Chavez and the Farm Workers

By Ronald B. Taylor | Go to book overview

strikes, the Filipino AWOCS led by Itliong against ten growers and the NFWA led by Chavez against the remaining 30 vineyards.


CHAPTER SEVEN : DELANO
GRAPE STRIKE

At dawn on Monday, September 20, 1965, the National Farm Workers Association joined the Delano grape strike.But it did so slowly and without much of the enthusiasm displayed during the September 16th meeting.From the very beginning it was obvious Cesar Chavez's assessment had been correct: The union was not ready for a major offensive.The NFWA claimed a membership of 2,000 families, but these worker families were scattered all over the farming areas of California and no one knew for sure how many were active, how many would — or could — quit work and walk the picket lines.

For newsmen covering those early days of the strike it was also quite obvious the NFWA was different from either Al Green's AWOC or the AWOC Filipino local in Delano.The AWOC Stockton headquarters staff was a stereotype of the labor movement bumbling through one of its periodic exercises of conscience.The Filipino AWOCS, on the other hand, were using tactics reminiscent of the old iww anarchist-socialist movement; they struck like guerrillas, sought pay hikes but no union recognition.

Under Chavez's leadership the NFWA was making a radical departure from these farm labor traditions.Instead of drifting with the seasons, calling hit-and-run strikes that sometimes succeeded in pushing wages up, but more often ended in busted heads and jailed pickets, Chavez was attempting to build a permanent, broadly based organization.The NFWA

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Chavez and the Farm Workers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Chavez and the Farm Workers *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Chapter One - : the Farm Workers 1
  • Chapter Two - : the Union 13
  • Chapter Three - : A Bloody Past 36
  • Chapter Four - : Chavez 57
  • Chapter Five - : Early Organizing 75
  • Chapter Six - : La Causa 106
  • Chapter Seven - : Delano Grape Strike 129
  • Chapter Eight : Power Struggle 156
  • Chapter Nine : First Successes 180
  • Chapter Ten : the Fast 208
  • Chapter Eleven : the Teamsters Again 249
  • Chapter Twelve : Agribusiness Conspiracy 284
  • Suggested Reading 333
  • Index 335
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