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THE UNITED FARM WORKERS IS BORN

In 1962, César Chávez (March 31, 1927 to April 23, 1993) founded the National Farm Workers Association, later to become the United Farm Workers – the UFW. He was joined by Dolores Huerta.

By 1970, the UFW got grape growers to accept union contracts and had effectively organized most of that industry, with 50,000 dues paying members. The reason was César Chávez’s tireless leadership and nonviolent tactics that included the Delano grape strike and his fasts, that focused national attention on farmworkers’ problems.

The farmworkers and supporters carried banners with the black eagle with HUELGA (strike) and VIVA LA CAUSA (Long live our cause). The marchers wanted the government to pass laws which would permit farmworkers to organize into a union and allow collective bargaining.

César made people aware of the struggles of farmworkers for better pay and safer working conditions. He succeeded through nonviolent tactics (boycotts, pickets, and strikes). César Chávez and the union sought recognition of the importance and dignity of all farmworkers.

It was the beginning of La Causa, a cause that was supported by organized labor, religious groups, minorities, and students. Chávez had the foresight to train his union workers and then to send many of them into the cities where they were to use the boycott and picket as their weapon.

César Chávez
March 31, 1927 to April 23, 1993


César was willing to sacrifice his own life so that the union would continue and that violence was not used. He fasted many times. In 1968, César went on a water-only, 25 day fast. He repeated the fast in 1972 for 24 days, and again in 1988, this time for 36 days.

What motivated him to do this? He said, farmworkers are angry and worried that we cannot win without violence. ‘We have proved it before through persistence, hard work, faith and willingness to sacrifice. We can win and keep our own self-respect and build a great union that will secure the spirit of all people if we do it through a rededication and recommitment to the struggle for justice through nonviolence.’

Sì Se Puede!

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/23/21 10:36:32 -0800.

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