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"In the five years that Wisconsin migrants marched and picketed, they never won a union contract. "
Obreros Unidos (United Workers) in Wisconsin
presented by Jesus Salas
In 1969, statewide grape boycotts reduced grape consumption in Wisconsin by 41%. Migrant workers in Wisconsin were part of a nationwide movement to gain union recognition for migrant labor, as well as legally establish a ‘living wage’ and improve work conditions. Jesus Salas is a third generation migrant farmworker. After high school in 1961 he returned to migrant labor camps to help organize. Throughout his college years, he spent summers helping to establish migrant child education programs and advocating for improvement of migrant working and living conditions on Wisconsin farms. By the mid 1960s, as the national United Farmworkers movement gained traction, Jesus was an important leader and organizer in Wisconsin. In this talk, Jesus will tell stories from his own experiences as a worker and leader of migrant laborers in Wisconsin.
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Jesus Salas is the descendent of a Mexican American family who first came to Wisconsin during the 1940s. He worked throughout his early school years as a migrant farmworker. Salas led protests, marches, and organizing efforts to secure rights and improve conditions for himself, his family, and the migrant community during the 1960s and 1970s. Salas has an undergraduate degree from the UW-Milwaukee, and an advanced degree from the UW-Madison. He has worked as teacher and scholar at MATC, UW-Madison, and UW-Milwaukee. Salas served as a member of the UW-System Board of Regents from 2003-07.
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