislation makes power — we 
have none of these.' 

"Bubba Boone doesn't understand why a migrant must suffer merely because 
he is a migrant. 

" 'This country was created on the theory of being the land of the free and the 
home of the brave but you still have people living under a form of slavery and 
you have some people who are not very brave because of it. 

" 'There are people who are afraid to tell their boss man he's a liar or even 
disagree with him. There are lots of kinds of slavery — there's financial slavery, 
there's political slavery. There's every type of slavery imaginable, even physical 
slavery.' 

"Legislation is the first necessary step for bettering the migrants' lives, Bubba 
says. 

•' 'Laws that govern all the people, not laws that govern only a part of them, 
that's what's needed. Then when you make the laws, enforce them. How much 
enforcement have we had of the Civil Rights Act?' 

''Now Bubba is warming up. He leans forward, clasps his strong hands, sits on 
the edge of his chair. 

"What he is saying has been on his chest for a long time. 

" 'Money is still the main power. We say that each man has an equal vote and 
all this, but a man with money rules the country his way. 



320 

" 'The farmer with 10,000 acres gives the orders. He gives the orders because he 
contributes to campaigns. Then the officials who are supposed to be representing 
both me and the farmer represents the farmer when our interests conflict.' 
"He leans back in his chair, relieved. He smiles because he feels good now. 
" 'It's the same old conspiracy, there's no getting around it. It extends all the 
war from the lowest government to the top. It's nothing new, everyone knows 
that.' 

"Bubba says it is difficult to find older migrants ambitious enough to really 
start organizing for change. 

"What you will find is a man who is absolutely even without hope. A man who 
works hard and all he has to look forward to is another day like the one he just 
had. 

"For this reason, Bubba focuses his efforts on younger migrants who have 
more ambition. 

" 'The younger migrants come into a little bit closer contact with society and 
see a small ray of hope. You hear them talking about owning a home, getting 
out of the stream. 

" 'But necessity keeps them there. They are untrained workers with no special 
skills. The jobs you see advertised in the city require some experience, they're 
only experts in harvesting crops.' 

"Bubba says he tries to convince migrants to keep their children in school. 
Education can build the foundation for change, he says. 

" 'For me education and ambition were the key. I believe they are the basic 
essentials for others.' 

"Discrimination is hard for Bubba to understand even though he has felt it as 
a black man and a migrant all his life. 

"There are restaurants in the Glades are of Palm Beach County which will let 
Bubba sit inside without service. 

" 'They won't kick me out, but I'd get pretty hungry waiting for them to .serve 
me. 

"'Why does one man hate another because he's black or he's a migrant? If 
someone had a good reason for hating me I'd admire him. ... If the time ever 
comes when a man is judged on his own merits, we'll be somewhere.' 

"But Bubba doesn't foresee rapid change. He is patient, but every day he 
hears a new story of a migrant family in misery. 

" 'All you can do is hope for a change and this I do every day.' 
"Here are excerpts of testimony before the Senate subcommittee on migratory 
labor in June: 

"Bubba Boone : 'All migrant workers, without regard to race or color, are 
continually subjected to illegal discrimination by their employers, landlords, 
governmental agencies, places of business and even other members of their on 
races. 

" 'Even the word migrant has become a dirty word. It is deplorable that we 
work under the most depressing conditions for ridiculous wages, but we are, in 
addition, subjected to this special discrimination — adding even greater burdens 
on the lowly harvesters of this nation's crops. 

" 'The prejudices that I have experienced are by no means centralized. I. as 
a migrant, have at one time or another experienced almost indiscriminately the 
injustices in every state between and including New York and Florida. 

" 'In almost every state, highway patrolmen lay in ambush waiting for the 
migrant caravans to prey on them and drain from them whatever small savings 
they might have in the form of fines. 

" 'It all seems to be a part of a national conspiracy to keep us on the lowest 
level of human existence on this continent. Time and again I have searched for 
a reason for being so intimidated. As yet, I have found none. 

" 'We, the migrant, live in fear, because we have been indoctrinated with it. 
We live in shame because we are treated as the scum of the nation. And we live 
in hopelessness for experience has shown us there is no road open to us except 
back to the field.' 

"Newlon Lloyd, former crew leader from Opalocka : 'Years of living in such an 
environment has conditioned many workers to accept their station in life in a 
slave-like fashion. They believe that life will not change for them or their chil- 
dren and that the best course to follow is the one that makes the least number 
of waves. 

"'Do the migrant workers provide the food for our nation's tables? Ye.s — 
despite his vital role in putting food on the nation's tables, he is hard put to 
provide for himself. Why? 



321 

" 'Migrant workers are caught in a circle of exploitation. Tlie system which 
they labor under is outdated. Therefore, it works against them.' 

"Sen. Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota : 'What would you say about housing 
provided for the farm worker?' 

"Boon : 'It is deplorable . . . the government built some housing in this area 
(Pahokee) for emergency use back in 1942 and these same houses have po.s;<ibly 
more than one-third of the town's population. And they have been condemned for 
about eight years. 

'People are living there, and there is no other place in town to stay. What they 
end up doing, they have to live in condemned shacks.' 

"Sen. Jlondale : 'When I was in Immokalee, I was surprised at the filth and 
the sanitation levels, things which the tenant can't fix. You have to have plumbers 
and this and that come in and fix it. 

'What about the sanitation levels in this housing?' 

"Boone : 'You wouldn't believe it. You have to see it. You actually wouldn't 
believe it. There is no sense in my telling you.' 

"Sen. Mondale : 'I saw it. I don't want to go back.' 

"Boone : 'You didn't see the worst.' 

"Sen. Mondale : 'I had to get out of where I was. I couldn't stand it.' "' 



"[From the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post-Times, Oct. 12, 1969] 

"The County's Effort Expansive but Not Enough 

"(By Kent Pollock) 

"Palm Beach County has not turned its back on the migrant. 

"County programs in the areas of health, education and legal aid are expansive, 
covering many of the basic problems of migratory farm laborers. 

"The programs, however, have not reached the vast majority of the 38,000 
migrants who enter the county yearly. 

"Ths fact lends support to a Senate subcommittee on migratory labor opinioik 
that the solution to the migrant problem lies in the discontinuation of migration 
as a way of life. 

"More than 1,000 migrants received medical services at family health clinics, 
private physicians ofiices and hospital emergency rooms through tlie county's 
Migrant Health Project last year. 

"Health clinics in Belle Glade and in the 'rangeline' area of eastern Palm Beach 
County served most the migrants. Services included medical, pediatric, prenatal, 
gynecology, veneral disease and family planning. 

"Patients with acute illnesses were referred to private physicians or hospitals 
at the county's expense. 

"The county also operated dental care clinics for migrants which served 720 
patients last year. 

"Education programs administered for migrants by the county school system 
fall under two main categories — adult and child education. 

"There are an average of 90 adults served through the system's adult education 
program yearly at a cost of $50,000. 

"The adult education program provides subsidies for migrants attending 
classes. Adults receive $30 per month plus $3 per child up to five children while 
attending classes. 

"To be eligible for the program the adult must have earned at least 50 percent 
of his income during the preceding year in agricultural work and must be em- 
ployed on a seasonal basis. His income must also be below the national poverty 
level. 

"Classes teach basic skills such as reading and writing. Special emphasis is 
placed on vocational skills such as trar-tor driving. 

"There are a wide range of children's programs aimed at advancing the county 
migrant education level estimated at six years of school. This falls below the 
national average of 8.6 years. 

"The 13 migrant child educational programs fall under five basic areas at a 
cost of $882,000 yearly. 

"Physical well bein^ including clothing and food services. 

"Bridging experiences to acquaint migrant children with the ways of modern 
society. 



322 

"Language development. 

"Personal and social development. 

'■Occupational development through vocational training. 

"One of the newest migrant programs administered by the school system will 
be a radio station operated from Hagen Road Elementary School in Belle Glade. 

"The station will carry shows aimed at bridging the gap between the school and 
the home at a cost of $60,000 yearly. 

"South Florida Migrant Legal Services, changed recently to Rural Legal 
Services with much of the same personnel shifting to the new organization, had 
an active program in Palm Beach County aimed at lending legal aid to migrants 
and identifying their problems. 

"In addition to representing many migrants in court. SFMES published a book 
which attempted to outline the basics of the migrant plight. 

"Alan Kuker. an attorney with SFMLS, said his organization found that one 
problem is that migrants do not have 'the basic rights of the American citizen.' 

''Kuker .said new legislation was essential in the areas of unemployment com- 
pensation, workmen's compensation and the rights of the farm worker to or- 
ganize through extension of the National Labor Relations Act. 

''The Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Labor al.so suggested legislation ex- 
tending the NLRA to include agricultural workers. 

"Extension of the act would allow migrants to organize and set up procedures 
to bargain for better work conditions. 

"However, the subcommittee reported, the migrant plight cannot be solved by 
'piece-meal attempts to facilitate mobility ... to make dislocation bearable.' 

"They offered only one long-range solution to the problem. 

"We must encourage and aid his (the migrant's) withdrawal from the migrant 
stream, and permit him to become a permanent member of an agricultural com- 
munity where ho is needed' the committee's yearly report says. 

"To accomplish such a long-range goal, the report says, 'the migrant must be 
offered a viable economic alternative' to his life of migration. 

" 'An interim program of income assistance for the migrant worker might be 
necessary pending the establishment of nonfarm .i^^bs which have their high 
demands coincident with low workers needs in surrounding farm areas.' 

"The committee hopes additional rural industrialization might alleviate some 
problems of overcrowding in the cities. 

" 'Of cour.se, an end to the migrant stream is not an overnight affair,' the 
report says. 

"The first step suggested in the report includes an evaluation of the precise 
labor requirement of each agricultural area. 

"After the areas of need are defined, the report suggests an effort to redis- 
tribute and permanently place farm workers in farm communities in numbers 
compatible with needs. 

" 'Finally, and of paramount importance, emphasis must be placed on more 
intense development and attraction to rural areas of the many activities pre- 
viously found in cities and large metropolitan areas.' 

"If efforts aren't made to carry out the subcommittee's suggestions things will 
get worse, the report says. 

" 'The short supply and decreasing number of jobs, and the abundance and 
growing number of workers ... is likely to worsen in both the short and long 
run unless dramatic efforts are made to alleviate the situation.' 

"Farm employment, through increase mechanization, is expected to decline be- 
tween 1967 and 1980 from 4.9 million to about 3.6 million. 

" 'The migrant worker and his family face a near hopeless future. Each year 
the migrant's opportunities will become further limited as the educational and 
skill requirements of tomorrow's farm jobs are increased.' 

"Programs designed to eliminate rural poverty are a 'myth' to the migrants 
because their mobility makes it diflBcult for them to participate, the subcommit- 
tee report says. 

"Sen. George Murphy of California wrote the subcommittee's minority report 
and opposed extension of the National Labor Relations Act to cover agricultural 
workers. 

"Such an extension, Murphy said, 'would undoubtedly represent the last straw 
for thousands of farmers who are barely able to keep their heads above water 
under present conditions.' 

"He said migrant organization would lead to higher wages and force farmers 
to mechanize to a greater degree. 



323 

" 'To the extent that increased mechanization will reduce the number of un- 
skilled jobs on the nation's farms, it will aggravate even further the crisis of our 
cities by encouraging additional hundreds of thousands of unskilled, uneducated, 
practically unemployable people to migrate from rural to urban areas in search 
of, at best, jobs which do not exist, or, at worst, relief Murphy said. 

"Of 13 basic recommendations for legislation proposed by the subcommittee, 
only the extension of the five-year Migrant Health Program' is headed for rapid 
enactment. 

"A subcommittee spokesman in Washington told The Post speedy passage of 
any of the proposed legislation was 'doubtful.' 

"Meanwhile, time is running out for the migrant. 

"Anway you slice it, it's Hell being caught up in the migration to misery. 

"a key : AMEND SOCIAL SECURITY ACT 

"Two amendments to the Social Security Act would 'eliminate 'discriminatory 
treatment' of the migrant under the Act, a U.S. Senate subcommittee on migra- 
tory labor said last year. 

" 'Old age, survivors, and disability insurance is one of the few major areas 
. . . from which agriculture migrants may receive even the slightest theoretical 
benefits. But even in this area, like all others, inadequate coverage prevails,' the 
subcommittee's yearly report said. 

"The proposed amendments include eliminating restrictive wage and work 
period qualifications and the law which makes the crew leader an employer for 
Social Security purposes. 

"The migrant, due to his low pay and short employment periods, often doesn't 
meet the Social Security Act qualifying requirements of receiving wages of more 
than .$1.50 from one employer during the year. 

"The only other way a farm worker can qualify for Social Security benefits 
under present law is through working for one farmer the equivalent of at least 
20 days. 

" 'Every dollar that these citizens are allowed to pay for their own social se- 
curity entitlement will lessen the financial burden on the taxpaying public during 
the workers' nonproductive years' the subcommittee report said. 

"Congress has not yet acted to amend the act as proposed. 

"the eecommendations of the senate subcommittee on migratory labor 

"Here are the programs proposed by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Migra- 
tory Labor to alleviate the plight of the migrant : 

"Extension of National Labor Relations Act to include migratory labor. 

"Extension of five-year Migrant Health Project. 

"New nutrition programs aimed at serving migrants. 

"New rural housing programs with appropriations from older programs ear- 
marked for rural housing development. 

"Review of current Office of Economic Opportunity programs for effectiveness 
and possible extension. 

"Better protection for youthful farm workers. 

"Expansion of current migrant education programs. 

"Increase in Labor Department personnel to insure crew leader registration. 

"Extension of compulsory workmens' compensation laws to provide coverage 
for all agricultural workers. 

"Modify Social Security Act to shift burden of reporting wages from crew 
leader to farmer. 

"Legislation forbidding states to deny right to vote on account of residency 
in national elections or physical presence in any election. 

"Establish national advisory council on migratory labor to provide long-range 
understanding of conditions, needs and problems of migrants. 

"Evaluate causes of unemployment and underemployment of migrants with 
views towards ending migratory way of life." 



(Excerpts from Hearings before the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human 
Needs of the United States Senate. 90th Congress, Second Session and Ninety- 
First Congress, First Session on Nutrition and Human Needs, Sen. George Mc- 
Govern, chairman. Part 5 A — Florida, at Immokalee, Florida, March 10, 1969, 
from pps. 155."")-1565. ) 

(The following staff survey was made available to the members of the com- 
mittee :) 



324 

"Staff Suk\t:y 

"(County Commissioners: Lester Whitaker, A. C. Hancock, Ewell Moore) 

"Mr. Michael Foster's statement indicates reactions and attitudes of the Com- 
missioners with respect to efforts to institute a commodity program in Collier 
County. Recent press stories also contain references to their efforts and quoted 
reactions of the Commissioners. 

"Mrs. Marion Fethers, a social worker in Immokalee since 1962, said last 
week of the Commissioners (Miami Herald, March 9. 1969) : 

" 'We have been before them time and time again, asking for help for hungry 
people . . . and in 17 years they have never spent one penny on migrants. 

" 'A couple or three times they did help us with the paperwork when we got 
emergency federal relief . . . 

" 'The County Commission has never given us any money. No they never.' 

"In March 1968, Mrs. Fethers told the County Commissioners about 150 fami- 
lies suffering from severe hunger because of a combination of farm conditions 
(high winds and low temperatures) and restrictions on local government assist- 
ance. She said less than $1000 was needed to carry the families through a three 
week period. 

"In May 1968, Mrs. Fethers told the Fort Myers News Press (March 7, 1968) : 

" 'I go into homes and look into the refrigerators and cupboards and I know 
they were hungry. I sometimes feel the children are forgotten.' 

"In July 1968 the Miami Herald reported (July 17. 1968) that efforts to hire 
12 migrants in other day labor jobs were unsuccessful. Chairman Wittaker was 
quoted as saying : 'Theres something wrong with hungry i)eople when you can't 
hire 12.' 

"Commissioner Hancock said : "They're not hungry enough." 

"Comm,issioner Moore said : "There is work available, cleaning ditches and 
culverts with grubbing hoes, and if they won't report for work cut them off.' 

"Just prior to the County Commissioner's rejection of the offer of a commodity 
distribution program. Commissioner A. C. Hancock said : 

" 'If this program can't be at our sole discretion, the farmers will soon be 
migrants themselves. 

" '* * * there are people waiting with their hands out that won't work when 
they are offered jobs and that's a situation we won't go for. 

" '* * * there are those sitting with their hands out waiting to be fed and 
that's a situation we won't go for.' 

"Chairman Whitaker said : "We're not saying people who are himgry won't 
be taken care of, but when we have thousands of able bodied people and can't 
hire 12 men, don't ask us to take part in the program.' 

"After the Homer Bigart story in the New York Times, Chairman Whitaker 
said of a commodity program (Miami Hearld, March 1. 1969) : 'But if you start 
handing out something like that, people just sit on their hands and take it.' 

"In yesterday's Miami Herald Commissioner Moore was quoted as follows : 
" 'These people are farm laborers, that's all they are. They'll never be any differ- 
ent. They're that kind of people and they'll be that way till they die. They're 
farm labor.' 

"The article pointed out that Collier County's 1968 welfare budget was $131,500. 
Commissioner Moore said : 'We cannot spend these taxpayers' money on these 
migrants. We are restricted by the laws of the State of Florida and we just don't 
have the right to do with taxpayers' money for migrants. We are solely respon- 
sible for the citizens of Collier County. The churches, this, that and the other 
help these migrants.' 

"Of the commodity program Moore said : 'If the federal people are gonna do 
it. okay. The migrants themselves are federal people. They's not Immokalee 
people, they're not Collier people, they're not Florida people. They're federal 
people. If there's free food, these people'll come early and stay late. We'll have 
them in town all year long . . . They don'e give yon a day's work.' 

"Asked what happens when a migrant gets too old and whether the county 
would help him if he is forced to settle in Immokalee, Moore said. 'Why, I 
don't remember the question ever coming up.' " 

Statement of Lester Whitaker, CHAiRisrAx, Cotxier County Commissioners 

Mr. Whitaker. We are delighted that you gentlemen are here. If we appear 
slightly hostile, it is because of the articles that have been written. IMost of them 
have stated everything but the truth, and we are sitting here under the impres- 



325 

sion of a lot of people that we are two-headed monsters, and according to Mr. 
Davies' testimony you gentlemen are right along with us in that category. 

I do not have a prepared statement, and I hope you will forgive me if I ramble 
a little bit. 

The Chaikman. Is the other Commissioner here, Mr. Whitaker? 

Mr. Whitaker. No, I believe he could not wait this long, and had to leave. 

The Chairman. Is this Mr. Hancock or Mr. Moore who is with you? Would 
you identify your associate? 

Mr. Whitaker. This is Commissioner Moore, and he is in this district. 

In the statements, we might make, I would like to point out one thing clear, 
that we are not indicting the migrants, the year-round residents that work in 
the fields and other vocations. I am going to point out in my remarks some of 
the things that we have found and, as I say, it is certainly not an indictment 
of everyone. 

We have some of the finest workers, some of the finest colored people, some of 
the finest Spanish people anywhere. 

The thing that we are concerned with, naturally, we have to do the best we 
can with what we have to work with. 

EXTENT OF HUNGER AND MALNUTRITION 

Now, I do not believe, and the tour this morning bore this out to me. that there 
is widespread hunger in Collier County. Malnutrition to a certain extent, I won't 
argue that point, because if you have an 8-year-old boy, and if you don't keep him 
from eating hamburgers and cokes all the time, he is going to be on an unbalanced 
diet. 

Hunger, of course, I am quite sure there are isolated cases in the county. I 
think the most of these cases, if they were investigated, could be blamed on 
parental neglect, because the people, their parents, do not buy the proper foods, 
and it is a habit of some of them, and again it is some of them, they buy a bottle 
prior to buying their groceries. 

I know we have been taken to task, we have been abused, we have been mis- 
quoted and for not going into this food program. 

We have — it has come to your attention by TV and others that there are areas 
in the United States where there are whole families on relief and welfare, that 
they have been on this from the time that they were born, and I understand in 
New York City, now, some of them are going into the third generation of people 
on welfare that have never been gainfully employed in their lives. 

Now, we don't want this to happen here in Collier County. At the same time, 
we don't want to tolerate hunger. 

PROGRAMS IN OPERATION 

But just as a little of the background, some of the things that we are doing 
here in Collier County through the school system, which the county commission 
has supported in every instance that w^e had an opportunity, we are — our county 
welfare, that is, at the expense of the county taxpayers. 

One of our friends in migrant legal services mentioned we were spending 
S121.000. I am glad he has upped these figures. It was quoted on the TV the other 
night something considerably lower than this. I am glad that he is at least 
improving. 

The welfare program as such, along with our contribution to the so-called 
underprivileged, and I think this is what our concern is here today — the county 
itself, and I am talking about local taxes, we are spending this $121,000 plus 
$20,000 administrative costs, plus another $1.53.000 to our health department, 
plus numerous other things that we contribute to, and when you boil it all down 
to the amount of money that we are providing in the county, and that we are 
availing ourselves in the county, and again I am speaking for the entire county 
complex, when you break this down into per capita of our county. I think you are 
going to come up with an answer that is not quite as dismal as a lot of people 
would have you think. 

The Chairman. Mr. Whitaker. how much of that county budget is for food 
purposes? 

Mr. Whitaker. For food, we have $7,.500. This was accurately quoted by Mr. 
Foster, I believe. 



326 

We also provide other things. This doesn't mean that we can't if we had need 
for it — we have certain contingencies where we can go higher than that if it is 
necessary. 

To relate a couple of experiences, and this is where some of this — some of these 
stories come out that we say they have to work if they eat. 

This was partially true, and it was partially untrue. 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES 

Right now in Collier County anybody who is not working doesn't want to work, 
or there is some other extenuating circumstance to where they can't get away. 
I know sometimes the mothers with small children can't work. We have gone 
over backward to try to help these people. 

We had an instance last summer where our welfare worker came over to 
Immokalee on a Wednesday, and she issued over 80 food orders, and when this 
figure of $4 was mentioned, this is $4 a week, not $4 per month, as some people 
thought. 

We were shorthanded in our road department. We sent a representative over 
here on Friday of the same week with instructions to hire 20 people. We were 
going to furnish transportation for these people. We were paying them, offering 
to pay them a mininuim of .$14 a day, which is, in some places very small, but it 
is better than a $4 food order. 

We were able to get five of these people to work. 

Now. picture that, if you will. Over 100 apparently able-bodied people, and we 
could hire five. 

Today, if you gentlemen observed, on our tour of the area I counted over 100 
men — to me it looked like they were able-bodied. Now, if their families were 
hungry, why aren't they out in the fields? There is no excuse for not working. 

I can get 500 people a job tomorrow morning in addition to what the farmers 
claim that they are taking out. 

So these are some of the things that are in back of this. We don't want anyone 
to suffer, and when. Senator McGovern, I saw you on TV yesterday on "Face the 
Nation," or some program, where you said you had to teach people what hunger 
was. 

You don't have to teach me this. I have been there. I grew up as one of the 
most underprivileged kids you ever saw. and I worked and came out of it, and 
I would like to reiterate that the only thing we want the people to do, the ones 
that are able, let's give them the opportunity. 

Now. all the programs that have been outlined here by Mr. Murphy, Captain 
Reece. these are the programs that we think have to be the answer. 

I know you are going to say. "What are we going to do in the meantime?" 

We have to have programs in the meantime. We think this is the proper ap- 
proar'h to correct our problem. We certainly don't want to deny anyone any 
request that comes in that is a valid request. We help them. 

VALUE OF PROGRAMS 

The Chairman. Mr. Whitaker, in that connection, how much though can you 
really do with a county food budget of $7,500? That seems to me to be a very 
small figure to deal with the numbers of people that seem to be indicated here 
that are in need of food. 

The Department of Agriculture says it takes about $1,200 a year as a mini- 
mum to feed a family of four. How far is $7,500 going to go in a county where 
you have 22,000 migrant workers in meeting the problem? 

Other counties can't afford to do it on that budget, 
statements here that people were starving. We went around today, we seen these 
places, we heard one lady sav that her principal diet was beans, peas and greens, 
and you and Senator Javits and myself looked in the refrigerator, and there were 
four packages of meat, and a large can of .1uice. 

Senator .Tavits. When did that get there? 

Mr. Whitaker. A lot of these people don't require year-round sustenance. 

The Chairman. No. but are you really saying that $7,500 is an adequate wel- 
fare budget for food purposes in this county? Will this close the nutritional gap 
in Collier County? 

Mr. Whitaker. Nutrition gap. I can't answer. Hunger gap, yes, I think it will, 
because last year we spent $6,000 and something, and I know that you have heard 



327 

Mr. Whitakee. I wouldn't know. [Laughter.] 

How often do tbey get it? Why didn't you ask them that? 

Hunger in Collier County is not as widespi-ead as is said, and i)eople who try 
to help themselves, we try to help them. 

We had a request come in from a lady a week ago Tuesday ; she was an un- 
married girl with eleven children. We authorized tubal ligation. It is a shame 
we didn't get to some of them 15 years ago. 

We paid the tuition in nursing homes for some of these people that are unable 
to work. 

RESPONSIBILITY— FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL 

The Chairman. You referred to a quotation from me yesterday on television. 
There was already a story which appeared in the Miami Herald that quoted you 
and other members of the county commissioners at some length. 

Xow% there is one statement here that puzzles me that is attributed to Mr. 
Moore. Perhaps he would like to comment on this. But if it is not correct, I 
would like to have it clarified. 

The Miami Herald quotes you, Mr. Moore, as saying : 

"If the Federal people are going to do it, O.K. The migrants themselves are 
Federal people. They are not Immokalee people. They are not Collier people, they 
are not Florida people. They are Federal people, and if there is free food, these 
people will come early and stay late. We will have them in town all year long." 

First of all, I would like to know whether that statement is substantially rep- 
resentative of your views. 

Mr. MooRE. No, sir, I didn't say that exactly, but I almost concur with every 
word of it. [Laughter.] 

The Chairman. What do you mean when you say these people are Federal 
people and they are not the responsibility of Florida, or Collier County? 

Are they solely a Federal responsibility? 

Mr. MooEE. Senator Javits, you just asked Mr. Whitaker about this $7,.500 
we have for food in the county. I don't think he quite understood you right, 
maybe, but you are talking about the migrants. 

Are you familiar with the laws of the State of Florida? 

The Chairman. I wish you would clarify that. 

Mr. Moore. The county commissioners do not have the authority to spend 
money on migrants. 

The Chairman. Whose responsibility would it be? 

Mr. Moore. The Federal Government's. 

The Chairman. When you say you take care of your own and you don't need 
Federal assistance, you are excluding the migrants? 

Mr. Moore. That's right. 

The Chairman. I think that is an important point, because if they are not 
part of Collier County, that is an urgent matter for this committee to look into. 
They must be residents somewhere. Where is their official residence? 

Mr. Moore. When they are in the State of Florida for 1 year and in our county 
6 months, they are residents. 

The Chairman. Under that law, or at least the interpretation of it, they do 
not have the rights of other citizens. 

Mr. Moore. No, sir. As far as our budget is concerned, as far as food, or hos- 
pitalization, or what have you, we do not have that authority. 

The Chairman. Do you think that is a tolerable situation for people who 
have lived in the United States all their lives, when they are excluded from the 
whole range of welfare programs, the Federal, State, and local welfare pro- 
grams, because of the residency requirements? 

Mr. Moore. We will have to take that up with our State legislature, and also 
you gentlemen. 

Senator Javits. Would the gentleman yield? 

Can we assume that they get nothing at all other than what we have heard 
about from the school, and nursery 

Mr. Moore. That is from the school, Senator Javits. 

Senator Javits. Health is county, isn't it? Is it or isn't it? 

Mr. Whitaker. Our contribution from local taxes to the health department 
is $153,000. The State, or migrant — I aan not so sure, but Dr. Bradley could 
clear this up — they also contribute .$1.53,000. We are talking about what we under 
our jurisdiction can do and cannot do. 



328 

Senator Javits. Do you consider the State to have the responsibility for 
these people, notwithstanding what Mr. Moore says? He says only the Federal 
Government has. 

Mr. MooRE. It could be the State or Federal Government, or both. 

Mr. Whitaker. It is according to what action the State takes. 

Senator Javits. Is the prosperity of the citizens of this county your 
responsibility? 

Mr. Whitaker. Citizens, yes. 

Mr. MooRE. Citizens. 

Senator Javits. Don't the migrants contribute to the prosperity of this county, 
and do you agree with the newspaper editor of your town who says without the 
migrants the whole county would fold? 

Mr. Whitaker. I suppose he is 100-percent correct. We are not saying that 
the migrants don't have a place here. They do have a place here. 

Under our limited jurisdiction, I am trying to point out that the Federal 
funds that fund the school programs to educate these people and better equip 
them to be useful and respectable citizens, this is Federal money. 

So we are not against Federal money as such. We are against — now, Mr. 
Davies, I believe, in the presentation he made, he had some 10 suggestions that 
should be done to correct the situation. 

According — he read them over very quickly — and eight of them are "gimme, 
gimme, gimme." 

One was that we should encourage industry to come in here, and the other 
was that the Agricultural Department should offer more to industry to come 
into agricultural areas. 

Now, we don't have horns yet. I know some people think we do. 

Senator Javits. Some people think I do, too. It doesn't stop me, and it appar- 
ently doesn't stop you. 

Mr. Whitaker. We would take the food stamps, if it is proposed. We would 
consider it 

Senator Javits. Would you accept that program? 

Mr. Whitaker. I will not commit myself, but we will consider it. 

Senator Javits. Apparently you have considered the commodity program and 
turned it down, because you don't feel you have any moral responsibility to the 
migrant. 

Mr. Whitaker. I don't think there is that great a need. 

Senator Javits. We have seen the need. You are giving us the essence of it 
now, when you say that here is a county that has no responsibility for 19.000 
to 22.000 people exery year who make its economy, and could break it. It is 
inconceivable, and I don't see how any can thrive under that arrangement, that 
if 19,000 people here are the base of your economy you don't have any respon- 
sibility for them. 

Mr. Whitaker. We didn't say we had no responsibility. We said we had cer- 
tain limitations as to what we could do. 

Senator Javits. If they commit a crime, you slap them in jail don't you? 

Mr. Whitaker. You do in New York, don't you? 

Senator Javits. Yes. but we try to meet their needs. [Applause and laughter.] 

The Chairman. This is a Federal responsibility as far as food is concerned ; 
if there is hunger and malnutrition in this county involving migrant workers, 
their view is that it is a total Federal responsibility? I want to understand 
fully. 

Mr. Whitaker. I haven't made that statement, that food and 

The Chairman. But you are suggesting that as far as food assistance is cor.- 
cerned. that when we talk about migrant workers, that is a Federal respons^i- 
bility? 

Mr. Whitaker. If, you see, we get the jurisdiction on the local level to con- 
tribute to some of these things, that would change our way of thinking. 

COST OF COMMODITY DISTRIBUTION PBOQBAM 

The Chairman. Isn't that available to you now, to participate with Federal 
food programs, where the administration would be in the hands of local people. 
Doesn't Lee County have a program like that? 

Mr. Whitaker. I think they do. 

The Chairman. Why would you be barred from operating a similar program? 

Mr. Whitaker. We took the position that under the conditions it was offered, 
we were told that it would be estimated that we would have to contribute to at 



329 

least 4,200 people in our county, that it would cost us approximately $45,000 
to $56,000. We don't think that that much food is needed. 

The Chairman. Now, Mr. Whitaker, on these cost figures, I have seen them 
quoted, too, in the press accounts, that the Board of Commissioners here had 
cost estimates up to $96,000 for operating a commodity distribution program, 
and yet in Lee County we are told that the program operates there at a cost 
of $8,000 a year, and feeds some 1,600 people. 

Where would it cost so much more to operate a program in Collier County? 

Mr. Whitaker. We are taking the figures that were given to us by Mr. Mc- 
Cubbin, that came down out of Jacksonville. 

The Chairman. W^ho is he? 

Mr. Whitaker. I think he is State director of this surpuls food program. 

The Chairman. Do you know why it would cost so much more to operate it 
here? 

Mr. Whitaker. We had no information as to Avhat was going on in Lee 
County as to the cost and so on. 

FOOD STAMP PROGRAM 

The Chairman. Senator Ellender? 

Senator Ellender. What is the position of your welfare director for obtaining 
a food stamp program for Collier County? 

Mr. Whitaker. A food stamp plan? 

I am quite sure that perhaps we would certainly vote to accept a food stamp 
plan. 

Senator Ellender. What were you talking about a while ago? 

Mr. Whitaker. A surplus food program. 

Senator Ellender. As I follow this, all you need to do is spend money for 
the administration of the program. Stamps are sent to you. 

Mr. Whitaker. You are talking about stamps again. 

Senator Ellender. Yes. That is the one I though you said you favored. 

Governor Kirk. May I ask, isn't it true that, until Congress makes an addi- 
tional appropriation, there are no further food stamp allocations available to 
any State, and in fact, when the Cabinet meets with me tomorrow in Tallahassee 
and we view the food stamp program, there will be no moneys available to 
that until Congress appropriates it? 

Senator Ellender. You are correct. We appropriated the full amount last 
year, but the House turned it down. 

Governor Kirk. You think you have the county commissioners at a dis- 
advantage, and I wanted to be helpful if I could. 

Senator Ellender. When the money is made available for the food stamp 
X>lan, in addition to what we have, in order for you to qualify, you have to get 
your welfare department to say so to the Department of Agricultui-e. 

Mr. Whitaker. I think we have that authority, sir. As I understand it^ 
I don't know if Governor Kirk has something to say on that. 

Senator Ellender. The welfare department states that this is eligible under 
law. 

Mr. Whitaker. Whatever the mechanics are. sir. I don't know. 

Just to correct a few more statements that were made which were reported 
as being reasons for us not going into the program that it would assist in the 
unionization of farmers. 

Now, how you can relate these two, I have no idea. Also, the food would 
compete with the local grocers. 

Now, as far as I know, this has never — these things have never come up in 
discussion in our meetings. As far as I know. I have never made the statement, 
and I have never heard any commissioner make the statement, and it seoms that 
this is .iust another product of someone's inventive mind, a lot of quotations 
that we have been subjected to. 

Mr. Brown. Would you allow one taxpaying citizen to make a statement? 

The Chairman. Would you identify yourself? 

Mr. Brown. My name is .Joe Browii, and I have lived in Immokalee 21 vears. 
I came here in the dusting business, and I am still in it. 

This whole thing is out of proportion of what is true, real facts of the thing. 
AA e are talking about some 20,000 or 22.000 migrants who come into this area 
to work, and we are talking about five or six cases of malnutrition. 
^ We don't need a Government-supported program. These people can get relief 
it they apply through the proper channels. It is available to them. 



330 

These people that come in here, jrou say they make $1,7000 a year here. They 
make it somewhere else. They are a gypsy type of person who want to live like 
they do. They migrate from all over the United States, and they make money 
everywhere they go. 

They pay no social security, no withholding tax. They don't contribute any- 
thing what they make except in the form of cigarette taxes, most of them are 
not married and have illegitimate children that the taxpayers have to pay for 
and keep up. 

If the true facts of this thing could come out, we don't need a giveaway 
program. We need people to work in this community. 

The Bible says, and I quote. "The poor ye shall have with you aways." 

I don't think' we are going to change the prophecy of the Bible. The people in 
desperate need of help. I would like to see them get it. but they don't need a 
financed, a Federal program, because if they get it, it is going to hurt our people. 

The Chairmax. Mr. Brown, iu that connection, if you followed the food stamp 
route, it would help your local lousiness. 

Mr. Browx. The food stamp would be the only acceptable way. because that 
way the merchant would benefit by it. But we cannot make anybody socially 
equal, or financially equal in this world, and people have to stand on their own 
two feet and fight. 

The Chairmax. How are you going to help the people break out of this cycle 
if we can't take certain steps to help them lift their standard of life";' It seems 
to me the place to begin is to make sure that a child at least has an adequate 
diet. 

A lot of those youngsters, through no fault of tlieir own, are still suffering 
damage that will affiict them the rest of their lives, because of inadequate food 
supplies, either when the mother is carrying the child or in the years immediately 
after birth. 

We have had testimony of damage that stays with them the rest of their lives. 
Maybe that is one of the reasons they are as handicapped and as inadequate 
as they are in some respects. 

Mr. Browx. There is one thing that is true, that a food .stamp program would 
not hurt our merchants. The taxpayers will eventually pay for it. But as far as 
needing a big giveaway program or a large welfare program, we don't need what 
is the general discussion of what is going on here in this community. 

We need people here to work, and people who don't buy wine at the end of the 
day with their SIO. 

And we want to remember that in the families the man and woman both 
go out and work, and they don't keep up the property they live in, they destroy it. 

They only live here 2 or 3 months out of the year, and then to Georgia, and 
Mississippi, and Wisconsin, or wherever it is that they follow the route. 

We are making a big mountain out of a molehill here that we don't need. It 
is unfavorable publicity to our county, because it is not true what is basically 
being said here. 

If the people would spend the money they make and buy food instead of wine, 
there wouldn't be any arguments about malnutrition. 

That is all I have to say. Your Honor. 

The Chairmax. We are under a time factor here. 

Mr. Whitakeb. I have one more brief statement. 

I would like to call your attention to some of the programs we are supporting, 
and one is a .self-help housing program, and right now we have something like 
77 houses, which is a pittance, I know, in numbers. 

The Chairmax'. Will the audience plea.se be in order so we can hear the 
commissioners ? 

Mr. Wh]taker. We have 77 in this county, either complete or under construc- 
tion, with many more underway. This is a good program. 

We also have the programs that are in effect in this area — it's the community 
action migrant program, they call it, but they have broadened their area to take 
in any underprivileged persons in three or four counties. 

The county commission has gone on record to try to help them get this pro- 
gram funded. 

I talked to a colored gentleman a few days ago in Fort Myers, and they have 
helped 823 families to increase their earning capacity by training. These — 
programs like these, and the educational programs that are carried on in the 
schools, these are the programs that we think are going to correct this, and 
we are in 100-percent support of these programs. 

The Chairmax. Thank you. Commissioner Whitaker. 

Mr. Moore, did you wish to add to what has been said? 



331 

STATE EESPONSIBrLITY 

Mr. Moore. As you quoted from the paper the statement that I made, I 
would like to say, while Governor Kirk is here, it was in the Tampa Tribune, 
where I made something of the same statement, but it also says in here that I 
said that the State didn't have the right to spend money on the migrants. 

I would like to correct that for your benefit, sir. I did not make that kind of 
statement. I have enough trouble trying to run this part of the county, without 
the State. 

The Chairman. Senator Javits? 

Senator Javits. Mr. Moore, are we going to take that as an amendment to 
your statement that these are Federal people — they are now both State and 
Federal ? 

Mr. MooKE. They would be State and Federal people, but as things stand now, 
we are not able to fund help for them at the present time, and until it is made 
available, our hands are tied. 

Senator Javits. But you do admit you are legally able to fund food programs 
for them, and to let their children go to school? 

Mr. Moore. Yes. 

Senator Javits. And to put their children in Headstart, and some health care 
programs. 

Mr. Moore. That is through your school board. That doesn't come under the 
county commission. 

Senator Ja\-its. But it is a quantity question, no longer a quality question. 

What is the tax rate in this county? 

Mr. Whitaker. The basic millage is 17.2. 

Senator Javits. Where does that stand statewide? 

Mr. Whitaker. I haven't taken the trouble to find out. It varies. 

Senator Javits. This is a low-tax county, is it not ? 

Governor Kirk. There is a 100-percent-assessment law in this State. Senator. 
This is an agricultural county. I hope you won't compare it with Palm Beach. 

Senator Javits. When we hear it has a .S40 million production in agriculture, 
and can't provide more than .ST, .500 on food, and can't spend even $.50,000 — let 
me finish. Governor — and can't spend even $50,000 for a food distribution pro- 
gram, I think it raises a very serious question. 

It doesn't have to be Palm Beach for such an economic base. 

Governor Kirk. I will be glad to give you clear and direct an.swers. 

Senator Javits. I am trying to give you one, too, sir, if you will. 

Mr. Whitaker. Senator Javits 

The Chairman. Senator Mondale? 

Senator Mondale. The self-help housing, is the county doing that? 

Mr. Whitaker. The county is cooperating with them in passing the necessary 
resolutions and supports, and we tour the area occasionally. 

Senator Javits. Are you spending any money on that self-help housing? 

Mr. Whitaker. No ; we are not. 

If I might, just in answer to Senator .Javits' statement that it is a .$40 mil- 
lion industry, the county does not get any taxes out of that $40 million. 

Senator Javits. But this makes the economic base of the county. 

I have the greatest respect for your Governor, who I think is a very fine 
public servant, but I just want to make my point with the force and power that 
the Governor makes his. We are men, too. as well as Government officials. 

There is a real economic base here which the migrants make, and I must say 
that it deeply concerns me. and I think every member of the committee, when 
you see their situation, and then when you face two good men. whom I suppose 
go to church and worship their God, like the rest of us do. telling us that, as 
far as they are concerned, they have no responsibility. There is something 
wrong somewhere. 

Maybe we can find out what it is and do something about it. But in this, we 
are all children of God. 

Mr. Whitaker. I would like to thank you very much for coming down. 

Senator Moxdale, We will now recess the hearings until further 
notice. 

(Whereupon, at 1 rol p.m. the subcommittee recessed, subject to call 
of the Chair.) 

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