Yee Honors Late UFW Co-Founder and Filipino Farm Labor Organizer

March 31, 2006

Larry Itliong's Family Joins Yee to Remember Partner of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta

SACRAMENTO - Today Californians celebrate Cesar Chavez Day in recognition of the work and spirit of the late farm labor union organizer and civil rights leader. Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/Daly City) is reminding Californians that we must also honor Larry Itliong, who alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, founded the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).

"It is so important that all Californians remember the legacy of Cesar Chavez, but it is equally important that we remember Larry Itliong, whose passion and devotion improved the lives of thousands of Filipino farm workers," said Yee. "We owe a great debt of gratitude to Itliong for his work to increase the rights and conditions of all American workers."

Along side members of the local Filipino community, Yee presented Itliong's daughter, Sandra Cindy Sanchez, with an official Assembly Resolution honoring her father's contributions to California.

Larry Dulay Itliong was born October 25, 1913, in the Philippines. Not having finished grammar school, the self-educated Itliong came to the western United States in 1929. He worked and was involved in union causes in both California and Alaska.

In 1956, he founded the Filipino Farm Labor Union in California, ten years before the famous Filipino Delano grape strike which triggered Chavez and Huerta to join with the Filipino farm labor pioneers. With the formation in 1967 of United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC), Itliong became Assistant Director to Chavez in the union that would eventually become the UFW. In January of 1970, he was appointed as National Boycott Coordinator of the UFWOC. He went on to devote the rest of his life to improving the lives of retired Filipino farm workers and to a wide variety of community and civic projects. He died on February 8, 1977.

"Itliong is an unsung hero to all workers and to all communities," said Yee. "It is unfortunate that someone who was such a great communicator, and in fact spoke nine Philippine dialects, is often overlooked when remembering the labor movement. Itliong deserves recognition for his work."