Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta recognized for their labor leadership

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Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta recognized for their life long contributions to organized labor and social justice.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the  date, and one of the few holidays  in the nation  dedicated  to a labor leader.   Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31, 2013.

The  year  2012 was the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the U.F.W.  by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz and others.  The   celebrations focused  on  the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California.

The United Farm Workers  (UFW) was the  first successful union of farm workers in  U.S. history.  There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union.   Each of the prior attempts  were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez and Huerta  chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing  and allied itself  with the churches, students,  and organized labor.  The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing  in the Southwest  and contributed significantly to the birth of Latino politics in the U.S.

Today, under the leadership of UFW president Arturo Rodriguez, only about 25,000  farm workers enjoy benefits on the job. Wages and benefit in farm labor have again been reduced to the pre union levels.  The UFW has shown unions that immigrants can and must be organized.

Both Chavez and DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor and  in the California Hall of Fame for their work.

Dolores Huerta remains active as  a  staunch advocate for women’s rights and reproductive freedom.  Huerta is a founding board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation and serves on the board of Ms. Magazine as well as her service as an Honorary  DSA Chair.  She is active in the Democratic Party Conventions and campaigns  and  she frequently speaks at universities and organizational forums and union halls  on issues of social justice and public policy. Dolores  continues working to develop community leaders and advocating for the working poor, immigrants, women and youth as President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Read more of this post
http://www.dsausa.org/celebrating_cesar_chavez_and_dolores_huerta

Duane Campbell is a Professor (emeritus)  of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Calif. State University-Sacramento, the author of Choosing Democracy; a practical guide to multicultural education.  4th. edition. (Allyn and Bacon,2010) and Chair of Sacramento DSA.

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