Philip Vera Cruz Papers

Accession Number: 
LP001423
Extent: 
8 linear feet (8 SB)
Date: 
1966-1979, bulk 1969-1975

Philip Vera Cruz (Dec 25, 1904 – June 12, 1994) was born in Saoag, Ilocos Sur,
Philippines. He worked on farms in the Philippines before traveling to the United States
in 1926. Vera Cruz worked several odd jobs around the Midwest, but was not active in
any union before moving to California in 1943 and becoming a farm worker. He joined
the Agricultural Worker Organizing Committee (AWOC) and soon became a leader in
farm workers rights. In 1965 he was an active force in the AWOC decision to strike
against grape growers in Delano, CA. The strike and boycott soon won the support of
Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers of America, and led to the eventual
merging of the two groups to form the United Farm Workers. Vera Cruz was elected a
vice president of the union, a position he held until he left the union in protest of Chavez
in 1977, though he continued to be active in his retirement. Cruz also formed the Farm
Workers Credit Union and created Agbayani Village, a retirement community for older
farm workers. Throughout his career Vera Cruz worked for migrant and farm worker
rights, and was very active in the Asian American, especially Filipino, rights movement
and community. In 1987 he received the Ninoy M Aquino Award in the Philippines, and
in 1992 he was honored by the AFL-CIO’s Asian Pacific American Labor Committee.

The papers of Philip Vera Cruz focus on his active years as a California labor leader. It
includes his correspondence, writings and notes, as well as his activity in the UFW and
other organizations and his work in boycotts. Cruz’s research, negotiations, and
collective bargaining work are also included as well as a number of ALRB cases and
resources he collected for farm workers and Filipinos.

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