Cesar Chavez: A Great Organizer and Leader Essays

2055 Words9 Pages
Labor unions have been instrumental in the lives of workers throughout American history, and have led to important advances in the American workforce. Throughout history there have been patterns of exploitation of immigrant workers by businesses in order to increase profits; the Mexican migrant workers of southern California are the most recent historical group to fall into this pattern of exploitation mostly from their lack of organization. Cesar E. Chavez was a great organizer and leader of the United Farm Workers labor union. Robert Kennedy referred to him as “one of the heroic figures of our time.” Chavez used his life experiences in order to better the lives of many migrant workers in America. Key points in Chavez’s life that had…show more content…
Chavez wanted to help the community that he came from, as well as others like it. The migrant worker community became his main focus, this resulted his creation of the UFW in 1962 (Chavez Foundation). His earlier life as a migrant worker would be a strong influence for attaining better working conditions for those workers. Early in Chavez’s life, he was exposed to the hardships of migrant working. When Chavez was 10 his family was forced from their home in Yuma, Arizona because of back taxes and because of the depression, his family couldn’t pay the payments (Castillo and Garcia, 7). Chavez began migrant work when he was 14, and the injustices had a memorable effect. Migrant workers were often exploited because of their lack of organization in a uniform union group, something that Chavez would eventually change. In future years the UFW would give migrant workers a voice in the conditions under which they were living and working. Strikes, boycotts, and other nonviolent protests were essential to the UFW’s ability to attain advancements in the Mexican American workplace. Though strikes previous to 1964 were often unsuccessful because of the Bracero program that was implemented by both the United States and Mexican governments. Farm owners encouraged this program because of labor shortages during wartime, but by the 1950’s the Bracero workers were being used to undercut wages and break strikes by the migrant workers. This caused
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