Today, March 31 is Cesar Chavez’ birthday. On this day throughout the nation there are many observances honoring Cesar’s work. We are grateful for all these recognitions, which continue to grow 23 years after Cesar’s passing in 1993. But Cesar said that if the union he helped build didn’t survive his death, then his life’s work would have been in vain. The UFW takes this responsibility seriously and carries on Cesar’s work of making the lives of farm workers better by aggressively helping farm workers organize, negotiate union contracts and win new legal protections.
A big focus of the UFW right now is helping farm workers get the same overtime pay as almost every other worker. Workers plan to commemorate Cesar Chavez month (the time between Cesar’s March 31 birthday and April 23 passing) by marching for fair overtime pay in support of the bill we told you about, AB 2757 “The Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016.” The bill would phase in paying California’s farm workers overtime if they work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week by the year 2020.
Starting this Sunday, April 3, more than 10,000 farm workers up and down the west coast will take to the streets and march in 5 key agricultural areas. To do this is very expensive, but it’s time for worker’s voices to be heard. As Cesar told us, “I’m not going to ask for anything unless the workers want it. If they want it, they’ll ask for it.” Well, the workers are asking now. Will you help?
I want to share a worker story that moved me about why this bill is so important. Adolfo Tafoya, who works in the peaches, nectarines and grapes, told me, I am happy that finally someone is fighting so that us farm workers are paid overtime after 40 hours just like other workers from this country.
All these years I’ve felt discriminated against, as if my job was worth less than someone that works in a factory, construction or other type of jobs. Farm work is heavy. For the majority of the year I work 60 to 63 hours per week under the hot sun and sometimes the rain. I carry a ladder up and down on wet and uneven ground. Fighting together, it can be done!
Cesar would know it could be done. He would be leading the charge for Adolfo and other farm workers. Help us fill Cesar’s shoes by standing with the farm workers for whom he dedicated his life. Make your donation today @ https://secure.ufw.org/chavezmarch.
Thank you for everything you do.
Viva Cesar Chavez!
Arturo S. Rodriguez