Filipinx American History: A Celebration of Community, Activism, and Persistence

Larry Itliong: The Heart of the Farm Labor Struggle

Larry Dulay Itliong was born on October 25, 1913 in San Nicholas, Philippines. When he first arrived in the United States at the age of 14, Itliong was immediately met with harsh working conditions that prompted him to begin his career in labor organizing. His early work includes organizing the Alaska Cannery Workers Union and playing a major role in the 1948 Asparagus Strike. Itliong continued his career in labor organizing as he also played a significant role in establishing and mobilizing the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). AWOC was a labor committee that consisted primarily of Filipino/a/x American laborers that walked off the grape fields in Delano, California sparking what would later be known as the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. 

Itliong, alongside Cesar Chavez, co-founded the United Farm Workers union, a union that is still in existence today. While internal tensions ultimately led Itiliong to leave the union he established, he continued advocating for the creation of Agbayani Village, a retirement home dedicated to the elderly manong farm laborers who had been part of the farm labor movement since the 1930s. Itliong’s wish for the creation of Agbayani Village came into fruition in 1974 with the help of community members and student activists across the state of California. Itliong is often remembered as one of the most pivotal figures of the Filipina/o/x American labor movement through his dedication and commitment to Filipino/a/x workers in the farm labor industry.


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