The United Farm Workers organizes for the rights of agricultural workers and has been instrumental in changing labor laws and securing more equitable contracts.
The United Farm Workers of America (UFW) occupies a unique place in the history of American agribusiness and labor relations. Formed as an activist union for agricultural workers during the mid-1960’s, it has conducted consumer boycotts and engaged in direct action to pressure growers, food industries, and government to confront the often miserable working conditions in agricultural labor. Emerging from Chicano activism and multiracial labor organizing in food industries, the UFW has always combined labor organizing with campaigns for economic justice and civil rights.
The UFW is part of a long and complex history in agricultural labor relations. Most histories of the UFW emphasize its genesis in the government-sponsored
César Chávez takes the California lettuce strike issue to Chicago and the Midwest in 1979.
Labor activists César
The UFW broke important ground in American business history by using nonviolent tactics drawn from the Civil Rights movement, such as boycotts and mass marches. Chávez, for many years the public face for the UFW, also adopted the strategy of political fasting, a tactic he shared with the Indian international human rights leader Mahatma Gandhi. This creative fusion of human rights philosophy with labor organizing has allowed the UFW to bring to the forefront the moral dimension of American economic and labor relations.
Ferris, Susan, Ricardo Sandoval, and Diana Hembree. The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farm Workers Movement. New York: Harvest/Harcourt, 1998. Shaw, Randy. Beyond the Fields: César Chávez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the Twenty-first Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Soto, Gary. Jessie de la Cruz: A Profile of a United Farm Worker. New York: Persea Books, 2002.
Latin American trade with the United States
Mexican trade with the United States