Salt of the Earth (1954) - full transcript

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
How shall I begin my story

that has no beginning?

In these brooks,
my great grandfather raised cattle

before the English ever came.

Our roots
go deep in this place,

deeper than the pain,

deeper than the mine shafts.

This is my village.

When I was a child,
it was called San Marcos.

The Anglos changed
the name to Zinc Town.

Zinc Town, New Mexico,


This is our home.

The house is not ours

but the flowers,
the flowers are ours.

My name is Esperanza,
Esperanza Quintero.

I am a miner's wife.

18 years my husband
has given to that mine,

living half his life with
dynamite and darkness.

The land where
the mine stands

that was owned by my
husband's own grandfather.

Now it belongs
to the company.

Who can say
when it began?

My story.

I do not know.

But this day I remember
is the beginning of an end.

It was my Saint's Day.

I was 35 years old,

a day of celebration.

And I was 7 months gone

with my 3rd child.

And on that day, I remember

I had a wish.

It felt so sinful.

It felt so evil

that I prayed to the Virgin

to forgive me for it.

I wished

I wished that my child
would never be born

No, not into this world.

Are you sick, mama?

No, Estilita.

Are you sad?

Are we going to church
for a confession?

Fighting again,

with Anglo kids.

Oh, they think they're tough.

But you promised me you wouldn't.

Papa says if an Anglo makes
funny, to let him have it.

Never mind what your papa...
Hold still!

- Does it hurt?
- No.

- How come the cake?
- Never mind the cake.

Go get your father
when he comes off shift.

Tell him to come
straight home.

He had a little trouble,
defective fuse.

You're all in one piece,
so what's the beef?

You know, this new rule of yours
that we work alone.

We're taking it up with the Super.

Super's busy with your
Negotiating Committee.

- So much the better.
- Now wait a minute.

Super's the one
who made the rule.

He ain't going to
give you no help.

He will if he wants
us to go on blasting!

Read your contract,

or somebody to read it for you.

It don't say nothing about no helper.

Listen Mr Burton,
you're blunting that mine.

The blood of my friends,
all because they had to work alone.

That's how you get flooded
with all the rocks,

when there's nobody
to help check the fuse.

And nobody to warn the
other men to stay clear.

Warning's the shift foreman's job.

Foreman wants to get the ore out.

Miner wants to get his
brothers out, in one piece.

You work alone, savvy?

You can't handle the job,
I'll find someone who can.

Who? A scab?

An American.

- Mama.
- Shhh!

Not a word about the cake,
you hear?

Papa, is there going to be a strike?

Ramon, I don't like to bother you, but

the store lady said that

if we don't make another
payment on the radio this month,

they'll come and take it away.

We're only one payment behind.

I argued with her.

It isn't right.

It isn't right, you say.

Was it right that we
bought this instrument?

But you had to have it, didn't you?

It was nice to listen to.

I listen to it every night

when you are out
at the beer parlour.

"No money down.
Easy term payment. "

I tell you something:

This instalment plan.
It's a curse on the working man.

- Where are you going?
- Got to talk to the brothers.

This water's cold again.

- I'm sorry, the fire's gone out.
- Forget it.

Forget it?

I chop wood for the stove 5 times a day,

every time I remember.

I remember that they cause a crack.

The Anglo miners have
hot water in pipes

and bathrooms inside.

Do you think I like
living this way?

What do you want?

But if your union...

if you're asking for better conditions,

why can't you ask for
decent plumbing, too?

We did, got lost in the shuffle.

- What?
- We can't get everything at once.

Right now we have
more important demands.

What's most important
than sanitation?

Safety of the men;
that's more important.

Five accidents this week,

all because of speedup.

You're a woman. You don't know
what it's like up there.

First we got to get
equality on the job.

Then we'll work on
these other things.

- Leave it to the men.
- I see.

The men ...

your strike may be
for your demands,

but what wife wants,
that comes later, always later.

Now don't you start talking
against the union again.

What has it got me, your union?

Esperanza, have you
forgotten what it was like

before the union came?

when Estela was a baby and
we couldn't even afford
a doctor when she was sick?

It was for our families
we met in graveyard

to build that union.

Alright. Have your strike.

I'll have my baby.

But no hospital will take me
because I'm a striker's wife.

So they'll cut off our credit
and the kids will go hungry.

We'll get behind on
the payments again

and they'll come and
take away the radio.

Is that all you care about?
That radio?

Can't you think of
anything except yourself?

If I think of myself,

it's because you
never think of me.


- Never.
- Stop it.

The children are watching.
Stop it!

It's a problem that has
to be taken care of.

The company will always

They know it's not safe
for miners to work alone.

But they don't work
alone in other mines.

Anglos always work in pairs.

Oh why should I risk my life?

Because I'm a Mexican?

- That's in the demands.
- We're negotiating.

3 months of negotiations.

Nothing happened.

Even with brother Barnes here,
from the International.

What have we got?

No raise, no seniority,
no safety codes, nothing!

Take a drink. Calm down.

I say we got to take action, now.

Do the rest of the men
feel the way you do?

He talks for all of us.

Do you ever stop to think

maybe they WANT us to strike?

Not with a war boom on.

Then why is the
company hanging tough?

They signed contracts
with the other locals.

Why not this one?

Because most of us here
are Mexicans Americans.

Because we want
equality with Anglo miners.

The same pay,
same conditions.


And equality's the one thing
the bosses can't afford.

The biggest club they
have over the Anglo locals is:

"Well, at least you get
more than the Mexicans ".

OK. So discrimination
hurts the Anglo, too.

but it hurts me more.

And I've had enough of it.

But you don't pull a strike
when the bosses want it,

so they can smash your union.

You wait till you're
ready so you can win.

Do the bosses wait?

No sanitation,
so my kids get sick.

Does the company doctor wait?

Twenty bucks.

So I miss one payment
on the radio I bought for my wife.

The company store wait?
"Pay or we take it away."

Why is the boss' store in such a hurry?

Trying to scare us,
that's why.

To make us afraid to move.

To hang on to
what we got and like it.

Well I don't like it,
and I'm not scared.

And I'm fed up, to here.

Hey, Ramon, see who's looking for you.

What are you doing here?

- Something wrong with mama?
- I thought maybe you forgot.

Forgot what?

It's mama's Saints Day.

What a kid!
He can't wait.

That's my wife's Saints Day.

I was going to ask you brothers,

- how about a Mañanita, huh?
- What time?

For Mañanita, the later the better.

Why are they singing?

They're singing for me.

Can we light the candles?

Now we can light the candles.

Happy Birthday!

I will not need to weep again.

Why should I weep for joy?

I'm a fool.

No, you aren't.

Was it expensive, the beer?

Antonio paid for it.

Forgive me for saying
you never thought of me.

I did forget.

Luis told me.

All the next week,
I kept thinking about my Mañanita.

I had never had
so nice a party.

It was like a sun
burning through my mind.

One, two three.

A day dream.

to lighten the long day's work.

We all forgot our
problems at the Mañanita,

even Ramón.

I couldn't dance that night,

not in my condition.

but I wasn't really jealous
when he danced with the others,

because it was good,
just to see him smile again.

And then one morning,
I was hanging out my wash.

and while were talking,
the ladies came.

They were a kind of delegation.

It was about
the sanitation, they said.

The Anglo miners had bathrooms

and hot running water.

Why shouldn't we?

I know, I spoke to Ramon about it,

only a week ago.

He said they dropped it
from the union demands.

We've got to
make them understand,

make the men
face up to it.

Show her the sign.

We'll make a lot of signs like this.

Then we'll get all the wives
together and go right up to the mine.

- To the mines?
- Sure!

With our negotiating, and the
company offers will go up,

then picket the place.

Then both sides will see
we mean business.

- A picket line of ladies?
- Sure, why not?

- You can count me in!
- Ruth!

Listen, we ought to be
in a wood choppers' union.

Chop wood for breakfast,
chop wood - wash his clothes,

chop wood - heat the iron,
chop wood - scrub floors,

chop wood - cook his dinner,

and do you know what
he will say when he comes home?

"What have you been doing all day?
Reading funny papers?

Come on, Esperanza.
How about it? We got to.

No, no. I can't.

If Ramon ever found me
in a picket line,

He'd what? Beat you?

No, no.


It's Kalinski.

Here we go.

Let me see. Let me see!

- Let me see him!
- Now Mrs Kalinski, he's all right.

He'll be all right. You stay here.

How did this happen?

He wandered into a drift
when that fellow was blasting.

I told you it would happen.

Its bound to happen
when a man works alone.

- Why didn't you give the men
a warning signal?

Your foreman says
that's the foreman's job.

I checked the pit
just before he blasted,

it was all clear.

The man must have
been asleep, or something.

You weren't even there.
You were back at the station.

Kalinski old me.

You're a liar, Pancho.

- A no good, dirty...
- Shut it.

Get a hold on yourself.

A man's been hurt.

I'm as sorry about it
as you are, savvy?

Accidents are costly to everyone,

To the company, most of all.

Now I see no reason to treat
the occasion like a paid holiday

Suppose you all
get back to work.

Come on fellows.
The excitement's over. Let's get to it.

[men speaking in Spanish]

What are they saying?

No savvy.

Now Barnes, what about it?

Tell the men to
get back to work.

They don't work for me.
I work for them.


It's up to you, brothers.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.....

"We want sanitation.
Not discrimination. "

That night, the men
held a union meeting

just to make the walkout official.

Didn't take them long.

They voted to strike 93 to 5.

And Teresa said, now was
the time for us to go in.

I didn't want to.

I have never been
to a union meeting.

But the others said:
"One go, all go."

The meeting was nearly
over when we came in.

Charlie Vidal was
making a speech.

He said there was only
one issue in this plight -


But the mine owners

would stop at nothing.

to keep them
from getting equality.

He said the bosses would
try to split the Anglo workers

and the Mexican-American workers,

and offer work to one man

if he would sell out his brother.

Yes. You ladies
have an announcement?

We don't have an announcement,

- only the ladies wanted me to...
- Louder!

Consuela. Will you speak
from over here?

The ladies have been
talking about sanitation.

And we were thinking
if the issue is equality,

like you say it is,

then maybe we ought to have equality

in planning too.

I mean, maybe we could
make it a strike event.

Some of the ladies thought

it might be a good idea
to have a ladies auxiliary.

Well, we'd like to
help out if we can.

I think I can speak
for all the brothers

in saying we appreciate

the ladies offering to help.

But, it's getting late

and I suggest that we table it.

The chair will entertain
a motion to adjourn.

- I so move.
- Second.

- All those in favour?
- Aye.

Opposed? So ordered!

It's just a question of when.

Why didn't you support her?
You're the worst of the lot.

But Teresa, you can't push
these things too fast.

You were pushing, all right,

pushing us right
back in our place

Why didn't you check this thing
with me? It's embarrassing!

At least you didn't make
a fool of yourself, like Consuelo.

It's not a bad idea

to make sanitation
one of our demands.

- But honey.
- Oh why don't you just put a sign outside?

"No dogs, no women allowed."

And so it began,

much like any other strike.

There would be no settlement,
the company said,

till the men returned
to their jobs.

But their back-to-work
movement didn't work.

And so the company recruited

a few strike-breakers
from out of town.

But they usually lost their nerve

when they saw the
size of the picket line.

The sheriff's men
were always there.

They stood around,
showing off their weapons.

But the men only marched.

Day after day,
week after week.

At first it was
an unwritten rule

that women stay at home.

The Union gave us rations,

and we had to figure out

how to feed our
families on them.

But then one morning,
Mrs Salazar went to the picket line

Her husband had
been killed in a strike

many years before

and she wanted to be there.

Nobody remembers
just how it happened

but one day,

Mrs Salazar started
marching with them,

and she kept on
marching with them.

After a while,

some of the other women

began to bring
coffee for their husbands

and maybe a couple of tacos,

because a man gets tired

and hungry on picket duty.

It was about that time
the Union decided

maybe they'd better set up

he Ladies' Auxiliary,
after all.

I didn't come to
the lines at first.

My time was near.

And besides,
Ramón didn't approve.

But Ramón is a man
who loves good coffee

and he swore the other ladies

made it taste
like zinc sludge.

So one day, I made the coffee.



Prieto, Sebastián Prieto?

Haven't seen him
for three days now.

Hey, Ramón, listen to this.

Chief foreman come
to me last night

said he'd make a
shift foreman out of me,

if I start the
back-to-work movement.

"Jenkins, why string along
with them tamale-eaters?"

I just said I'd come
to like tamales fine.

Two scabs got through
on the other side of the hill.

We chased the rest back.

- Recognise them?
- Anglos from out of town.

But they're not miners,
I could tell that.

They don't know zinc from shinola.

OK, take five.
Get yourself a cup of coffee.

Hey, Ramón,
here comes the Super.

- Morning.
- How's it going?

Well, those new fellows
you hired from out of town,

we brought them up here
by truck this morning.

They took one look at
that picket line, turned tail.

They don't look
so rough to me.

Well, Mr Hartwell,

they've got some
pretty tough hombres there,

especially that picket captain.

What's his name? Ray?

Raymond, something or other.

Oh, yes, I know that one.

That's their main picket line.

They have another post
on the back road

and roving patrols
all over the place.

On company property?

Why don't you
have them thrown off?

It's all company property,
Mr Hartwell.

The store,
the housing area, everything.

Where are you
going to throw them?

And who does the throwing?

Well, are they going
to let us pass?


This is just a little ritual
to impress us with their power.

Now, why don't you
let these gentlemen pass?

Don't you know
who's in that car?

It's the paymaster from
Moscow, with our gold.

No, no! It's the president
of the company himself.

Come all the way out here
to make Jenkins general manager.

So why are you
acting so mean?


Well, they're like
children in many ways.

Sometimes you have to
humour them, and sometimes

you have to take
their food away.

Oh, here comes the one
we were talking about.

It is quite a character.

Claims his grandfather
once owned the land

where the mine is now.

Want to go up to your office,
Mr Alexander?


You think I parked here
for a cup of coffee?

- You're welcome to one.
- No thanks.

The men would like to know
who this gentleman is.

That's none of their affair.

It's all right. It's no secret.

My name's Hartwell.

I'm from the
company's eastern office.

- You mean Delaware?
- No, New York. - New York?

You're not the company president,
by any chance?

- No.
- Too bad.

The men have always wanted
to take a look at the president.

Did you come out here
to settle the strike?

Well, if that's possible.

t's possible. Just negotiate.

Are we talking to a
Union spokesman?

Not exactly.

But I wish he were one.

He knows more about mining

than those pie-cards
we've had to deal with.

I mean it.
I know your work record.

You were in line for foreman
when this trouble started.

Did you know that?

Yes, sir, you had a
real future with this company.

But you let those
Reds stir you up

and now they'll
sell you down the river.

- Why don't you wake up, Ray?
- Huh?

That's your name,
isn't it? Ray?

My name is Quintero.

Mr Quintero.

Are you going
to let us pass,

or do I have to
call the sheriff?

There's nothing stopping you.

I was wrong.

They don't want
Jenkins for general manager.

They want me!

You should have heard
that fellow. What a line.

I was up for a foreman,
he says. Imagine!

- What's the matter?
- It's nothing.

Just a little catch.

Papa! Papa! Over here!

Is that Luis?

What is he doing,
playing hooky again?

Luis, come back here!

Papa, we've seen the
two scabs over there!

They're hiding over
there in the gully!

Hold it, brothers!

You, Antonio, Alfredo,
Cente, come with me.

The rest of you
stay on the line.

Luis! Ramón!

- That's them.
- Where? - There they go!



- Prieto.
- Ramón, listen to me.

- For the love of God!
- You? You?!

I'd expect it of
an Anglo but you!

Ramon, I'm in a jam.
I had to get a job!

You, Judas!


Ramón, my kids.

My kids don't have enough to eat.

You think my kids have
enough to eat, you rat?

I know it's wrong.
Just let me go.

I'll leave town.
Just let me go!

You think I was going
to work you over?

I wouldn't dirty
my hands on you.



The baby!
Get the women, quick!

Why do you stop?

Want to have
a little talk with you,

why you slugged that
fellow back there.

But that's a lie. I didn't.

Now, you know that's
no way to talk to a white man.

Oh, no, no!

Go back and get a blanket,
you idiots, so we can carry her!

Hey, Vance, I thought you said
this bullfighter was full of pepper.

Don't look so peppery now.

Oh, but he is.
He is full of chilli, this one.

He likes it hot.

His Chiquita makes it good and
hot for him, don't she, Pancho?

Sheriff, we need a doctor quick.

There's a woman
going to have a baby.

What do you take me for,
an ambulance driver?

There's a company doctor.

We don't have a car.
If you'll just get him.

Are you kidding?

Company doctor won't come
to no picket line.

We can't get her home.
There isn't time. Take her inside.

Hold your head up, Pancho.
That's no way to sit.

I'll outlive you all, you lice.

How's that?
What's that spic talk?

Oh God!

Forgive me for wishing
this child would never be born.

Oh! Mother of God!
Have mercy. Ooh!

Have mercy on this child.

Let this child live.

Ay! Oh my God, Esperanza!

Ramón! Aah!

Ramon was in the
hospital for a week

and then in the
county jail for 30 days,

charged with assault
and resisting arrest.

But I made up my mind

to postpone the christening

till he got out of jail.

We christened him Juan.

That night we had
a double celebration.

Juanito's christening,
Ramón's homecoming.

And we put all the children

to sleep in the
bedroom, as usual.

And the men took over
the parlour, as usual.

- Five thousand dollars.
- That beats.

- Raise you $10,000.
- You dog.

- All right, let's see them.
- Aces, wired.

Come to papa!

Hear those deputies
slugged Cente.

Yeah. Been lots of
provocation lately.

They figure if they can
lock up the leadership,

on some phoney charge,

maybe they can
bust the strike.

Are we going to let them
play poker all night?

- I want to dance.
- With whose husband?

With any of them,
even my own.

If you dance with my husband,
you'll have to put up with this.

And another thing,
your attitude towards Anglos.

- If you're going to be a leader..
- What attitude?

You lump them all together.

Anglo workers
and Anglo bosses.

He's a guest
in my house, isn't he?

You're even suspicious of him.


I think he's got a few things
to learn about our people.

Go on. Spill it.

Well, you're the organiser.

You work out strike strategy,

and most of the time
you're dead right.

But when you figure everything
the rank-and-file's to do,
down to the last detail,

you don't give us
anything to think about.

Are you afraid we're too
lazy to take initiative?

You know I don't think that.

Maybe not,
but there's another thing.

Like when you came in tonight.

I heard you ask your wife,

"Who's that, his grandfather?"

That's Juárez,
the father of México.

If I wouldn't know
a picture of George Washington,

you would say I was
an awful dumb Mexican.

I've never seen it fail.

Try to give Ramón
a friendly criticism

and he kicks it
right back in your face.

No, he's right.
I got a lot to learn.

Makes you feel any better,

he's got even
less use for women.

What are they
talking about in there?

Discussing each other's weaknesses.

I didn't know they had any.

Right now Ramón's
on the receiving end.

If we shut out the women
from the life of the Union...

Come on, bet!

Let's break up that game.

We can't think of them just as
housewives, but as partners.

And we have to
treat them as such.

Well, look who's talking.

A new world's champion
of women's rights.

Oh, cut it out, Ruth.

Me? I'm a camp follower,

following this organiser from
one mining camp to another.

Montana, Colorado, Idaho.

But does he ever think
to organise the women? No.

Wives don't count
in the Anglo locals, either.

Not that I like the way
you treat your wife, Ramón.

I think you're all wrong.

But when Dr Barnes
here gives you his

cure-all for female problems,

just ask him if
he's tried it at home.

Hey, Esperanza.

Esperanza's nursing the baby.

There goes the game.


Consuelo, turn up the radio.

Come on, Papa.
On your feet.

Look at him!

A fighter, huh?

He was born fighting,

and born hungry.

Drink. Drink Juanito.

You'll never have it so good.

He'll have it good,


What were they saying
about you in there?

They say I'm no good to you.

You are no good to me in jail.

I'd lie in my cell in my cot
and I couldn't sleep,

with the bugs and
the stink and the heat,

and I'd say to myself,

think of something nice,

something beautiful,

and then I'd think of you,

and my heart would
pound against the cot
for love of you.

Not just Juanito.

You'll have it good too, Esperanza.

We're going to
win this strike.

What makes you so sure?

Because if we lose,
we lose more than a strike.

We lose the Union,
and the men know it.

And if we win,
we win more than a few demands.

We win something bigger. Hope.

Hope for our kids.

Juanito can't grow
strong on milk alone.

- Is this the Quintero place?
- What do you want?

We've got a court order.

You can't come in here
without a warrant.

We got the warrant, too.

We don't want no trouble.
All we want's this radio here.

We hate to break in on
you folks like this but

but this here fellow
owns the radio store

and he got himself
a repossession order.

Don't touch it.

We don't want no trouble,
Mr Quintero.

We got orders to
repossess this machine.

I said, don't touch it.

- Let them take it.
- Over my dead body.

I don't want your dead body!

I don't want you
back in jail, either.

But, it's yours.
I won't let them!

Can't you see they want to
start a fight so they can
lock you all up at one time?

What are you so sad about?
Let's have some real music.

The strike did not end.

It went on into
the fourth month,

the fifth, the sixth.

The company still
refused to negotiate.

They printed lies about us
in their newspapers.

They said that
all the Mexicans

ought to be sent back
where they came from.

How can I go back
where I come from?

The shack that I was born in
is buried under company property!

Why don't nobody ever
tell the bosses to go back
to where they came from?

There wouldn't be any bosses
in the state of New Mexico if they did.

Brother, live to see the day.

Jenkins ain't no boss.

You mean we're going
to let people like Jenkins stay here?

You can't send him
back to Oklahoma.

It would be inhuman!

But I was born in Texas.

- Oh, no!
- That's even worse!

And the seventh month came.

We couldn't buy food
at the company store.

By now, the strike fund
was nearly gone.

A few families couldn't
take it any longer.

And where they went,
we do not know.

And so it was
decided by the Union

that hardship cases
should seek work in other mines.

The strikers who found jobs

divided their pay
with the Union

so the rest of us might eat.

Ramón was not
a hardship case,

only three children to feed.

Even so, the mine owners
might have starved us out

were it not for the help

we got from our International in Denver,

and from the other locals.

And we preferred no-one outside our county

knew of our troubles.

or cared if they didn't know.

We found we were wrong.

Letters came from our own
people of the south west.

From far away

Butte, Chicago,
Birmingham, New York,

messages of solidarity

and the crumpled dollar
bills of working men.

The women were helping,

and not just as cooks
and coffee makers.

A few of the men
made jokes about it,

but the work had to be done

so they let us stay.

No-one knew how great a change it was

till the day of the crisis.

The sheriff was smiling

so we knew
he brought bad news.

The company had got
a court injunction

ordering the strikers
to stop picketing.

The Taft-Hartley Injunction,
they called it.

It meant heavy fines
and jail sentences

for the strikers if they disobeyed.

A decision had to be made at once

whether to obey the order

or not.

If we obey the Court,

the strike will be lost.

The scabs will move in
as soon as our picket line is gone.

If we defy the Court,

our pickets will be arrested

and the strike will be lost anyway.

So there it is, brothers.

The bosses have us coming and going.

I want to say this.

No matter how you decide,

the International will back you up

as its always backed you up.

This is a democratic union.

The decision is up to you.

Brother Sherman.

If we give up now,

if we obey this rotten

we are fools and cowards.

There is only one way - fight them!

Fight them all.

Come. We don't gain nothing.

They'll arrest us.

The men ...
they made brave speeches.

But it seemed
Brother Barnes was right.

The company had them
coming and going.

It seemed the strike was lost.

Brother Chairman.

If you read the court
injunction carefully,

you will see that it only prohibits
striking miners from picketing.

We women are not striking miners.

We will take over
your picket lines.

Don't laugh.

We have a solution;
you have none.

Brother Quintero was
right when he said

we'll lose 50 years of gains

if we lose this fight.

Your wives and children too.

But this we promise,

if women take your
places on the picket line,

the strike will not be broken

and no scabs will take your jobs.

To pass a motion, only union
members can make a motion.

- I so move.
- Second.

You have heard the motion.

The floor is open for debate.

Luis asked: which was worse?

To hide behind a woman's skirt,

or go down on his
knees before the boss?

Brothers, we don't count
enough on our women.

The bosses don't tell us
all that we lost.

And what the bosses win now,

because there is no unity between the men,

their wives and their sisters?

Carlotta Sanchez said

she didn't think picketing
was proper for ladies.

It wasn't nice,

maybe even a sin.

I say let's give the sisters a chance.

And what will happen
when the cops come

and beat our women up?

Are we going to stand there
and watch them? No.

We'll take over anyway
and we'll be right back where we started.

Only worse, even more humiliated.

Brothers. Brothers.

I beg you, don't allow this.

Call a question.

The questions have been called.

You brothers know
what you are voting on.

That the sisters of the auxilliary
take over the picket line.

All those in favour will so signify.

Brother Chairman, point of order.

I don't know anything about
these questions of parliament.

You men are voting on
something the women

are to do or not to do,

so I think it's only fair

if the women be allowed to vote,

especially if they have to do the job.

Brothers and sisters,
it would be unconstitutional

to permit women to
vote at a union meeting.

If there's no objection,
we could adjourn this meeting.

[Women] No, no. no!

No, no, no. Wait, wait.

... and re-convene this meeting
at a community mass meeting

with every adult
entitled to a vote.

I so move.

Alright. On the motion to adjourn,
all those in favour,

- will raise their hand.
- Aye. Aye.

All those opposed?

The ayes have it.

Now every adult is
entitled to a vote.

Who won the original question?

All those in favour that the
sisters take over the picket line,

will so signify by
raising their hands.

All those opposed?

The motion has carried, 103 to 85.

And so they came, the women.

They came from Zinctown,
and the hills beyond,

from other mining towns,

women we had never seen before,

women who had nothing
to do with the strike.

Somehow they heard about

the women's picket line and they came.

And the men came too.

I think they were afraid;

afraid the women wouldn't stand fast.

Or maybe afraid they would.

But not all the women
went to the picket post;

some were forbidden
by their husbands.

"It's not fair,
I should be there with them."

After all, I'm the one who
got the women the vote.

The union don't run my house.

Those Anglo dames stirred you
up to make fools of yourselves.

but you don't see
any of them down there.

Yes I do. There is Ruth Barnes.

She's the organiser's wife.
She's got to be there!

No. She wants to be there.

And there is Mrs Kalinski.

Where's Jenkins wife?
You don't see her on no picket line.

Anglo husbands can
also be backward.

- Can be what?
- Backward.

Can't I even put in
an appearance?

- With a baby in your arms?
- The baby likes to be walked.

It helps him burp.

Hey girls. Wait a minute.
Don't you want to see my pistol?

Shut up!

What's so amusing?
It's only a court order.

I'm not so sure about that,
Mr Alexander.

Letter of the law, you know.

All that injunction stated
is no picketing by miners.

Whose side are you on, anyway?

Don't get excited,
they'll scatter like quails.

Well, let's get at it, before
another 100 dames show up.

Alright boys.

- What about these?
- Forget it; they'll scatter like quails.

He run over my wife!

He run over my wife!

They'll start shooting.
They'll throw you in jail. Get back!

Why are you standing there?
Do something!


The women are getting hurt.
We got to take over!

They're doing alright.

Anyway, it looks like
you got your hands full.

♪ The union is our leader
We shall not be moved ♪

♪ Just like a tree
Standing by the water ♪

♪ We shall not be moved ♪

- Papa, I'm hungry.
- So am I.

- Where's your mama?
- [indecipherable].

Boy! Did you see the way mama
whopped that deputy?

- Knocked the gun right out of...
- I don't want you
hanging around there, hear?

- You all right?
- Sure.

- Must have been some
experience for you, huh? - Yes.

I guess you had enough
today to last you a lifetime.

- I go back tomorrow.
Listen. You might get hurt. - I might.

If you think I'm going to play
nursemaid from now on, you're crazy.

I've had these kids all day.

I've had them since
the day they were born.

- I'm telling you. I don't stay home
with these kids tomorrow. - OK.

Then tomorrow, I take the kids
with me to the picket line.

And so I came back the next day

and every day
for the next month.

I kept Juanito
in the coffee shack.

And when the weather was good

and there was peace on the line,

I brought his crib outside.

Estela played with the little one

and Luis,

Luis was at school.

Ramon came every day,
just watching.

The ladies,

well, they criticised Ramón
for not keeping the kids.

For a while,
the sheriff's men left us alone.

But then, they cursed us,

insulted us,

called us horrid names.

It started again.

They used tear-gas again.

And I took the baby away
from the danger.

But we got burnt.

We spread out, as we had planned,

but they couldn't break our line.

They couldn't break it.

- Well? - I tried everything
but shooting them down.

You haven't tried locking them up.

You want them all arrested?

No, just the ring leaders,

fire-eaters, the ones
with big families.


Where's that boy?

Hey you! Come here.

Alright, girls.
Going to give you a choice.

Go home or go to jail.

No ifs and buts.

Get off the picket line
or you get arrested.

OK. Point them out.

That one; Teresa Grant.

She's the leader.

You're under arrest. Home or the ?

What will it be?

Keep marching, sisters.
Let's show some discipline.

- But Teresa!
- They'll charge us with resisting arrest.

Keep marching, sisters.
Keep marching!

Mrs Salazar, the old one.

Chana Diaz,
that one, in the blue dress.

Luz Morales, that one.

Mrs Kalinski, the Anglo.
Luz Morales, that one.

Mrs Kalinski, the Anglo.

Ruth Barnes,
she's the Organiser's wife.

And Ana Alvarez, the pretty one.

And that one.

- With the baby?
- She's Ramon Quintero's wife.

He doesn't like her being here.

Take care of the baby, Esperanda.

Don't worry about Juanito.
He can take care of Estella, too.

No, the baby stays with me.

♪ The union is our leader
We shall not be moved ♪

♪ The union is our leader
We shall not be moved ♪

♪ Just like a tree
That's standing by the water ♪

♪ We shall not be moved ♪

♪ ... shall not be moved ♪

♪ We shall not
We shall not be moved ♪

♪ We shall not
We shall not be moved ♪

♪ Just like a tree
That's standing by the water ♪

♪ We shall not be moved ♪

Be quiet!

I told you ten times.

We have no food.

We have no beds.

We have no baths.

So, would you please, please

shut up!!

He can't drink this milk,
it will make him sick.

It isn't formula.

I was a fool....

Do you not worry.
We'll get some action.

The baby can't drink this store milk,
we want his formula.

- What do you want?
- The formula. The formula.

We want the formula.

We want the formula.

Well, you can get the JP
to swear our peace bonds

or you can hike the bail high
enough to keep them in jail.

Keep them. What am I supposed to do?

Feed them out of my own pocket?

What I want to know, Mr Hartwell, is

when are you going to settle this thing?

- They won't negotiate with us.
- What do you want, anyway?

The company has other mines.

Got to see the larger picture.

Once these people get out of hand,

What are you doing here?
Ain't you seen enough of me?

I come for my kids.
They're in your jail.

But you've played every trump in your hand.

They're not dead yet.

- Not every trump.
- Such as what?

I can't shut them dames up.

They keep yelling
about a formula.

- What?
- A formula for the baby, or something.

His kid.

Hush, hush, hush!

Now, lookee here. I got
you some milk for the baby.

So what's all the
bellyaching about?

That milk is no good.

We want the formula.

If Juanito gets sick,
you'll be responsible.

I am not running a drug store.

You girls got only yourselves
to blame for this.

You could be back with
your families in an hour.

All you got to do is to sign a pledge
not to go back on the picket line.

Don't sign nothing for this stinker!

No, no, no!

We want the formula!
We want the formula!

We want the formula!
We want the formula!

Where did that guy go?

Come here, Pancho. Come here.

Alright. Where's this baby?

And a little girl?

Will you kids get out of those baskets!

Three hours just to heat
enough water to wash this stuff.

I'm telling you something.

If this strike is ever settled,
which I doubt,

I'll never go back to that company
unless they install hot running water for us.

Should have been a union
demand from the beginning.

You're telling me?

It's like Charlie Vidal says,
there's two kinds of slavery:

wage slavery and domestic slavery.

A woman's question,
he calls it.

Woman question?

Yeah. The problem's
what to do about it.

So, What does he
want to do about them?

He says give them equality;
equality in jobs,

equality at home
and also sex equality.

What do you mean
"sex equality"?

You know, [continues in Spanish].

He's some organiser, that Charlie.

He can truly organise a
wife right out of your home.

Papa, can I leave now?
There's a meeting of the junior shop stewart.

- The what?
The junior shop stewart.

There's lots of ways we can help.

Don't I have enough troubles without
them keeping you after reform school?

But you need all
the help you can get.

You've got to help
around the house.

You've got me doing everything!
Mama never made me dry the dishes.

You should have helped her
without being asked.

- How do you feel? - I'm OK.
Four nights. How did you sleep?

We raised so much fuss
they finally brought us seats.

I nearly lost my voice
from yelling so much.

- And the baby?
- They're asleep.

Did you have to sign a paper
not to go back to the picket line?

No, no. We wouldn't do it.

But if you go back,
they'll lock you up again.

No, the feds had enough of us.

We drove them crazy.

- Well?
- It's all set.

Consuelo's squad can
take the day off tomorrow.

- We're taking over.
- Alright. We'll work it out.

We got to have a talk.
You and me.

Alright, but later.
We have got a meeting now.

A meeting?

Yes, to plan for the picket line tomorrow.

You can sit in, if you want.

Now. Let us see.
Who's available?

Chana's husband is out of town
on that delegation to see the governor.

And there are a whole lot of men
going on a hunting expedition tomorrow.

30 or 40 of them,
so their wives are out too.

But we can ask them
to keep our kids while the rest....

What are we going to do
about him Esperanza?

- Think about it.
...was heart-broken.

Maybe if a delegation
of us talked to him.

I have to work it
out with him myself.

I got a friend. He's got a friend
in the Bureau of Mines.

You know what he said?

They aint never going to
open that mine up again.

How come?

He says the ore's run out.

- Bull!
- Lot of bull.

That's a rich mine, I know.

What the difference?
He'll never settle with us. Never.

Hey! What do you know?

It's him! It's him, El Presidente.

- The president of the company.
- Let me see this.

Listen to this.

"Man of distinction, J Hamilton Miller"

"financier, business executive,
board chairman of Continental Texas"

"and president of
Delaware Zinc Inc."

- Let me see.
- Wait a minute now, some more.

"An enthusiastic sportsman
and expert marksman,"

"Mr Miller manages to
find time every year "

"for an African safari."

"He leaves this month for Kenya"

"where he hopes to bag
his thirteenth lion. "

I'm going to frame this,
look Ramón.

Got to look at the larger picture.

So the guy's a lion hunter.

What do you expect him to hunt? Rabbits?

Boy, oh boy, would I like
to get me some venison.

I ain't tasted meat in four weeks.

How about it Ramón?
Let's take off for a couple of days, huh?

Why ask me?
Am I running this strike?

If you want permission
to go over the hill,

go ask the Ladies Auxilliary.

I waited up till midnight.

You weren't waiting for me.

That meeting only lasted 10 minutes.

My first night I am home,

you're off to the beer parlour.

What is it?

Can't you bear the sight of me?

Be still!

But you wanted to talk.

Tell me.

Tell me.

We can't go on this way.

I just can't go on living
with you, not this way

No, we can't go on this way

we can't go back
to the old way either.

The old way? What's your new way?

What's it mean?
You're right to neglect your kids?

- Where are you going?
- Hunting.

- When? - Sun-up.
- Alone? - No.

Ramon, you can't.

Why not?
I'm not needed here.

But you are needed,

especially now, with most
of the other men away.

You're the captain
of the Stand-By squad.

Sure, the Stand-By Squad.
Stand by for the funeral.

Whose funeral?
We are doing all right.

There hasn't been a scab
near the picket line for three days.

And you know why?

Because the company knows
they can starve us out.

Even if it takes them
another two or three months.

What's it to them if the
mine's shut down a little longer?

It's a lot to them.
They'd do anything to open that mine.

They got other mines.

You don't see the larger picture.

They got millions, millions.

They can outlast us
and they know it.

You mean you're ready to give up?

Who said anything about giving up?

I'll never go back to that
company on my knees, never.

But you want to go down fighting.
Is that it?

I don't want to go down fighting.

I want to win.

Ramon. We are not getting weaker.

We are stronger than ever before.

They are getting weaker.

They thought they could break our
picket line and they failed.

Now they can't win unless
they pull out something big,
and pull it out fast!

Like what?

I do not know.

But I can feel it coming.

It's like a lull before a storm.

Charlie Vidal says...

Charlie Vidal says...!!

Don't throw Charlie Vidal at me.

Charlie is my friend.

A new friend.

Why are you so afraid
to accept me as your friend?

I do not know what
you're talking about.

No, you don't care.

Have you learned
nothing from this strike?

Why are you afraid
to have me at your side?

Do you still think you can
have dignity, only if I have none?

You speak of dignity
after what you've done?

Yes, I talk of dignity.

The Anglo bosses look down
on you and you hate them for it.

"Stay in your place,
you dirty Mexican. "

But why must you say to me:
"Stay in your place"?

Do you feel better having
someone lower than you?

Shut up! You're talking crazy.

Whose neck shall I stand on
to make me feel superior?

And what will I get out of this?

I don't want anything
lower than what I am.

I am low enough already.

I want to rise and to push
everything upwards as I go.

Will you be still?

And if you can't understand this,
you are a fool

because you can't win
this strike without me.

You can't win anything without me!

That would be the old way.

Never try it on me again. Never.

I'm going to bed now.

Sleep where you please,
but not with me.

So they had a little taste
of what it's like to be a woman,

and they ran away.

Ramon is right.

I spoke out of the bitterness in me

and he was hurt.

These changes come with pain,

for other husbands too,

not just Ramon.

You mean you're ready to give up?

I don't want to go down fighting.

I want to win.

Have you learnt
nothing from this strike?

Ramon, we are not getting weaker.

We are stronger than ever before.

They are getting weaker.

I can feel it coming.

It's like the lull before the storm.

You know they can't win
unless they pull out

something big and pull it out fast.

We got to go back.

- Esperanza. Where's Ramon?
- Did he go hunting with the others? Where?

- Where can we find him,
do you know? - No.

Deer hunters. Deserters, that's what they are.

Something's wrong.

- Charlie, tell us.
- Company has an eviction order.

Eviction! Eviction!

- Where?
- At the Quintero's house.


- Where?
- At the Quintero's house.

Eviction! Eviction!


Don't worry, Quintero's
gone hunting with the others.

Evict him first;
the rest will be easy.

Let the neighbours watch.
It'll scare some sense into them.

Can't we do something?

Alright girls. Get back. Get back.

What's up?
They are evicting Quintero.

Come on. Let's go.

Hey, hey, hey.

Hey. Leave them brats alone.

Come on. Let's get our work done.

Don't pay attention to them.
Go back and get the rest of the stuff.

This is what we've been waiting for.

What are you saing?

This means they have given
up trying to break our picket line.

Now we can all fight together.

All of us. Go get the
women to pick up the stuff.

Now see here, Quintero.
These women are obstructing justice.

You make them behave. Savvy?

I can't do nothing Sheriff.
You know how it is.

They won't listen to a man anymore.

You want me to lock them up again?

You want them in your lock-up again?

Keep them out of the yard!

Hey. The guys from the open pit.

Yeah, and the guys from the mill.

Got any more ideas?

I don't make policy.

I'll talk to New York.

I think maybe we'd better

settle this thing,

for the present.

We did not know then
we had won the strike.

Our hearts were full.

And when Ramon said:
Thanks, sisters and brothers.

Esperanza, thank you.

You were right.

Together we can push
everything up with us

as we go.

Then I knew we had won something
they could never take away.

Something I could leave my children.

And they, the salt of the earth
would inherit it.

Subtitles by DB