Movement of Migrant Workers

Reasons for the Movement

The UFW was formed to combat the poor working conditions of primarily immigrant farmers. They specifically targeted the hygiene and chemical dangers of the job, but also marched for increased minimum wage. The gross poverty of farmers in the mid sixties was what pushed the foundation.

Successes of the Movement

The UFW found the most success in its collective bargaining for better working conditions like clean water, hand washing facilities, and prevented pesticide spraying while workers were in the fields. The also established Union health plans and pension for retired farmers.
The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworker's Movement
Start at 49:00 and end at around 1:05:00 after Cesar's fasts
1966 Farm Workers Strike (stock footage / archival footage)

Major Events

  1. The Delano grape strike consisted of farmers gathering to march 250 miles from Delano to Sacramento, California's capital, to present a list of their demands to the Delano grape farm. Multiple grape companies agreed to sign a contract with the newly formed union.
  2. In 1968 Chavez led a national boycott of table grape growers in California. 17 million Americans supported the boycott by 1970.
  3. In 1968, Chavez went on a 25 day hunger strike that gained national attention. He wanted to prove a point that he was determined to keep his movement nonviolence.

Status of the Movement Today

The UFW is still active to this day and are still pushing for more farmer's rights. Their latest big project was a 3 month boycott in 2005 of the Gallo winery in Sonoma which resulted in a new contract for workers.