Filipino Cannery Workers’ and Farm Laborers’ Union

Filipino cannery workers waiting to leave for Alaska. Washington State Archives. Bicentennial Filipino Oral History Project​. 1948.


People began coming from the Philippine Islands to the Puget Sound area at the turn of the 20th century. Many found work in fish canneries and on farms. In 1933 these workers took a stand to improve their pay and working conditions by forming the Cannery Workers’ and Farm Laborers’ Union Local 18257.

Start with secondary sources 

Use secondary sources to gain basic knowledge of your topic, its significance, and historical context.

Ask a Librarian online at Washington State Library to get expert help in locating useful secondary sources. 


Then use primary sources

Use primary sources to deepen your understanding of the topic, and assemble evidence to support your own analysis and interpretation.

Ask an Archivist online at Washington State Archives to get expert help in locating useful primary sources.


Some key historical research questions:

  • Why was this union an important organization in Filipino American history?
  • What tactics did the union use to advocate for workers?
  • Were these tactics successful?
  • What proportion of fish cannery and farm workers does the union represent today?
  • How does the Cannery Workers’ and Farm Laborers’ Union Local 18257 fit into the historical development of unions in the fishing and farming industries?
  • Who were Virgil S. Duyungan, Ponce Torres, Casamiro Abella, Antonio Rodrigo, L.V. Molina, Leo Roduta, C.B. Mislang, Leon Bellosillo, Aurelio Simon, Chris Mensalvas, Gene Viernes, Silme Domingo, and Tony Baruso?
  • What roles did they play in the union’s development and activities?
  • How can one or more of these individuals be used as topics to analyze and interpret the broader history of Filipino American community and unionism?
  • Consider other possibilities for historical questions as you analyze and interpret this topic.


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