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<v Lee Clark>Good evening, I'm Lee Clark. Last week, Theriault manufacturing company closed its two San Antonio plants, laying off 900 employees. On November the 1st, the company closed two other plants in Victoria and Las Cruces, Texas, laying off six hundred more. The reason given was a nationwide boycott of Farah pants. It was organized by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, which has been trying to organize Farah workers since 1970. The strike started in 1972, and the fight has been one of the most bitter since Samuel Gompers first coined the phrase "trade unionism". Tonight, Tony Castro, Tom ?Carges? and Bill Porterfield have a film documentary tracing the whole story from its beginnings in 1970 to the strike in 1972 - to the closing of the San Antonio plant, which is the update. And we have two guests to discuss the situation afterwards. They are Phil Nicolaides of Nicolaides and Associates of Dallas, a PR firm which is representing the Farah manufacturing company. Mr. Frank Hererra of San Antonio, an attorney with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. If you have anything to add, please call us on feedback. The number is 263-KERA and incidentally, we will be 45 minutes tonight. Now to Farah versus the union.
<v Val Wertheimer> We have a precise measure for the effectiveness of the Farah boycott because Farah publishes quarterly figures, and it is probably the most effective boycott that has ever been carried on in the United States. Farah has had a continuing rising sales curve until the quarter beginning May 1, 1972. Ever since that date, which is also approximately the onset of the strike, it began May the 3rd, 1972. His sales have been going down at an ever increasing rate. <v Willie Farah>Well, in the first place it is not our choice. Our people decide whether they want a union or don't want a union. The destructive threat that is made that we would shut our plant down is just a part of the same ruthless, uh, use of untruth. We're gonna do what our people want to do and in their best interest, because always our people do well, do we do well.
<v Narrator>This is El Paso. So different from the rest of urban Texans, it seems foreign. And it almost is in its border ?so?. But El Paso is no provincial outpost. For years now, it's mountains and Mexican mood have attracted not only the tourists, but many adventurous industrialists as well. For here ?and the person of the P.I.? Was the largest pool of cheap labor in all of America. <v Narrator>The proximity of the mother country made it so and kept it so. The American Mexican had to work for low wages. He knew that if he didn't, someone else would in the wink of an eye, or at least as long as it took the boss to bust in a worker from across the border. In such a situation, it was inevitable that the frontier town would catch the eye of eastern industrialists. Why pay union wages in the north when all of Texas is an open shop? One of the first free enterprises to see the potential in El Paso was Mansour Farah, a Lebanese immigrant of modest means, but singular drive and dedication. Today, the youngest son, Willie Farah, is president and chief executive officer of the ?family concern?, which has grown into one of the world's largest clothing manufacturers. Farah and his chief competitors, Levi Strauss and Hagger, have become American institutions in this age of casual wear. The pride of the Farah company is its gateway headquarters plant in El Paso, which sprawls for half a mile along Interstate Highway 10. At peak production, some 9,500 workers cut and sew here, making the company easily El Paso's largest employer.
<v Narrator>But this isn't all of Farah. The company has plants in San Antonio, Victoria and Las Cruces, New Mexico, where, like El Paso, the labor pool is plentiful and mostly Mexican-American. For years, the Farah sewing machines hummed along to a cadence that was a capitalist dream. The company expanding and prospering without having to contend with a union shop. Personnel matters were tended to paternalistically within the corporate family as the Farah sons carried on in the old world tradition of their father. Union among the workers was never a threat. Most were women. And this was Mexican Texas, where organized labor was more alien than a wetback. But then in 1969, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America got a foot in the door of Farah's San Antonio plant. When the company fired five union organizers, a strike was called. <v Male Farah Worker 1>We want to be, uh, to have the right to organize. We had, uh, the card signed that we could have went to an election and they decided to fire five of the organizers in the plant and the company as well as Willie Farah knew that we had the majority of the people in that plant sign.
<v Willie Farah>Eighty six percent of my company's employees have continued to work every day during this attempt to disrupt our business by the professional organizers from New York. Farah has never discriminated against its employees. We are probably the largest employer of persons with Spanish surnames in this country. <v Narrator>And this set in motion the nationwide boycott of Farah products, an economic tug of war which has pitted Farah not only against Amalgamated and the American Federation of Labor, but against much of the country's radical and liberal establishments. The issue is just not the independence of a giant corporation's workforce. If that was all there was to it, the strikers might not have caught the attention of the rest of America. What elevated it was that the strikers are, for the most part, not only women, but Mexican-Americans, the two going minorities of the moment in Media America. The strikers are also a minority in another way. They number about 2,000. Less than a fourth of the company's workers. In El Paso alone, some 7,000 workers remain on the job.
<v Female Farah Striker>Well, the reason I walked out was because you should have seen inside. We don't have anything secured like, for instance, wages. I worked there for, uh, seven years and I was only getting ?190? and benefits in there like vacation. We didn't get any vacations, just uh two weeks on uh Christmas when uh, he closed the plants down. <v Antonio Sanchez>Employees of Farra have no social justice whatsoever. People can be fired at will without them having any recourse or any remedy at all. They say that they have no job security and they also have, uh, say that they have no dignity as workers because when someone can not say a word or do anything about any unjustice, obviously they have, a worker has no dignity. <v Female Farah Worker 1>I am very contented here at Farah. We have everything. And besides, I have two sons who I've put through college working at Farah. I don't think we need anything. Those who walked out went out on their own and they lost a lot. I'm happy and the company has done a lot for me.
<v Antonio Sanchez>And then so far as to the benefits that they have, the reason why they are not uh satisfied with those benefits is because they are totally inadequate. To give you an example, everywhere in the country the female employees have what is called a maternity insurance. Employees at Farah, female employees don't have this benefit. When anybody goes out on maternity, they are completely, completely on their own, and uh ?since then? the clothing industry the working force makes a total of approximately eighty five percent female employees, uh, the great majority lacks this benefit. <v Female Farah Worker 2>?Para los hijos de uno y para uno no para maternity.? Porque you've got 9 months to think about it. <v Willie Farah>Land of the finest Americans living in this country. And they are dedicated to doing a good job in an honest way. And uh, so we're proud of the nature and uh quality of the family of people who work here. And we're gonna do everything we can to make sure they have a free choice and that they uh that we do that that is our responsibility, and not what some outside uh, force might feel that we should do. We've stayed way ahead of it by exercising that responsibility in advance, not after somebody tried to make us do it.
<v Narrator>Every day of the week, thousands of persons cross the border from Juarez and head to their jobs. For a long time, Willie Farah sided with the city's Mexican-Americans who resented aliens filling American jobs. It took a court order to force him into hiring aliens. Today, Farah employs several hundred aliens who live in Juarez, and the company provides a bus that picks them up at the border each morning.
<v Narrator>Farah has been able to get most of his employees to hold the line against the union and stay on the job. He has not been able to stave off the effects of the consumer boycott, which has drawn supportive shoppers sympathetic to the union cause. Across the nation, Farah sales have dropped drastically and two plants have recently closed. In Dallas, for instance, the ALF-CIO has asked its members not to buy their clothes at the 16 local stores which carry them. Pickets even pass out pro-union pamphlets. <v Willie Farah>It's the first time an American worker's job has been uh, put in jeopardy because he made a free choice and they and the Amalgamated did not like the free choice of these people. And so now they're trying to use all of the outside, the good offices of good people on the outside to try to destroy something that they should not be engaged in. <v Narrator>Farm labor leader Cesar chavez has been among those outsiders, as Farah describes them, who have supported the strike.
<v Cesar Chavez>Yesterday, I went to several stores in ?Delano? where I live. And I went to the stores, I very seldom go there, clothing stores. And I looked at their clothing and I found some of those horrible Farah pants, at least right now. And I asked the owners to take the to remove the merchandise. And one of the owners told me that, "You know what you're talking about. I was at the Farah plant three weeks ago" this is the owner from the store telling me that he was very impressed with Farah, with the factory, with all of those things, and I said I said "Hold it. Stop right there. It's the same kind of struggle that you hear try to suppress when the farm workers who are making you rich with their money. The same kind of struggle that farmworkers that hear, it's the same kind of struggle that our brothers and sisters are involved in El Paso. And I give you five minutes to take that junk off the shelves or I'll go tell farm workers." He took them off right away.
<v Val Wertheimer>And it is probably the most effective boycott that has ever been carried on in the United States. Farah has had a continuing rising sales curve until the quarter beginning May 1, 1972. Ever since that date, which is also approximately the onset of the strike, it began May the 3rd, 1972, his sales have been going down and an ever-increasingrate. <v Willie Farah>They brag about having reduced the value of the stock. You have not one time heard them brag about any beneficial thing they've done. You've only heard them talk about those destructive things that they want to do and are doing. The whole market's down. Their activity while they glory in being responsible for it, uh that's yet to be proven. <v Don Holmberg>This is the first time that a national boycott has been used against a single product and we don't consider it a fair approach. The effort, of course, is to bring economic chaos to the Farah manufacturing industry and to force them into accepting the union.
<v Willie Farah>Again, that's an effort on the part of the union to destroy the jobs of the people who have rejected them. They can't get our people to subjugate themselves to them under the ordinary legal process, so they're trying to do it in an illegal way by intimidating the retailer, frightening him. But that program is already collapsing so uh, the rank and file retailer is not frightened by it anymore and he's beginning now to do what he legally knows he can do and what he should do. <v Narrator>The union, however, feels that the real subjugater is Farah, that like most employers in Mexican-American, he has grown fat by exploiting the Chicano poor. <v Narrator>Steinbeck called it Tortilla Flat. In El Paso, they call it El Segundo: the second war. Here, the city's poorest crowd together. 145 persons to an acre in slummy tenement houses. Many Farah workers call this home. The strikers who live here feel their hopes of bailing out of El Segundo rests with a union victory.
<v Female Farah Striker>If we win, that means that all the Chicano people are going to be better off. <v Narrator>The strikers have been encouraged by sympathetic Chicanos throughout the Southwest. In San Antonio, where the struggle had its birth in the shadow of the Alamo, the strikers' morale has been kept high with rallies, marches, and demonstrations. <v Cesar Chavez>Farm workers and the Farah workers and workers generally, uh the the poor workers, whether they be black or Chicanos or whites, are opening up their eyes and they're not going to take the they're not going to take the better working conditions and the better wages. And so they Farah strike and the and the strike that was here several years ago with the economy, furniture, the farm workers. It's all one part of the whole thing. It's part of the we're going through what the Irish and the Polish and the Italians went through in the in the East Coast 40, 50 years ago. <v Narrator>The Brown Power movement, particularly La Raza Unida, has been quick to step into the Farah dispute. Ramsey Muniz, the party's candidate for governor in 1972, continues to exhort the strikers on.
<v Ramsey Muniz>What we're seeing here, we're seeing throughout the state. And we uh we support wholeheartedly what you're doing here this morning because you are seeking a justice that has been done to you in that plant over there. What you are doing here, you are your legal rights. You are asking for something that every human should have. And that -. Do not be ashamed. Don't ever be ashamed when you ask for something that is ours and that is to have the same rights that everybody has in this state. They have treated us like animals for long enough. <v Narrator>Senator Edward Kennedy has joined the union cause. Last year at the Amalgamated National Convention, he delivered a speech supporting the strikers, portraying them as champions of justice. The Farah company, he said, had harassed, brutalized and exploited the Mexican-American worker. The central figure in the storm is, of course, Willie Farah himself. The strikers describe him as insensitive and dictatorial, while his supporters are just as fervent in defending him. Among the latter is El Paso Times editor, William Latham.
<v William Latham>Mr. Farah is a very, well I'd say almost a mechanical genius. Part of the equipment in the factory is designed by him and this is one reason that he objects to people going into the factory for the simple reason they steal his ideas. <v Antonio Sanchez>Most employers will recognize that their workers will have the right to exercise the laws that are provided to protect them. However, this company denies this right and violates every law that protects these people. <v Female Farah Worker 3>I'm here to tell you the truth. I have always compared him to uh, our ex-president Kennedy in his way of treating people, in his way of thinking about others and considering he takes us into consideration. He doesn't see us just like mere workers here. He sees us just like somebody like himself. <v Don Holmberg>Oh, well, he is a very closed-mindedperson and keeps to himself considerably. I believe his primary interest is his plant and his employees.
<v Interviewer>Why is he so adamant against the union, you think? <v Don Holmberg>Because he feels that his employers are receiving better wages and fairer treatment and have better working conditions than any other plant in the United States, perhaps the world. <v Interviewer>Some have described this as a paternalistic type of an employee/management relationship. Do you see that at all? <v Don Holmberg>Well I suspect there is some paternalistic attitude after all. Well, his family put that plant together, it's their plant. And I think he considers his employees essentially a part of the family. <v William Latham>He is a very fine citizen, a fine family man and a very pro-American and may interest you to know that in the factory, I could be wrong on this, but the last time I checked, only three items, three cameras made in Japan were not American. He even suggests to his officers and workers that they use American-made cars to park on the lot out there. <v Willie Farah>We're grateful for being able to live in the greatest country in the world. And we're going to set an example that we feel all American business should do. You know, the uh the unions, on the one hand, talk about the destructiveness of imported product.
<v Willie Farah>Yet they condone importing if the company has a contract and they're drawing dues from the worker. <v William Latham>Strikers look at him one way. And of course, his friends look at him another way. The strike has not affected the El Paso economy too much as such. Although we feel it, as you know, Bishop Metzger, Bishop, Catholic Bishop, this diocese has supported the strikers and a lot of our local Catholic people are supporting the strike, the walkout. But at the same time, a lot of the Catholic people in this community believe that Mr. Farah's side has not being fairly represented across the nation through the second- through the boycott and through advertising, which we've had in eastern papers. <v Sidney M. Metzger>I have naturally taken up the cause of the strikers because I I sincerely felt and I feel today that the demands of social justice are lacking there in the company, and uh that something should be done in order to meet these demands. And the only way that you can do that is to make a study of it, which I did and I found from my own information and the testimony of workers and so on, that indeed what I had heard there through the years was a fact.
<v William Latham>Mr. Farah is an individual who refuses to uh public well to PR his program. He has an outstanding factory. He has a good program, he has good product. And yet, I don't believe he has done a good job, good job of public relations and telling his story, particularly telling his story, the part of his side during the walkout. <v Willie Farah>Uh the American public is tired of PR effort. We're only concerned about the truth and in the way it benefits our people or hurts our people. <v Narrator>The company, however, has now changed its position in a massive advertising campaign has been launched. <v Commercial Actor - Tailor>Here she is, the finest you can buy. How do I know? I made them by hand. Took me twelve days. For you, a bargain at 80 bucks. Now here we got the opposition. Farah double knits at 20 bucks. Their secret? A great fit. And I hate to admit it. A lot of pant for the money. Would I wear em? You gotta be kidding. I know a great buy when I see one. Farah slacks $10 - $30.
<v Commercial Narrator>Next best thing to tailor made. <v Commercial Actor - Tailor>Maybe better! <v Narrator>Amalgamated is countering Farah's ad campaign with its own version. <v Male Farah Worker 2>How did it feel? It felt like you were caged in, like a animal cased in a zoo, and the main rules were coming down from the big man call himself Willy Farah to push em. Push em. <v Commercial Narrator 2>Willie Farah is the big man in El Paso. 14 percent of the working population works for him making men's pants. In his factories here and in other parts of Texas, almost all of his workers are Mexican-Americans. For generations, they've been trapped in the unremitting pattern of discrimination and exploitation. So typical of this area. <v Narrator>While the strike and the boycott had been drawing the publicity, the fair labor struggle continues on another plane in the courts.
<v Val Wertheimer>The wheels of justice grind very slowly. The orders of the National Labor Relations Board are not self-executing, self-enforcing. For instance, to give you an idea of the length of time involved, in October 1970 there was an election among the cutting department employees here in El Paso. Farah fought that election before the NLRB for almost two years, challenging votes and challenging the election. It wasn't until September 26, 1972, almost two years later, that the NLRB, National Labor Relations Board, made a decision that the union had won the election fair and square, and that under the laws of the United States, Farah is obligated to bargain with the union for the cutting department. Farah ignored that order. We thereupon filed charges with the board that Farah was ignoring the order and refusing to bargain. The board investigated carefully and in May of 1973 made a decision that Farah was indeed guilty of violating the law in refusing to bargain with the union for the cutting department and the election had been fair. Farah has ignored that order because it's not self-executing.
<v Narrator>Weekly strike checks that already have drained the union of more than two million dollars indicate, however, that Amalgamated officials believe their chances are good for someday unionizing Farah. Amalgamated obviously has the funds to commit to the strike, since it's the only union in the country which owns two banks with assets totaling more than 165 million dollars. But the strikers are having to pull in their bells. Strike benefits from the union are small. <v Val Wertheimer>Our union is dedicated to the principles of social justice and the rights of the strikers. We will stand together with the strikers till the rights of the strikers under the law are vindicated. <v Willie Farah>All I'm worried about and all I'm concerned with is fostering the truth and we know that that time will show the the printed word has not been printed out of authority and with uh, knowledge, is going to our position the position of our workers will be vindicated. And we have no fear of that.
<v Antonio Sanchez>Farah has openly come out and say that he'll never accept the union, that he can keep the union in court for the past uh for the next ten years. <v Sidney M. Metzger>There is a possibility of course that Willie would close the plants before he gave into the unions and knowing Willie Farah as I do, I suspect that's a course of action that he might take. <v Willie Farah>So we're more concerned with the real gut feeling our people have rather than all the material things you see. Anybody can build pretty buildings, but treating people from their heart in the right way is the is far more important than whether you just have clinics or not. So we have a great family of people and uh I think you saw that today. I hope you did.
<v Lee Clark>Let's go to our guests, and I'd like to start by reading a feedback call. It says, "of all the complaints against Mr. Farah, none were specific. Could the newsroom reporters make clear the charges? I think we should go to our guest, Mr. Herrera, and let him make clear the charges on behalf of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. What are the charges specifically? Mr. Herrera? <v Frank Hererra>There are numerous, but I think the most blatant ones are ones of discharging employees who openly support the union. I think this has been substantiated by the orders of the National Labor Relations Board. Just in May of this year, through the Fifth Circuit, Mr. Farah had to pay an excess of ten thousand dollars in back pay for 18 people who'd been illegally discharged in March of last year. In November of this year, the Fifth Circuit again ordered Mr. Farah to reimburse two dischargees an excess of six thousand dollars for having illegally discharged them. Those are the more blatant ones, the more subtle ones you have of the employer are the supervisors keeping surveillance of the employees, interrogating them, harassing them, assigning them to less agreeable jobs, giving them more arduous type jobs and these type of things. And the board has found specifically that this has been the case.
<v Lee Clark>Mr Nicolaides, how do you answer these charges? <v Phil Nicolaides>Well, I think that's the wrong basis to get off on. Frankly, I think we have to look at the big picture. There have been hundreds of charges. Currently, the NLRB is prosecuting your union for some 250 specific charges. Whenever there's a labor dispute, a walkout, shouts, yelling, tires slashed, accusations of saying, you know, one of the people it was on the film recently pleaded nolo contendere, to uh malicious mischief, destroying private property. But that that's not the big issue here. And I think we get off on those stories, you know, that the unleashed dogs, the father, the propaganda the union gets from New York, the more the dogs are tearing at flesh, yet not a single charge of anyone being bitten. What happened as watchdogs were brought to the plants at night, pictures were taken of the watchdogs being taken out in the morning as the workers came in. But even the union pictures show the dogs very quietly strolling along with their masters. I don't think that's the main point. The point is this to the workers at Farah have the right in this country under the National Labor Relations Act to vote freely to decide whether they want that union from New York to be their union. If they want it, they can have it. If 30 percent of the workers, as you well know, had signed up at any time, then there would have been a union, if you'll excuse the pun, willy nilly, there would have been a union. The NLRB rule covers it. They never succeeded in getting this. When they failed to succeed in getting this, they called a series of flash walkouts on the basis of a discharge of an employee, which incidentally, has the NLRB ruled that he was justly discharged. He himself signed an affidavit that he lied to the company about his absences. But the point is they called these flash walk outs, they got at maximum about two thousand one hundred people to walk out. And of course, that out of the labor force of nine thousand five hundred is not is not 30 percent. Now, there's no question in my mind that Willie Farah probably thinks he's he's treating his workers pretty well and that they don't need a union. I'm not trying to read his mind, but I think that's probably true. I think it's probably true that Bishop Metzger thinks a union is good for people. I don't care what they think or what do you think or what I think. I think the workers at the Farah company have the right to make that decision through elections. Now, who is holding up those elections today? The answer is very, very simple. Willie Farah on July 20th writing to Louis Baldovin, the NLRB, said he is he is open. He wants elections plant wide or company wide, specifically here in Victoria, Texas. What was the union's answer to that? The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America withdrew its claim to represent the workers in Victoria. They withdrew their claim. This is August 22nd, a week before the election was scheduled. And so the election was canceled. They don't want an election because they know they can't win it. They think they can intimidate the workers by a boycott, by driving the products off the shelf. You heard Cesar Chavez with the threat. Get these things off the shelves in five minutes or else. And this is what the union has been distributing. Just after the two plants in San Antonio were closed, this is what they had been distributing in El Paso. Had the San Antonio plant closed down permanently? If so, 850 workers, etc. Could you be next? Not necessarily. If you realize that you can have proper representation to have a union speak for you, it's just like having an attorney to represent you in a courtroom. That's a protection racket. What the union is saying is we put the people in San Antonio out of work and we'll do it to you and lets you sign up. You might want to read what the workers have answered.
<v Lee Clark>Mr. Hererra, what -. <v Frank Hererra>If I may be allowed to respond to that. As Mr Nicholaides has indicated, Mr. Farah wants an election and the question is not what I think or what he thinks in connection as to whether the employees do or do not want representation by the Amalgamated. And it is a crucial question. What do the employees want? Do they want representation and initially, the union did undertake an organizational campaign, and as indicated earlier in October of 1970, the cutting room department election was won by the Amalgamated Union after long courtroom battles. And now Mr. Farah Still refuses to abide by that valid order. In fact, the case is now pending before the United States Court of Appeals. Now he's now Mr. Farah is saying, let's have an election. Our response to that is he hasn't abided by or complied with the 1970 order issued by the National Labor Relations Board. We're now having to go to the United States Court of Appeals to ask him, or for the court to order him to abide by an order of the National Labor Relations Board. Following that, subsequently, when the strike began in May of 1972, petitions were filed by the Amalgamated seeking representation on behalf of certain employees. The discharges occurred. The interrogations, the surveillance, the transferring from one job to another transferring to more arduous time jobs, questioning employees, discharging them. In fact, just today I had one young lady walk into my office and said "I was on Easter Sunday in Corpus Christi. And the car broke down and I called in an advance, telling them that I was unable to be there on Monday. I get there Monday morning and I'm summarily discharged." This is the type of conduct that has been had, has and continues to occur in the Farah industry. So our question is, how can there really be a valid election in this type of atmosphere? Under the regulations and rules of the National Labor Relations Board holds that in order for there to be a free and uncoerced election, it must be under the most laboratory conditions. What do you mean by that? That simply means that employees must vote, uncoerced, either by the union or by the employer. And only in those conditions can employers truly reflect their wishes and our position is because of the unlawful discharges as found by the board, and because of the unlawful interrogation, surveillance, transferring, there could never be a free election. Mr. Farah, knowing that now desires to have an election.
<v Phil Nicolaides>Well, I'd like to comment on that. Number one, I'd like to comment on the fact that the union has done again what it did in Chicago. They have said they were going to send one speaker and have sent another substitute at the very last minute. As of this morning, Joe Burnell, who works for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, by the way, the archdiocese is being picketed because the bishops by by the workers thrown out of work in San Antonio, hundreds of them have been picketing the bishops, saying you're the ones who supported the boycott. You're the ones who destroyed my jobs- <v Frank Hererra>I might add that being substitute, I wouldn't say that's an offense. <v Phil Nicolaides>Well, no, I'm not saying. I think, therefore, you're bringing up all these legal things. Had we known that a lawyer was going to be here, we might have had one of the fair attorneys here. But I would like to come in on that cutting room election. You know, of course, that there were two elections. Both of them involved fewer than 300 workers. They were tiny little mini elections of little sections of the company. The union had given up after three years on getting the workers of any plant to want the union. So they zeroed in on one little group, say that cutting room. Now, there are 450 people in the cutting room, and yet there were only one hundred eighty three certified to vote in that election. Let me tell you what the NLRB lawyers said about Farah's illegality and breaking the law and so on. This is from the NLRB brief that you referred to. "For contrary to the union's contention," by the way, they denied the union to the damages they wanted and the payment for their court cost, as you well know, "the company here merely sought to obtain judicial review of the board's action in the only manner permitted by the NLRB act, by the NLRB. By engaging in a technical violation of Section 8. Furthermore, the board NLRB was of the opinion that six of the companies objections to the cutting room election presented at least factually debatable questions for it specifically ordered a hearing. The company exercised the only statutory avenue available for securing court review of the board's decision." And I might add, you know that there was an election subsequent to that which the in which the union, the ACWA went along with. Obviously, it couldn't have taken place among the mechanics and machine shop workers. You're familiar with that election, aren't you?
<v Frank Hererra>Quite familiar. <v Phil Nicolaides>And you know that the union was rejected almost three to one in that election. And the union was contesting the results of that election. So what we have is two tiny elections representing the, the people involved represent less than 2 percent of the federal workforce. And on this basis, the union says Farah refuses to bargain. Incidentally, has the NA, has the a, uh, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America yet agreed to bargain with the with the union that represents its own workers in Atlanta because the NLRB is prosecuting, when I last heard. <v Frank Hererra>I understand that a complaint is issued, but that's about all I know about it. <v Phil Nicolaides>Oh, you know, the date of that complaint. The union is refusing to bargain, according to the NLRB, with its own employees. So I don't think it comes into court with clean hands when it talks about- <v Frank Herera>And if I may respond in terms of this second election, of which I'm quite familiar with. I personally participated in that. <v Phil Nicolaides>You didn't vote, did you? <v Frank Hererra>No, I don't think they would- if I may add in, that the election was non, there were no results as a result of that election, primarily because there were 351 challenge ballots, in which the employer filed objections to the election as well as the union. And just two weeks ago, we litigated that. The-.
<v Phil Nicolaides>Okay wouldn't it, wouldn't it be better than look, listen. Let's not argue. They're two little elections, everyone's arguing about them. What's wrong with a big election? Isn't that what the workers want.? Why does the union block it? That's the whole point. Why does the union block elections while putting people out of work through a boycott? <v Frank Hererra>Even the board says that as long as there are unfair practices in existence, there cannot be an election. That's all- <v Phil Nicolaides>No the NLRB has stated that it could conduct elections. Elections were scheduled. They were canceled only by the union at the last minute, sending in a claim that they do not represent the workers. <v Lee Clark>Excuse me. Let's go to feedback. If you, do you have one more point? <v Frank Hererra>I've got one more point to make in connection with- it relates to litigation but nevertheless, as to the fact that it exists there in Farah manufacturing. I'm involved now in one particular lawsuit involving the savings plan that Mr. Farah has, it's to find the fact, pending now in the federal district court in El Paso. That case, Mr. Farah has a very unique little system. He says that tells the employees that we're gonna have a savings plan on a voluntary basis, you can deduct five, ten, fifteen dollars per week, whatever you desire. He'd he comingles that money with his general operating account, deposits that money in the El Paso National Bank. And guess who sits on the board of directors for the El Paso National Bank? Mr. William Farah. What ammounts that money that he collects from January to December in a calendar year amounts to a million dollars. In December, he returns out money to those employees interest free. And we're taking the position that he has violated the fiduciary relationship with the employees about telling them we're going to put your money into a savings account. And then comingles that money with his own and deposits it in the bank of which he sits on the board of directors.
<v Phil Nicolaides>I suggest those are unproved allegations. It's a case that you're, one of the numerous harassment cases that you're bringing against the company. The union put up this-. Let me let me read. The union, brought up the case that uh and got somebody who is not an American citizen. Farah had always refused to hire any but American citizens. There's some overtone in the film, I think that somehow or other Farah may hire Mexican migrant workers and so on to see the literature, wetbacks, all sorts of stuff. The Supreme Court of the United States, as you know, in November, ruled in favor of Willie Farah and he is now entitled to discriminate and, if you will, in favor of hiring only Americans. The film, by the way, said he has one bus that goes to the border to pick up these Mexicans that he was forced to hire. Willie Farah has 25 buses. He was a head ahead on ecology and he was ahead on carpools. He has a fleet of 25 buses. The benefits of the fair economy, which we haven't begun to discuss a lot, some of them in the film, are outstanding. They exceed that of the unions. Hortex, right in El Paso, is a union signed up with your union, right? ACWA. There is no pension plan, no profit-sharing plan.
<v Lee Clark>Excuse me. We need to get to our feedback. This caller says you made a mistake. You said last Cruces, Texas, it is Las Cruces, New Mexico. Indeed, you're right. I'm sorry, KERA- <v Phil Nicolaides>We didn't say that. <v Lee Clark>I said that, no I said it in the into. My mistake. KERA has not been fair in the presentation of Farah's side. I work for Farah and Channel Thirteen did an excellent job of presenting both sides of the issue. This is a wonderful program tonight, and I think Willie Farah, a wonderful is wonderful in his attitude toward his employees. The editor of El Paso Times supports him. This caller says, that's right. The union will drive Farah out of business, thereby causing all the workers to be unemployed. Mr. Farah said that the workers had a free election or the strike. What kind of choice is it when the people have no other alternative for employment? This is no choice. Is it not true that they have conducted elections and the union has been has won in certain sections of the plant? Yet you say the union is not won. We've gone over this extensively tonight. The union did win in a few areas of the plant. There has been no plant-wide election called. Do we agree on that? <v Phil Nicolaides>Yes. I think the main point is that-. <v Lee Clark>We are running out of time. I'm sorry, Mr. Nicholaides.
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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"The first segment of this program, a 30-minute film, documents the war between the Farah Pants company and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. It's a battle between labor and management that's assumed the rhetoric and emotion of a civil rights struggle as well. Farah is a complex figure, and makes the story much more than a simple confrontation of good versus evil. The last fifteen minutes of the broadcast are devoted to two guests, one from each side, and feedback calls from viewers."--1973 Peabody Awards entry form. The program features Willie Farah, President and CEO of Farah; Antonio Sanchez, El Paso Representative of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America; Cesar Chavez, President of the United Farm Workers; Val Wertheimer, VP Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America; Don Holmberg, Executive Director of El Paso Chamber of Commerce; Ramsey Muniz, La Raza Unida Party member; William Latham, Editor of The El Paso Times; Sidney M. Metzger, Bishop of El Paso Diocese; Frank Hererra, Attorney ACWA San Antonio; Phil Nicolaides of Nicolaides and Associates Dallas.
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Producing Organization: KERA
Speaker: Chavez, Cesar, 1927-1993
Speaker: Sanchez, Antonio
Speaker: Wertheimer, Val
Speaker: Holmberg, Don
Speaker: Farah, Willie
Speaker: Metzger, Sidney M.
Speaker: Latham, William
Speaker: Hererra, Frank
Speaker: Muniz, Ramsey
Speaker: Nicolaides, Phil
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-991ad3aa431 (Filename)
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Chicago: “Farah!,” 1973, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Farah!.” 1973. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Farah!. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from