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Gaitán, Enrique | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Gaitán, Enrique
Variant Name: Henry

Historical Note:

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Mexican Worker Program was established in the early 1960s by representatives within ILWU, Local 13. Committee members included Henry Gaitán, Tony Cedillo, Tom Motta, and Earl Cordova. ILWU, Local 13 extended invitations to various Mexican longshore unions, inviting their members to work temporarily on the Long Beach/Wilmington docks with the intention of sharing different cargo handling and mechanized methods used by U.S. longshoremen. More importantly, ILWU members hoped to create stronger union relations on the Pacific coast, both north and south of the border.

The Mexican guest workers that came to Los Angeles were able to observe and participate in hands-on training to learn the various work methods used by one of the largest mechanized ports in the 1960s. The records found in the Gaitán papers exhibit the professionalism, friendships, and solidarity built between union members from both sides of the U.S. – Mexico border during this period.

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