The Frank Bardacke Watsonville Canneries Strike Collection consists of materials collected by Bardacke, one of the founders
of the Watsonville chapter of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) and a resident of that community since the early 1970s,
who was actively involved with the support committee for the striking cannery workers. It is largely comprised of newspaper
clippings, mainly from the Watsonville
Register-Pajaronian, leaflets, and newsletters. Materials date from 1984, the year before the strike, through 1989, although the vast
majority of the material is from the strike itself (September 1985 to March 1987).
Frank Bardacke, one of the founders of the Watsonville chapter of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), was born in San
Diego in 1941. He earned a Masters Degree from UC Berkeley, worked
for three years in the frozen food industry, and was teaching adult education at the time of the strike.Watsonville, a town of nearly 30,000 located in the heart of the agricultural Salinas Valley, is
home to numerous canneries that process the majority of frozen food products sold in the
United States (Unity 10/85, in Media Coverage series). In September 1985, nearly half of the
town's 4,000 cannery workers went out on strike to protest wage cutbacks. In February 1986,
R. Shaw Frozen Foods reached a settlement with their 900 employees that included a 17% pay
cut. It wasn't until a year later that workers at Watsonville Canning returned to work. The
bitter 18-month strike can serve as a case study of the remarkable challenges facing
agribusiness workers, whose livelihoods are affected as much by local politics as by the
international economy. The following is a summary of key events taken from an article that appeared in the
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian (4 March 1987) and other material from the Status Reports &
Chronology series folder.
1 carton (1.25 cubic feet)
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing
to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Collection is open for research.