Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) Biography » César Chávez: 1927-1993: Labor Leader Biography - Grew Up In Poverty, Risked Life Savings To Form Union, Began Hunger Strike, Pressured By Larger Labor Union

César Chávez: 1927-1993: Labor Leader - Pressured By Larger Labor Union

agricultural ufwoc largest california


Although they were able to get initial contracts with major agricultural concerns, the UFWOC had difficulty in renewing them. Throughout the 1970s, as these labor contracts came up for renewal, the Teamsters Union—then the largest labor union in the country—continued to bypass Chávez and his group and negotiate directly with California's largest growers. Ultimately, the AFL-CIO interceded and in 1979 the Teamsters agreed to cease its efforts to organize field hands; instead, it focused on canners, packers and truck drivers. By the early 1980s, at its peak, the UFWOC counted close to 100,000 agricultural workers among its members.


In 1982, after the governorship of the state of California passed into new hands, the relationship between labor and government became less amicable. As a result, unions were no longer given input into legislation regarding labor matters, the pro-labor provisions of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act were eradicated through legislative means, and competition between the AFL-CIO, Chávez's UFWOC, and other small unions became more intense. It was clear to Chávez that his union had lost its ability to enact positively on the lives of its members, and a declining membership base confirmed his assessment. In addition, his primary activities—boycotts, protest marches, and negotiations—were reactive, while union growth required a membership base gained only through converts in the fields.


César Chávez: 1927-1993: Labor Leader - Dissent, Changing Times Diminished Union Power [next] [back] César Chávez: 1927-1993: Labor Leader - Began Hunger Strike

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