Posted on March 29, 2017 by dcampbell1
Celebrate Labor History
“When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of people we are. ..I am convinced that the truest act of courage..is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice.”
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)
by Duane Campbell
On March 31, 2017, Eleven states and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating labor and Latino leader Cesar Chavez.
Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities and particularly in rural areas of the nation. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this union story.
The current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders and current DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve real immigration reform in the nation.
UFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,” Rodriguez said. “The UFW will not rest until the President’s deferred relief is enacted and a permanent immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, is signed into law.” http://www.UFW.org
Let us be clear. Chavez was religious, but he was not a saint. Neither were the growers, their Teamster collaborators, nor corporate agribusiness saints. Celebrations should not be about hero worship or uncritical praise, nor should we ignore the present oppression of farm workers in the U.S. Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 31, 2016 by dcampbell1
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? Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor and Democracy, Labor History, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Cesar Chavez, farm workers, safety, UFW | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 8, 2015 by dcampbell1
By David Bacon
Working In These Times, 9/25/15
A California farm worker picking peaches.
FRESNO, CA — The strategy by one of the nation’s largest growers to shed its obligation to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers was dealt a key setback last week. An administrative law judge not only threw out one of the dirtiest decertification elections in recent labor history, but did so because California growers had given tens of thousands of dollars to set the union-busting scheme in motion.
That election, at Gerawan Farming, has a key role in an even broader grower strategy to invalidate the enforcement mechanism of the state’s farm worker labor law. Last week’s ruling seriously undermines their case, now before the state’s Supreme Court, in which they claim to be protecting workers’ democratic rights. Instead, they have been exposed using obviously illegal methods to deny workers union representation. Continue reading
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Immigrant Workers, Organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Administrative law judge, ALRB, Associated Press, California, Central Valley (California), Cesar Chavez, Fresno County, Gerawan, Supreme Court of California, Trade union, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 21, 2015 by dcampbell1
September 20, 2015
This is an expanded version of an article in the Insight section of the San Francisco Chronicle: http://sfchron.cl/1QHt9Jt
Larry Itliong. Photo: Bob Fitch Photo Archive © Stanford University Libraries
Fifty years ago the great grape strike started in Delano, when Filipino pickers walked out of the fields on September 8, 1965. Mexican workers joined them two weeks later. The strike went on for five years, until all California table grape growers were forced to sign contracts in 1970.
The strike was a watershed struggle for civil and labor rights, supported by millions of people across the country. It helped breathe new life into the labor movement, opening doors for immigrants and people of color. Beyond the fields, Chicano and Asian American communities were inspired to demand rights, and many activists in those communities became organizers and leaders themselves.
California’s politics have changed profoundly in 50 years. Delano’s mayor today is a Filipino. That would have been unthinkable in 1965, when growers treated the town as a plantation.
But a mythology has hidden the true history of how and why the strike started, especially its connection to some of the most radical movements in the country’s labor history. Writer Peter Matthiessen, for instance, claimed in his famous two-part 1969 profile of Cesar Chavez in The New Yorker: “Until Chavez appeared, union leaders had considered it impossible to organize seasonal farm labor, which is in large part illiterate and indigent…” Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History | Tagged: American Federation of Labor, Australian Labor Party, AWOC, Central Labor Union, Cesar Chavez, Delano grape strike, Filipino, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Labor Day, Larry Itliong, Peter J. McGuire, United Farm Workers, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 23, 2015 by dcampbell1
by Duane E. Campbell
On March 31, 2015, Eleven states and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating labor and Latino leader Cesar Chavez. Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities and particularly in rural areas of the nation. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this union story.
The current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders and current DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the nation.
UFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,” Rodriguez said. Similar compromise proposals, negotiated by the UFW and the nation’s major agricultural employer associations, have passed the U.S. Senate multiple times over the last decade. The same proposal has won majority support in the House of Representatives, even though House GOP leaders have refused to permit a vote on the measure. “The UFW will not rest until the President’s deferred relief is enacted and a permanent immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, is signed into law.” www.UFW.org Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Low wage workers, Organizing, Politics, Union Reform | Tagged: AFL-CIO, Arturo Rodriguez, Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Eliseo Medina, farmworkers, Los Angeles, Racism, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2014 by dcampbell1
By Kenneth C. Burt September 24, 2014
The police stop a young man. An officer shoots, killing him. The officer claims self-defense, that the killing was warranted. The community, having endured years of unequal treatment at the hands of law enforcement and other municipal agencies, responds in anger. Protests ensue. Hard feelings persist, as do demands for law-enforcement accountability. Sound familiar? No, this is not the case of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The young man in question was Augustin Salcido, 17, and the incident occurred in Los Angeles more than six decades earlier. The Internet did not exist at that time and local television audiences were miniscule, so the Civil Rights Congress of Los Angeles produced a pamphlet, Justice for Salcido. In its introduction, author and civil rights advocate Carey McWilliams described the killing as part of a historical pattern of “continued suppression of the Mexican minority.” Fred Ross, organizer for a new group known as the Community Service Organization (CSO), recognized the all-too-prevalent problem of police brutality—and the familiar, ineffective community response. The pattern practiced by groups such as the Civil Rights Congress included protests that failed to address the underlying powerlessness of the community. Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Cesar Chavez, CSO, Fred Ross, Latino | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 12, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Angelo Lopez
Recently a movie about Cesar Chavez came out that documents the life of Cesar Chavez and his role in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’ve read that it’s a good movie. One of the things that the movie does is bring out the important but largely forgotten contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement. Since the 1920s, when Filipinos first learned to organize into unions in Hawaii, Filipinos were important leaders in organizing farmworkers to fight against unfair working conditions. Here is a cartoon I did for the April 16 edition of the Philippines Today to commemorate those forgotten Filipino leaders.
Alex S. Fabros, Jr. and Daniel P. Gonzales wrote a good article about some of the history of Filipino Americans in farm labor organizing.
Filed under: Labor History | Tagged: Andy Imutan, Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, Manongs, Pablo Manlapit. Pete Velasco, Philip Vera Cruz, Rufo Canete, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »