The Benson Latin American Collection

Texas Farm Workers Union Collection, 1977-1980

Descriptive Summary

Creator Texas Farm Workers Union
Title Texas Farm Workers Union Collection
Dates: 1977-1980
Abstract A collection of materials from the late 1970's relating to the Texas Farm Workers Union.
Accession No.
OCLC Record No. 22870111
Extent 2 linear inches, 1 30 min. 16mm motion picture, 7 posters, 2 45rpm phonodiscs, 13 items memorabilia.
Language English
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

The Texas Farm Workers Union (TFWU) was established in August 1975 under the leadership of Antonio Orendain. Wanting a union that was accountable to them, a core of Rio Grande Valley farmworkers supported the foundation of the TFWU. From its inception the union had a difficult time. In addition to the opposition of the growers, the union did not gain the support of the United Farm Workers Union or the AFL-CIO. With little or no funding, the union resorted to "hit-and run" strike tactics to make its point. Despite the financial problems it faced, the TFWU was able to focus the media spotlight on the plight of farmworkers. They campaigned for the establishment of a Texas Agricultural Board and the right of farmworkers to vote on union representation, but legislation died in subcommittee. In late February 1977 union members started a 420-mile march from San Juan to Austin. It ended on April 2 at the state capitol building. To gain more public support for their cause, Orendain led forty union members on a historical 1,600-mile march from Austin to Washington, DC. The journey started on June 18, 1977 and ended at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on September 5, 1977. Unable to maintain firm financial backing, the union continued to have a sporadic existence until its demise in the mid-1980s.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection is separated into four series: correspondence of Antonio Orendain; publications, including newsclippings; audiovisual materials; and memorabilia. In addition to the correspondence of TFWU labor organizer Orendain, the collection includes promotional materials such as the newspaper El Cuhamil, a half-hour film titled Los Trabajadores Agricolas de Tejas, and several phonodiscs of songs for TFWU written by Esteban Jordan. Other items found in this collection are posters, buttons, bumper stickers, and banners.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply.

Index Terms

The Texas Farm Workers Union collection is classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries catalog:
Texas Farm Workers Union.
Mexican American agricultural laborers--Texas.
Trade-unions--Agricultural laborers--Texas.
Agricultural laborers--Legal status, laws, etc.--Texas.
Other Authors
Orendain, Antonio, 1931-
Jordan, Esteban
Castro, Daniel
Texas Farm Workers Union
CIOAC (Organization)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Texas Farm Workers Union Collection, Benson Latin American Collection, University Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.

Box and Folder Inventory

Container List

box folder
1 1 Correspondence, 1978
2 Blank stationary
3 El Cuhamil promotional materials
4 Membership materials and petition
Printed materials
5 "Campesinos", 1977
6 Farmworkers and the 80's
7 International Conference in Defense of the Undocumented Workers, 1980
8 The struggle of the Texas Farm Workers' Union, 1977
9 Texas migrant labor: a special report, 1978
10 "El sindicato de trabajadores agricolas de texas" by Carlos Marentes. Revista del México Agrario, XI(4):145-72. 1978
11 Newsclippings
12 Memorabilia
13 Phonodisc: "La marcha del campesino, Surguieron los campesinos"
14 Film: Los Trabajodores Agrícolas de Texas: a Deslambrar
oversize Flags and armband
oversize Posters
oversize Newspapers
El Visitante Dominical, July 15, 1979
El Cuhamil, 1978-80