EVENT | Feb. 21 — unCOMMON Salon: Unionizing the Impossible

Uncommon Salon Series text over black and white image of a crowd of men wearing hat.UNIONIZING THE IMPOSSIBLE:
Ernesto Galarza and La Alianza de Braceros de México en los Estados Unidos, 1942-1964

Presented by Mireya Loza
Assistant Professor of Food Studies in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU

Thursday, February 21, 6:00 PM-7:00 PM
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, Room 745

Open to the Public | Light refreshments will be served

Soon after the first Mexican guest workers started arriving to the US through the Bracero Program, they challenged policy restrictions that prohibited them from organizing unions. As one of the first organizations created to represent these men, “La Alianza de Braceros,” sought to improve the conditions of braceros in both the US and Mexico.

This talk explores Alianza’s transnational strategies and the organization’s relationship with the prominent labor activist, Ernesto Galarza. Galarza worked with Alianza to incorporate guest workers into his American unionizing efforts. However, after he grew frustrated with the Mexican government’s repressive treatment of Alianza, he changed his tactics from unionizing braceros to working to end the Bracero Program itself. The subsequent demise of Alianza solidified the growing divide between Mexican and American labor in US agricultural fields.

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Mireya Loza is an Assistant Professor of Food Studies in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. Her areas of research include Latinx History, Social Movements, Labor History and Food Studies. Her book, Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual and Political Freedom (UNC Press), examines the Bracero Program and how guest workers negotiated the intricacies of indigeneity, intimacy, and transnational organizing. 

Learn more about our unCOMMON Salon Series