Farah Boycott Dec 1973
Picket line in front of a Hechts department stores urging holiday shoppers to boycott Farah pants.

The Hechts in most of the photos is probably Laurel Shopping Center in MD in December 1973.

The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) began organizing Farah factories in El Paso, TX in the early 1970s. In May 1972, Farah fired six workers active in the union organizing drive and a strike by about 2,000 employees began in response.

The ACTWU called a boycott with the support of the AFL-CIO. Students and other organizations set up local committees across the country where picket lines urging a boycott of Farah pants were set up in front of stores that sold Farah. In the Washington, DC area, picket lines were set up at both Hechts and Woodward & Lothrop which were then the dominant retailers in the area.

The owners vowed never to settle with the union but Farah reached a settlement in Feb. 1974 resulting in significant gains in benefits for the predominantly Chicano workers. At the time, Farah was the 2nd largest employer in El Paso.

However, clothing factories across the U.S. began moving operations out of the country and by the mid 1980s there was only one Farah plant in El Paso with about 500 workers. Despite the initial succcess of the Farah campaign, today less than 5% of El Paso workers are unionized.

The ACTWU went through a series of mergers that ultimately formed UNITE-HERe. A recent split of UNITE-HERE leaves the Workers United union as the successor to the ACTWU.

The Hechts location at Laurel Shopping Center was most recently occupied by a Rack Room Shoes. The shopping center was briefly famous as the site of the 1972 attempted assasination of segregationist George Wallace.
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