A mass and march recognizing the 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1966 Starr County farm worker strike and march will begin with a mass at the San Fernando Cathedral at 10 am on Monday, Labor Day, September 5, 2016. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller will celebrate the mass that will recognize the huelguistas from Rio Grande City who started a strike on June 1, 1966. After the mass ends at 11 am, a march will assemble at beautiful, historic Main Plaza and then proceed on North Flores to West Houston Street, for a rally at the Kiosk at Milam Park to begin at 12 noon.
The strike was against 6 Starr County growers because they were being paid 40 cents an hour for harvesting cantaloupes. All the power of the state was used against these workers including the Texas Rangers, the local sheriff's deputies, the prosecutor and all of the established agriculture businesses. On Jul 4, the workers decided to begin a march from Rio Grande City that would publicize the events that were occurring in Starr County. In August 27, 1966, they came through San Antonio and Archbishop Lucey celebrated a mass for them at the San Fernando Cathedral where he unequivocally stated that he endorsed their strike to raise the wages to $1.25 an hour, although he thought it was a "small pittance "for the hard work of harvesting cantaloupes". They continued from San Antonio through New Braunfels where they were met by Governor Connally, Attorney General Carr and Speaker Barnes. They offered no help. The workers continued their march and upon arriving in Austin, were met with 10,000 supporters who finished the last part of the march with them to the State Capitol. The Texas Minimum Wage Law was passed in 1970. And in 1974, the US Supreme Court decision enjoined public law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers, from denying workers their rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.