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Abalos / The Oil Fields of Odessa, TX

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Zapata: I know this is probably not related to you or Richard directly, but since you have been living here your whole life, when did Mexicans start participating in the oil industry? I know there was not a lot of Mexican workers and this industry but now there is a lot, have you seen cases regarding the oil industry with Mexican Americans and how they contribute to an industry that supports this region? Abalos: You have to remember, in the beginning when I was growing up the percentage of Mexican Americans here was not very high. We have grown as time has gone by. My father has always worked as a laborer for construction type companies. And I am not talking about building buildings, but pipeline companies. He always did that kind of work. When he was older, he did more work in stores and had that kind of connection with people as a janitor. But I remember every morning my father getting up at four or 5 o’clock in the morning. And somebody picking him up in the morning because we did not have a car. He has always worked and those types of businesses. Hi uncles did, most of the people I knew had parents that worked in those kinds of businesses. I think that Mexican Americans and Mexicans have had jobs in the oil Industry for a long time. As the numbers increase, more of them were working out there as laborers. I am not going to say that their opportunities have been as great to move up as they have for others. For the most part, they are going to be involved in the labor type jobs. Honestly, I do not know what all they do you but working on the pump jacks, a pusher, a pumper, I really do not know all the differences between these. Eventually, because the need was so great and they were the ones willing to go out and work, they were going to get hired. As far as that goes, yes. Do I think that they had opportunities to get promoted above that? Probably not. It is like anything else. Until you push for equal employment and fairness, it is not going to happen. Unless, you have somebody that is particularly aware of the situation for minorities. I do you think you find those kinds of people. I have a brother-in-law who quit working about a couple of years ago, maybe it was just one. But this was a man from Mexico, whatever education he had was in Mexico, and yet because he could read plans, engineer plans, he could read them, he was able to get promoted. Because his employer was not all hung up on him being a Mexican. That happened. But do you I think he got paid as much as much as an Anglo with an education? Even though he had the knowledge and the ability to do what somebody else with an education or just being an Anglo would have gotten? No I don’t think he ever got paid what he was worth. But he got paid more than he would have gotten if this man had not recognized his ability. I do, I think that some of it, if there has been an opportunity, it has been because either they had no other choice – I am talking about the employer – or the person was just that good that they wanted to bring them up. I do you think that Mexican Americans have been involved in the oil fields for a very long time. The bad thing is that along with the good pay comes the danger of accidents, work related accidents. And now because Workmen’s Comp is not what it used to be if they get hurt they are sure out of luck. They may get a little bit of money but it is not going to be enough to support their family for the rest of their lives. I mean, that is an injustice in of it self. But I would say that many Mexican Americans have had the opportunity to advance because of the oil fields. And if you look around a lot Hispanic owned businesses have kept up in the last 10 years that were not there before. They have done well. They may be experiencing some hard times right now, but so is everyone else.

Interview Interview with Delma Abalos
Subjects Family › Extended Family Networks
Work › Occupations
Work › Working Conditions
Work › "Mexican Jobs"
Work › Discrimination at Work
Work › Discrimination at Work › Discrimination at Work: Race and Ethnicity
Work › Discrimination at Work › Discrimination at Work: Promotions and Seniority
Work › Latino/a-Owned Businesses
Race Relations › Anglo-Mexican Race Relations
Discrimination or Segregation › Discrimination or Segregation at Work
Work › Compensation
Work › Service Industry
Family › Parents
Tags Abalos, Richard
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Interview date 2016-07-14
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Abalos, Delma
Interviewers Moye, Todd
Wisely, Karen
Zapata, Joel
Duration 00:06:30
Citation "The Oil Fields of Odessa, TX," from Delma Abalos oral history interview with Todd Moye, Karen Wisely, and Joel Zapata,  July 14, 2016, Odessa, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed July 20, 2024