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Peter G. Velasco; United Farm Workers Leader

Peter G. Velasco, 85, pioneering leader and fund-raiser of the United Farm Workers. Born in Asingan, the Philippines, Velasco came to Los Angeles in 1931 and worked for a decade in area restaurants. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II and became a U.S. citizen. For the next 20 years he worked on small farms in the Coachella Valley and in Delano. On Sept. 8, 1965, he was one of 1,500 Filipino American farm workers who struck Delano grape growers, touching off the five-year strike and boycott. Cesar Chavez’s independent union of Latino workers joined the strike eight days later, and the two groups combined to form the United Farm Workers. Velasco, who raised money and organized food caravans during the strike, later became a member of the union’s board and in 1980 was elected secretary-treasurer. On Friday in Bakersfield.


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