Alexandria Digital Research Library

Agribusiness and Mexican Farm Worker Families in Washington State (1964-2013)

Madrigal, Tomas Alberto
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Chicana and Chicano studies
Degree Supervisor:
Aida Hurtado and Juan V. Palerm
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Cultural anthropology, Agricultural economics, and Labor relations
Sakuma Brothers Farm
Alianza de Organizaciones Nacional
Broetje Orchards
Familias Unidas por la Justicia
Farm Workers
Estatal y Municipal por la Justicia Social
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

Picking up on the Mexican experience in the Pacific Northwest at the end of the Bracero program which has been narrated by Erasmo Gamboa (2000) and more recently by Mario Jimenez Sifuentez (2016), Madrigal uses oral history interviews, ethnography, family history, archival and government data to narrate the experience of Mexican farmworkers in Washington State from 1964 to 2013. This dissertation picks up an old academic (marxian) conversation about problem for capitalist enterprises of the "limits of capitalist agriculture" and reinvigorates the conversation by including a historical narrative that centers workers and their contributions towards changing the agricultural industry in Washington via consistent refusal, movement, strikes, and boycotts as well as extending the struggle over the places that Mexicans settled and against deportation and racial profiling.

Madrigal uses this systematically collected data on the trends of two of the state's largest agricultural corporate enterprises, this dissertation documents that Broetje Orchards broke a United Farm Workers of Washington strike in the mid 1990s and the other, Sakuma Brothers Farm, was unable to break a strike campaign that began 2013 when Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a democratic idependent farmworker union was formed and began a campaign for a union contract.

This study demonstrates that when the geography of struggle is extended over the larger capitalist market circuit of the Pacific Rim and rather than focus on a temporal moment for Mexican workers, we can see that collectively the workers have been prevailing in the long run. This runs contrary to the dominant narrative that farm workers are docile or do not want unions that represent their interests collectively against even larger multi-national enterprises that source the products of their labor from their employers.

This dissertation strives to be a tool in the hands of the farmworkers who shared their life histories and experiences. In as much, it presents a map of the history and modes of production of their employers and organizes it in a manner that might be as useful for future struggles as Marcos F. Lopez UC Santa Cruz dissertation "Places in Production: Nature, Farm Work and Farm Worker Resistance in U.S. and Mexican Strawberry Growing Regions" (2011) on Driscoll's that narrated many of the same experiences that the farmworkers engaged in this dissertation and later provided the common ground that made relationships between Familias Unidas por la Justicia and the Allianza de Organizaciones Nacional, Estatal y Municipal por la Justicia Social a sister democrative independent farm worker union in Baja California even stronger. Even the reluctantly supportive Seth Holmes' second chapter in "Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States" (2013) which overlaps in documenting some of the same farmworkers that helped draft this study (FUJ member Carmen Juarez is featured on the cover of his book), helped form a campaign that helped defeat Sakuma Brothers Farm which is the subject of his and this study. It is for this reason that the growers and multi-national enterprises that source from them are named as it makes the matter of cross referencing in the future easier for union researchers.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (283 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Tomas Madrigal
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