The message from the California Supreme Court to growers is that when farm workers vote for the union, a state law has teeth that can force companies to negotiate.
Co-published by The American Prospect /
“Sustainability” is the mantra for many groups and businesses near the Salton Sea. But sustainability for whom? BY DAVID BACON
For over 160 years the California State Fair has been run by growers to showcase the wonders and wealth of the state’s agriculture. And for over 160 years the fair did this without mentioning the people whose labor makes agriculture possible: farmworkers. This year that changed.
When writer and veteran union organizer David Bacon speaks of “people who travel with the crops,” he means the agricultural workers who move from place to place to cultivate and harvest California’s fields. They are also the subject of his newest work of photojournalism.
When Cesar Chavez led a band of farm workers on their historic 300-mile march from Delano to Sacramento half a century ago, they prominently displayed banners of the Virgin de Guadalupe throughout the line. Why? Because that image held symbolic weight far beyond any other the group could carry.
Bill Raden reports on the Assembly’s approval of overtime pay for California’s farm laborers, based on an eight-hour workday.
For the state’s first hundred-plus years, certain unspoken rules governed California politics. In a state where agriculture produced more wealth than any industry, the first rule was that growers held enormous power.
Consuelo Mendez was 23 when she arrived in the United States 45 years ago, looking for work. In Ventura County she found it, harvesting strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage, parsley and spinach.
Sometimes the most interesting, and influential, figures in history are anything but household names. A case in point is Fred Ross, one of the greatest organizers of the 20th century.
(Yesterday David Bacon examined a decades-long labor war being fought by Gerawan Farming against the United Farm Workers — a union against which the company has been accused of orchestrating a decertification campaign. His reporting concludes today with a look at Gerawan’s political allies and the company’s attempt to overturn a key California labor law.) […]
When hundreds of people marched to the Los Angeles City Council last October, urging it to pass a resolution supporting a farm worker union fight taking place in California’s San Joaquin Valley, few had ever heard the name of the company involved. That may not be the case much longer. Gerawan Farming, one of the […]
It’s been more than 50 years since Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta founded the United Farm Workers union. In the ensuing decades, broader activism and increased awareness of the importance of those who grow and harvest our food have resulted in better wages and living conditions for some workers in our state and others, in […]
Activist Video Archive, that indispensable repository of Los Angeles’ progressive history, has recently released excerpts from an in-depth interview it conducted with Angela Sanbrano, a key figure in the Latino-rights movement. Sanbrano, who got her first reluctant taste of activism through the United Farm Workers union grape boycott, went on to co-found Inquilinos Unidos, was […]
There haven’t been, to put it mildly, many films about America’s labor movement. Take away Salt of the Earth (1954) and Norma Rae (1979) and what are you left with? Cesar Chavez, then, offers to fill a cavernous void in the public’s knowledge about both union organizing and the history of the country’s mostly Latino […]
Activists, organizers and elected officials across the United States have come together to urge President Barack Obama to award posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the legendary organizer, Fred Ross Sr. The first to organize people through house meetings, a mentor to both Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and a pioneer in Latino voter […]
’Tis the season of miracles. There’s only enough oil to light the lamp for a couple of days, but it stays lit for eight. A peasant’s vision upsets a bishop, especially when the peasant returns with roses. Darkness grows until the earth shifts and the light returns. A child born in a stable turns out […]
President Obama this week designated the home and burial site of the legendary United Farm Workers (UFW) leader, César Chávez, a national monument. Known as La Paz, short for Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, or Our Lady Queen of Peace, the site is in Keene, California AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the designation is a fitting […]
Last week in Stockton, the United Farm Workers signed a three-year contract with Pacific Triple E Ltd., a large tomato grower-shipper based in Tracy, California. According to The Record, the agreement represents the first time the UFW has enjoyed a membership presence in San Joaquin County in more than two decades. The Packer, an industry […]
Fifty years ago I graduated from high school on the other side of town from where Dolores Huerta had a decade earlier. My high school class will hold its reunion this fall. Also 50 years ago, Huerta and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers a few miles further south in Delano. The UFW just […]