Strike One: Imperial Valley Strike
- In the 20’s, the Valley started to expand land for its crops. Land expansion meant a greater need for workers. These workers included Filipinos, Mexicans, American Indians, etc. The Imperial Valley Strike was caused by low wages and inadequate working conditions. The Chicanos in 1928 decided to create a union in San Diego. This union was called The Imperial Valley Workers Union. They wrote letters to the growers, kindly asking them for higher wages and better working conditions. These better working conditions demanded ice for drinking water, picking sacks, lumber to build out-houses, and legal compensation to injured workers. When they did not receive what they had asked for, they decided to stop working. The people who stopped working were arrested by the sheriff. There were many instances where people were arrested because they had these needs. In fear of Mexican uprisings, sheriffs started arresting more and more workers. Eventually, state officials were contacted and almost all the farmers’ needs were met. Their union lived on to four more harvests. The following successful union would happen thirty years later, led by Cesar Chavez. 
- Image by PancakeTom
- These events were just the beginning of a long and arduous battle for justice and equality. These strikes have implemented fear in the growers’ minds and they have made it almost impossible for these people to speak out and be heard. This strike shows how these growers suppress their workers. The union respectfully asked for better wages e.g. “15 cents a crate for picking cantaloupes or 75 cents an hour for labor”. Their cause had greatly affected the rest of the fields of California. The union they have created had created a controversy that has spread throughout the whole state. Which brings us to the next important strike, the Salinas Lettuce Strike of 1936.