Labor History Seminar: Cinday Hahamovitch, College of William and Mary

Friday, December 11, 2009

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Labor History Seminar

“ ‘For All Those Bending Years’: IRCA, the Dog War, and the Campaign to Turn International Temps into Immigrants
Cindy Hahamovitch, College of William and Mary
Commentators:  Nancy MacLean, Northwestern University, and Will Jones, University of Wisconsin—Madison

In the 1970s farmworker lawyers fought to transform every aspect of farmworkers’ lives. They successfully sued to gain access to labor camps, to get workers transported in buses rather than flatbed trucks, to get farmworkers paid what they were owed. They sued to expose the conditions under which Caribbean cane cutters worked and sued to win those same miserable jobs for domestic workers. “We don’t lose,” Legal Services attorney Greg Schell said matter-of-factly. Yet farmworker lawyers didn’t exactly win either. While they battled over who would get the worst jobs in the world, the nation’s fields were filling up with Mexican men who lacked the legal right to work in the U.S. Who did one sue about that?