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California Pea Pickers’ Strike of 1932

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[Excerpt] Just before the start of the May 1932 harvest season, growers in the Half Moon Bay area of San Mateo, California, provoked a spontaneous strike among pea pickers when they reduced piece rates from seventy-five to fifty cents a pack. Although the workers were unorganized, the large pay cut represented the breaking point for families just coming out of the slow winter season. The previous year's rate of seventy-five cents a pack had not been enough to tide them over through the winter, especially given the four dollars a month rent they were required to pay the growers for camping out on their land. Unable to feed their families, many of the workers were forced to look to the San Mateo County relief office for charity, only to be told that because they were not permanent residents of the county, they were only eligible to receive two cents per family member per day. A twenty-five-cent pay cut meant that the next winter would be even worse.

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1990-01-01

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labor movement; strike; California; pea pickers

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Required Publisher Statement: © Taylor & Francis. Final version published as: Bronfenbrenner, K. (1990). California pea pickers’ strike of 1932. In R. L. Filippelli (Ed.) Labor conflict in the United States: An encyclopedia (pp. 86-87). New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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