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Hispanic Heritage in Manufacturing

September 29, 2022


Hispanic Heritage & Manufacturing Week

October marks a month of recognition for a variety of causes, including both Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs September 15 – October 15th) and National Manufacturing Week (​​which runs October 7-14, 2022). At Spectra360, we are heavily engaged in staffing for the manufacturing community and we are proud to be a diverse organization. For that reason, we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of the Hispanic community to manufacturing. 

The manufacturing industry is heavily influenced by Hispanic heritage. From the early days of our country’s existence to the labor rights movement, Latino leaders have been vital in the history of manufacturing. 

Early history

Before the American conquest, the Mexican economy in present-day Texas and California was a ranching economy. As a consequence of westward expansion, The Mexican War took place from 1846-1848; this resulted in the colonization of much of western America. In the late 19th century, railroad construction and maintenance, mining, and agricultural expansion were expanded into the west, and Mexican-American labor became a productive engine to push the economy forward.  

During the same period, Puerto Rico was colonized by America. They received citizenship in 1898 and were vital members of the economy in World War I. Cubans also accounted for a big increase in migrations to America, mostly to Florida as tobacco workers. Regardless of nationality and industry, a dual wage system developed as a way to make sure Hispanic labor remained inexpensive. 

Late 19th century and early 20th century

In the aftermath of the World Wars, there was a new sense of economic prosperity. Manufacturing was a large part of this prosperity, seeing massive gains in employment and peak output productivity. Hispanics held a large portion of the jobs in manufacturing. This era is marked by a decrease in immigration that is attributed to the Cold War, which made workers harder to find. 

Labor rights movement

Because of its historical context, it is important to recognize the massive contributions that the Latin community made to the labor rights movement. Inspired by Hispanic leaders in other fields, Hispanics in manufacturing changed the field to be more equitable for years to come. They demanded that the pay and treatment of all workers be equal. The labor rights movement brought us a 40-hour work week, minimum wages, and an end to child labor. This movement was revolutionary in all manual labor industries, not just manufacturing. 

In this way, Hispanic heritage has been (and continues to be) generation-changing. Hispanic heritage marks some of the most prosperous events in US labor history. In manufacturing, Hispanics contributed to one of the most productive eras in the industry. They also contributed to an equitable future for current generations of workers. 

Spectra360 is grateful for the opportunity to work within manufacturing, a diverse and thriving industry. If you would like to get involved, check out our latest job listings on our job board today: https://jobs.spectra360.com

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