Operation Boycott

Operation Boycott

A pick-up truck with a sign that reads, “Caution. Scab Load Ahead” parked behind a truck. Los Angeles, October 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

The downtown Los Angeles market at 7 and Central Avenue was an important terminal where produce was unloaded and then distributed to retail stores, primarily big chains. That afternoon Gene Boutilier, the person in charge of the boycott office in Delano, told Doug Rippey and Emmon Clarke to follow a truck loaded with strikebreaker-picked grapes that was on his way to the market in Los Angeles. 

Doug Rippey (center) and Eli Risco (right with glasses) are among the picketers talking during a nighttime picket in front of the central market in Los Angeles, October 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

“Stick to this truck like it were a mad dog— Boutilier told Rippey—Don’t give him a chance. Make it known that he is carrying scab grapes.” Rippey, Clarke, Bill O’Connell, and María Fernández hopped on Doug Rippey’s pick-up and tried to catch up with the truck, which was ahead of them on Highway 99. They put a sign on the back of their pick-up with black letters saying: “Caution. Scab load ahead.”

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Eli Risco, Susan Villalobos, Mike Wittenberg, and Carrol Weiner were amongst the 25 people already picketing and waiting for the truck to arrive. The truck was able to arrive at the market unnoticed, passing through an alternate entrance that the strikers didn’t know about, but the driver was unable to unload because the workers who were supposed to help him sympathized with the strikers and refused to assist him. An article in El Malcriado (November 4, 1966, No. 48) tells the complete story.

Carrol Weiner and Susie Villalobos during a nighttime picket walk in front of a truck that had just arrived at a market in Los Angeles, October 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

El Malcriado Issue 48, November 4, 1966

El Malcriado Issue 48, November 4, 1966

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