Farmer, Labor Leader, Civil Rights Activist
Cesar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, where he worked for higher wages and better working conditions for farmers. It all began in 1965, when many grape farmers, especially Filipinos, walked off the farm, demanding higher wages. Chavez strongly supported them doing this. In fact, in 1966, Chavez led a strike, along with many grape farmers, with the same intentions, getting higher or minimum wages. This event is known as the "Farm Workers March." They even led a boycott on grapes to support the strike. The strike lasted for 5 years, and it also brought national attention. In 1966, the U.S Senate of Migratory labor had a hearing on the strike, where many of them supported it. The strike led to many others in the country, such as in Texas. The NFWA supported fruit workers and led a march in Austin, TX... sounds familiar, right? Chavez and the NFWA continued to lead more strikes and boycotts, in support of farm workers. Also to support the farm workers and draw attention to this situation of unfair wages, Chavez would fast, along with the strikes and boycotts.
Challenges along the Way
- Along with the rest of the NFWA, Cesar Chavez paved the ways for farm workers, and getting them equal pay and better working conditions.
- Chaves's work helped to get the California Labor Relations Act to be passed in 1975, allowing farm workers the rights to boycott and collective bargaining, as well as end exploitation and ensure justice of the workers.
- Chavez improved labor conditions and pay of farm workers, because of his boycotts and strikes.
- Not only was he an activist of farm workers, but also an opponent of the Vietnam war and also an advocate of gay rights.