Cesar Chavez: Standing Up for Migrant Farm Workers - Fight for Justice

As Cesar Chavez grew older, he was determined to find a way to help migrant workers:  

  • He wanted his children to live a better life.  
  • He wanted them to earn fair wages.
  • He wanted them to have health care.
  • He wanted them to have access to education.

So, after serving two years in the U.S. Navy, Cesar turned all his attention to helping his fellow migrant farm workers.

He asked the big produce companies, who owned the fields, for justice.  Most of them refused to give more money or better working conditions. But Cesar had an idea.  If he could somehow bring all the migrant workers together, they could put pressure on the farm owners to make changes.  

Cesar formed a union called the "United Farm Workers of America" (UFWA). Using the same nonviolent strategies he had read about as a boy—such as striking and fasting, and even provokng his own arrest many times to draw attention to the plight of the migrant worker—he devoted his life to the cause.

The union, under his leadership, called for a boycott of grapes grown by the field owners.  Over 17 million Americans stopped buying grapes.  

Cesar Chavez fasted and would not eat until there was a solution to the problems. But, he never used violence and told his union members never to use violence.  

The attention and public pressure, as well as the loss of income for the grape growers, forced the big companies to finally give-in. Not only did they pay higher wages to the workers, they also provided other forms of help.

The workers now had contracts which provided:

  • A pension;
  • A health fund;
  • Unemployment insurance;
  • Disability benefits; and
  • A five-day, 40-hour work week.  

Cesar had brought about irreversible, positive change to the labor movement in the United States.

Original Release: Aug 10, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"Fight for Justice" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 10, 2015. Jul 20, 2018.
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