Florida farm worker leader James Strowbridge Sr. is being remembered for helping enforce and re-negotiate the United Farm Workers’ union contract that protected and improved the lives of 250 of the 800 citrus workers at Coca Cola Co. It was the largest area of groves, located in Ft. Pierce, at the huge Florida citrus operation. The work force was roughly divided between African American and Latino laborers. James passed away at Ft. Pierce on January 12 at age 73.
He was also elected by his co-workers to represent them at the union’s 1982 constitutional convention in Fresno, Calif. and picketed alongside other citrus workers on strike for better pay. Years after Coca Cola abandoned its citrus groves, James volunteered to work hard on President Obama’s re-election campaign with the UFW in Florida, proving vital to his 2012 victory in that state. With his son, Nathan, James established a long-haul trucking company in 2007.
Former UFW staff representative Kenny Snodgrass attended James Strowbridge’s funeral services at the House of God Miracle Temple in Ft. Pierce on January 17. He leaves behind his wife, Rosa, 12 children, 32 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.