José Arredondo

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Arredondo worked on picking lettuce, pears and peaches as well as being a cook and gardener; he worked from 1949 to 1950 in Imperial Valley and from 1953 to 1961 in Yolo; Mr. Arredondo talks about working in agriculture on his father’s land; his father became ill when he was very young, forcing him to work the fields to help support his family; he discusses how he was married to his first wife for 5 months and had his first child; he talks about undergoing medical examinations and being stripped of his clothes and sprayed down as well as having blood test done to ensure he was healthy before being given a contract; he immigrated illegally to the north in 1940 and harvested on alfalfa; he became a bracero in 1949 and held contracts that lasted 18 months; Mr. Arredondo worked 12 hour shifts and never took a day off because he needed the money to support his child; on Sunday’s he would cut hair to get extra income and occasionally would gamble; in one occasion, he won $2000 gambling and was forced to leave due to threats by the opposing players; his second marriage lasted 20 years, of which his wife died of cancer, he had 6 children with his second wife; he later re-married to his third wife in order to have someone care for his children; at the age of 62, Mr. Arredondo joined the United Farmed Workers Union.