Posted on September 24, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
This Labor Day finally brought recognition for the 28 Mexican migrant farm workers who tragically perished when the twin-engine DC-3C charter plane flying them back to Mexico caught fire and crashed on Jan. 28, 1948, near Los Gatos Canyon in west Fresno County, Calif. The Latino community of Fresno buried the 28 unidentified bracero farm workers after funeral services in a mass grave at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery. News reports of the crash didn’t offer any names of the farm worker victims. They were just called “deportees.”
Incensed by how the farm workers were treated on the radio and in the newspapers, famed folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote a beautiful poem, later a song, called “Deportee” or “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos.” Many artists, including Joan Baez who sang it at a United Farm Workers benefit last July in San Jose, have performed the ballad. The refrain goes:
Farewell to my Juan, farewell Angelina
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won’t have your names
When you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportee
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Arturo Rodriguez, Bracero, Cesar Chavez, Deportees, farm workers, Guestworker, immigration reform, Labor, Labor Day, Latino Voices News, Latinos & Hispanics, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Rep. Steve King, UFW, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 9, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Peg Strobel
It’s sometimes a challenge to find engaging books about work, solidarity or unions that are educational without being didactic. Many of the books listed below have been honored by the Jane Addams Peace Association (JAPA), which, together with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, has presented awards since 1953 to books “that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence.”
Click, Clack, Moo is great for reading to young kids, and pbskids.org identifies it as effective for teaching deaf or hard of hearing students as well. It starts when Farmer Brown’s cows find an old typewriter in the barn and send him a note politely requesting electric blankets because the barn is cold. When Farmer Brown replies, “No way,” the cows go on strike. Soon the chickens join them. Broader solidarity is impeded because not all the animals understand Moo. Duck, “a neutral party” enlisted as go-between, delivers a note indicating the cows and chickens are willing to exchange the typewriter for electric blankets. Thinking he had stopped the insurgency, the farmer provides the blankets, only to be met with a note from the ducks, who want a diving board to quell their boredom. Although the author portrays the farmer as a stereotypical old white man, the story effectively uses humor and engaging illustrations to present a nuanced story of solidarity.
Filed under: Book Reviews | Tagged: Ain't Nothing But a Man, Cesar Chavez, children's books, Clack, Click, Counting on Grace, Harvesting Hope, John Henry, Moo: Cows That Type, Sí Se Puede! Yes, We Can! Janitor Strike in L.A., Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 9, 2012 by dcampbell1
The historic visit of Barack Obama to La Paz and the dedication of the Cesar Chavez Monument as a national historic site is important.
The video is here. http://choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com/2012/10/president-obama-creates-monument-to.html
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Politics, Video | Tagged: Barack Obama, California, Cesar Chavez, La Paz, President, United Farm Workers, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 5, 2012 by dcampbell1
On October 8th, 2012, President Obama will travel to Keene, California to announce the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument. Years in the making, the monument – which will be designated under the Antiquities Act – will be established on the property known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or La Paz. The La Paz property is recognized worldwide for its historic link to civil rights icon César Estrada Chávez and the farm worker movement. The site served as the national headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW) as well as the home and workplace of César Chávez and his family from the early 1970’s until Chávez’ death in 1993, and includes his grave site which will also be part of the monument.
“César Chávez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” said President Obama. “La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chávez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.” Continue reading
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Immigrant Workers, Labor History | Tagged: Barack Obama, California, Cesar Chavez, La Paz, National Park Service, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 24, 2012 by dcampbell1
Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Niesha Lofing
Managing Editor, Sacramento Labor Bulletin
Thousands of workers, union members, labor advocates and elected officials braved torrential downpours on March 31 to pay tribute to the life and work of César Chávez during the 12th annual march and rally in Sacramento.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the United Farm Workers, and Chávez’s hard work continues today, noted Bill Camp, executive secretary of the Sacramento Central Labor Council.
Farm workers have recently won new protections through contracts with the largest strawberry grower and winery in the country, the biggest vegetable growers in the state and one of the largest dairies in the nation.
But the work isn’t yet done, he said. Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: California, Cesar Chavez, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Sacramento California, Trade union, UFW, United Farm Workers, United States | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 26, 2012 by dcampbell1
by Duane E. Campbell
Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the date, and one of the few holidays in the nation dedicated to a labor leader. Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31, 2012,
On March 26, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis honored Cesar Chavez and the UFW founders by dedicating the auditorium at the Department of Labor in Chavez’s name.
Mexican labor leader Jose Humberto Montes de Oca of the SME, electrical workers union will lead the Sacramento march on March 31. Montes do Oca and the SME in Mexico are fighting for survival against a repressive government. In central Mexico 44,000 Electrical Power Workers (SME) were fired to privatize the industry and destroy the union.
This year, 2012 is the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the U.F.W. The Cesar Chavez celebrations focus on the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California. Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, César created the United Farm Workers (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history. There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union. Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Politics, Solidarity | Tagged: California, California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, UFW, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 27, 2011 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Michael Yates
Review of Frank Bardacke, Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers (New York: Verso), 742pp, hardcover, $54.95.*
Frank Bardacke labored over this book for fifteen years. We can be grateful that he didn’t give up. This is the best history ever written of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and Cesar Chavez. It explains better than any other book how the UFW under Chavez’s leadership became in the 1960s and 1970s one of the most remarkable and successful unions in U.S. history but then crashed and burned so breathtakingly fast that by the end of the 1980s it had pretty much disappeared from the fields. Bardacke relies on primary sources—letters, interviews, personal papers, archives, newspaper accounts, court and police records, his own considerable experiences as a farm laborer (He spent six seasons in the fields between 1971 and 1979. A minor political conflict with the union during the 1979 lettuce strike led to his blacklisting by both the growers and the union, and this forced him to take up other employment). In the main, he lets the record speak for itself, avoiding the apologetics or the rancor we typically find in books, articles, and reviews about the UFW and Chavez.
Several things set Bardacke’s history apart from everything that preceded it. First, he pays attention to the farm workers themselves, to their organizing history, the nature of their work, and the changes that have taken place in their industry. His descriptions of the skilled, difficult, and body-destroying work of harvesting lettuce, celery, broccoli, asparagus, and lemons are among the most moving and beautifully written parts of the book. They help to foreground the author’s demonstration that the organization of farm workers did not spring suddenly from the will of Cesar Chavez. As Bardacke shows with scores of examples, agricultural workers have been doing battle with their employers for nearly one hundred years. Their skills, the short time the growers have to get crops harvested, and the self-organization of the workers, especially those who toiled as part of tightly-knit teams, all combined to create a sense of potential power, power that became reality when conditions were propitious.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Labor History, Low wage workers | Tagged: Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, UFW, United Farmworkers | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 27, 2011 by dcampbell1
Cesar Chavez and Duane Campbell -1972
Trampling Out the Vintage ?
by Duane Campbell
A dissident’s view of the rise and the fall of the United Farm Workers union.
Frank Bardacke’s Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers. (2011, Verso). is the view of a well- informed observer who worked in the lettuce fields near Salinas for six seasons, then spent another 25 years teaching English to farm workers in the Watsonville, Cal. area. His views on the growth and decline of the United Farm Workers union – some of which I do not share– offer important points of history and reflection for unionists today, particularly those working with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Trampling Out the Vintage, provides several insights not previously developed in well informed books on the UFW including important differences between grape workers and workers in row crops such as lettuce; the length of time workers were in the UFW, the more settled family nature of grape workers, the strength of each type of ranch committees, the leadership of ranch crews ( and thus the potential differences in creating democratic accountability), and the differing histories of worker militancy in different crops. The author correctly argues that each of these led to somewhat different organizing environment in building the union. He also details problems of administrative mismanagement in the hiring halls in the grape areas and alleged mismanagement of organizing within the union sponsored health care insurance and clinic systems .
Based upon his own experiences and the histories of workers in the Salinas valley, Bardacke makes the case that farm workers- not Cesar Chavez – created the union. They built their union on a long history of previous collective work stoppages and strikes. The union was created on the ground in Delano, Salinas, Watsonville, and surrounding towns- not in the union headquarters of La Paz. The author reveals his strong viewpoint in the title apparently referring to Chavez “Trampling out the Vintage” where a union had been created. Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Immigrant Workers, Labor History | Tagged: California, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Fred Ross, Randy Shaw, Steve Early, UFW, United Farm Workers | 5 Comments »
Posted on May 17, 2011 by dcampbell1
Cesar Chavez and Duane Campbell. circa 1972
by Duane Campbell- a review of a review.
The Steve Early review below is an important essay on some of the books on Cesar Chavez and the UFW.
I disagree with Early on using Miriam Pawley as a major source. She came to California in about 2001. She really knows little about the struggle in the UFW, except for having interviewed people. Her interviews are excellent resources. Her listening to UFW executive committee tapes began in about 1972. I have read her book and listened to her talks. She is a major conveyer of the Chavez as “crazy” thesis. This is not a plausible for much of the time of the UFW. Her own research is on the current status of the farm worker support organizations conducted in Chavez’s name- not of the union. I will leave that debate up to others.
To me there is a major missing story in these books. For those who worked with, in and around the UFW, we know that there was a major issue of the rise of Chicano/Mexicano self determination and labor union activism. When someone writes the story – as if Chicano self determination was not an important issue, they clearly missed that point. Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Labor History, Politics | Tagged: Bert Corona, Cesar Chavez, Chicano, Martin Luther King, Steve Early, United Farm Workers, United States, United Steelworkers | 1 Comment »