Abstract

From the Great Depression to the Great Recession of the 1970s, American agricultural policy institutionalized growers' anti-union politics based on the unique characteristics of farming. California growers argued they needed access to a flexible and cheap labor supply during the “managed crisis” of the harvest. At the same time, they aggressively pursued business strategies that would regularize production and marketing. However, the commercialization of agriculture made them more vulnerable to boycotts by the United Farm Workers Union, which forced California growers to deal with unionism during the late 1960s. Growers temporarily embraced collective bargaining legislation as a way of derailing farm unionism and regaining control over their managerial and marketing prerogatives.

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