Back in 1972 I was working at the potato farm in Monte Vista, Colorado. A woman was taken off the harvester and the police had taken her to jai, because she was from Mexico. I was placed in her position, on the harvester. I was scared because there wasn;t any safty belts to keep me from falling into the digger below my feet!
My job was to remove the weeds and rocks from the conveyor belt amd throw the newly dug potatoes into the bin. I was wering cotton gloves at the time and the blades of the conveyor belt caught the glove, pulling my right hand into the blades. I screamed with pain and pulled my bloody hand out of the glove. The harvestor stopped and the boss told me to wrap my hand in a towel and go back to work. I went to the local hospital instead, got my hand patched up, drove my car back to Salida, CO. and told my Father about what had happened. My Father took me back to Lyman Wright Blue Goose lable potato farm, and demanded workman’s comp to pay for the surgery on my hand. Then when the boss refused me the workman’s comp. my father took me to see Corky Gonzalez at La Raza in Denver, Colorado. After the meeting with Corky , Cesar Chavez was called in. by Corky! In
In the San Luis Valley the wages were based on the race, Mexicanos were paid $1.00 per hour, Chicanos were paid $ 4.25 per hour and poor whites were paided $15.00 per hour. After a few months
justice was granted in the San Luis Valley, the wages were the mimum wage for everyone.
Shirley M. Frias Saenz