Nixon Eats Grapes

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In September of 1965, Filipino-American and Mexican-American grape harvesters working in California started a strike that lasted for five years, which became known as the Delano Grape Strike. The grape harvesters collaborated with the United Farm Workers union led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, The strike quickly faced opposition from the grape growers and law enforcement, and it was reported that the water supply was shut off to some of the workers dormitories as retaliation. Three years into the strike, some of the workers contemplated using violence against the grape growers, but Cesar Chavez stepped in and started a hunger strike; this stopped talks of violence and drew more attention to the workers’ plight.

Overall, the general public supported the farm workers' cause, and participated in a grape boycott called for by the United Farm Workers. In addition, dock workers in the union let grapes rot at port instead of loading them on transport. Despite public sentiment, then-President Nixon supported the grape growers. He told the Defense Department to order more grapes, and the military’s supply of grapes increased by six times. Due to the public’s support coupled with the steadfastness of the farm workers and the union, grape growers signed contracts with the United Farm Workers in 1970, ending the strike. These contracts ensured fair pay for the workers, set up contributions for a union health plan, and set regulations to protect the harvesters from harmful effects of pesticides. 

Because of President Nixon’s opposition of the strike, merchandise such as posters, bumper stickers, and buttons were made; “Nixon eats grapes” was a common tagline. The buttons were used to oppose Nixon’s re-election in 1972.


Delano Grape Strike Begins. (2019). Retrieved 26 April 2021, from…

Glass, A. (2018). Nixon reelected in landslide, Nov. 7, 1972. Retrieved 26 April 2021, from…

Nixon Eats Grapes-5190. Retrieved 26 April 2021, from

Unforgettable Change: 1960s: Chicano Movement. Retrieved 26 April 2021, from…

Catalog ID PO1146