the jeep, but upon being told by Sanchez from the microphone that the strike was non-violent, they stopped. It is reliably reported that at least one youth employed by the Neighborhood Youth Corps was in the jeep, operating it; federal officials are investigating this. Imelda Pena, daughter of one of the strikers, held a job in the Sheriff’s Office, under the N.Y.C., handling letters and phone calls. She told the Observer that she was told she was not needed any more because she was helping Margil Sanchez, she was a spy, and she would be transferred to the school, there to “clean floors and windows.” The N.Y.C. began investigating this, too. Charles Johnsonof the 0E0 in Dallas was on the scene and was to report “direct to Washington.” He would not comment on the incident, but he said that if a Youth Corps program is not good, the only way to protect the overall program is to pull out the bad program. County Attorney Randall Nye said he asked the F.B.I. to look into reports of alleged threats of violence and intimidation. The investigation has been completed and a report forwarded to Washington. With a charge in the air that the county jeep was ordered into the crowd by county officials, the impression is strong here that the New Party, in control’ of the county courthouse, is hostile to the strikers. The Old Party, which controls Roma and nearby towns, supports the strikers. The mayor of Roma has endorsed $1.25 an hour for them. Nor are all the big growers militantly opposed. James Peterson of Sun-Tex Farms told Miss Sammons, “We know it’s coming. We know we’re going to have to pay more, but not this year. . . . Last year, we could only have shipped about one-third of our crop in bulk,” to save it from the consequences of the packers’ walk-out. “The rest would have been lost. But this year we just don’t have the volume which is why the strike doesn’t really matter.” If the cantaloupe crop is good next year, Peterson said, a strike could succeed easily. As Nelson stood in the’ post office reading his mail, \(which included, that mornsaid to Nelson of the heavy rain that morning, “Got the word, you made it rain so they can’t pick the cantaloupes.” Nelson laughed and said, “Well, I did. I was out there doing a rain dance.” Most of the strikers being Catholics, they were greatly heartened when Fathers Sherrill Smith and William Killian of San Antonio came and marched eight miles with them to Garciasville, where they ‘said Mass. The approving presence on the scene of Dolores Huenta, a vice-president of Chavez’ N.F.W.A., gives promise that the Starr County strikers can expect legal and financial aid, since the Delano strike attracted vast support. Rev. Jack Alford of Denver, representing the National Council of Churches, has spoken at one of the strike rallies. Father John McCarthy, director of social action for the Houston-Galveston Catholic diocese, spoke at another rally and is active in a Houston movement to send 4 The Texas Observer Edinburg Daily Review the strikers food, clothing, and money, as are a group of students at Rice. Cty. Cmsr. Albert Pena of San Antonio and Ray Shafer, the San Antonio Teamsters’ chief, spoke at yet another rally, backing the strikers. \(Shafer says they should be askE. Lucey of San Antonio is of course for the strikers, as evidenced by the presence here of Father Henry Casso, executive secretary of the Bishops’ Committee for the Spanish Speaking, at one of the rallies. Hank Brown said the Texas AFL-CIO has sent food and clothing to the strikers through the Bishops’ Committee. Other officials in the Texas union movement, not necessarily impressed by the conduct of the strike so far or even the fact that it happened, are planning to support it. “There it is,” said one of these: “All you can do is get on the white horse and charge.” Girding against all this, the Valley’s farmers are acting together. The weekly news bulletin of the Texas Citrus Growers and Shippers says not many workers struck, “new packers have been trained to replace the union packers in several of the packing plants while union packers have returned to their jobs in two plants,” and “the group has met this situation with a united front.” Piece-work paythat is, pay according to quantity of melons picked, for instance is not the practice in Starr County, but it is in other parts of the Valley. Roland G. O’Con, executive vice president of the Valley Industrial Council, Inc., which represents about 110 growers, said in a statement that a straight minimum wage for farm workers “takes away their incentive,” since “many of them” can make more than $1.25 an hour on piece work. Jim Rochester, who manages La Casita Farm, said many of his field hands were overpaid at 85 cents an hour. The AP quoted him: “They may deserve more as far as standard of living is concerned, but not for what they can do.” Since the strike, at least one seasonal worker at La Casita has been paid $1 an hour, instead of 85 cents as before. Growers argue that if they must pay $1.25 an hour, they’ll have to go to machinery and herbicides instead. GARCENO is a stop alongside .the highway eight miles west of Rio Grande City. To this and other such villages the strikers are now carrying their message. In a vacant lot in Garceno, the flatbed truck was parked one night last week, three naked light bulbs were strung up over a table placed in the truckbed, and the American flag was affixed to the corner of the truck. About 200 men, women, and children gathered a distance from the scene, in the shadows, but some moved into the circle of light as the evening advanced. Girls served sweetened red ice to the children. Nelson pledged allegiance to the flag in Englishperhaps because of the language, the mexicanos there did not follow along with him–and told of the strike in California. Farm workers are brave and intelligent, not stupid as the growers think, he said ; he called on them to strike. Lucio Galvan, who has a service station and washateria in Rio Grande City, contrasted with the calm, even placid Nelson. Passionately Galvan said farm workers are good and honest people who want to better themselves and to give their families better homes and schooling. “Some of you cannot give to your parents. Why? Because you do not make enough wages,” he said. As a businessman, Galvan told them, he is for the working people and has a right to fight for them, “because if you have the money, I’ll make it.” Prices, he said, are high, even for everyday food, but wages are very low. After Sanchez spoke, he tried to get some of the Garcenoans to speak up, but they would not. They applauded hard the points that moved them, and now and again they called out, “Viva la huelga!” Galvan asked them, though, “If you don’t speak for yourselves, who else will?” Domingo Arredondo was a field worker until last year, when he went into the federal migrant program. He is with the union in Starr County now. He spoke of the workers’ ability to go, three or so days without work, evidently trying to prepare them for a strike of that duration. “Don’t let anyone scare you if you sign a card and tell you you cannot work, because we have a right to defend ourselves,” he said. Galvan’s son, Arnulfo, a college student, asked the gathering, “If you are not willing to fight today for your rights, why must those boys in Vietnam fight and die? You must multiplythat is the only way to win. If you decrease in numbers, ‘whatwill happen to those left behind?” A woman from the crowd had the microphone handed to her and said, “All I want to say is continue to fight for the huelga!” A woman evangelical, from Roma, spoke at length, saying that they were fighting not for themselves, but for their children. Afterwards, at the Catfish Inn downtown in Rio Grande City, Sanchez said the real trouble is the determination of the Valley chamber of commerce and Farm Bureau
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