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LOCAL News :: Labor & Economics : Poverty & Urban Development : Resistance & Tactics

Rockin' the Boat: Farmworkers March to Remember Cesar Chavez

Today on RTB we remember Cesar Chavez Day, with coverage of this past weeekend's UFW march and rally in Salinas. We'll hear from Sergio Sanchez, a Salinas City Councilmember, also we hear an interview wth Raul Medrano, a D'Arrigo Inc. farmworker. Finnally, we hear from Arturo Rodriguez, president of the UFW.....

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RTB_UFW_cesar_chavez_march.mp3 (8192 k)
Rckin' the Boat: Farmworkers March to Remember Cesar Chavez
March 31, would have been the 77th birthday of Cesar Chavez, who in 1962 founded, the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farmworkers Organizing Committee. Chavez was a vocal champion of the migrant workers' cause and he embraced non-violent tactics to accomplish his goals. His activities caught the attention of the FBI and Chavez was the target of gov't surveillance under the COINTEL Program of the 1960s. Though he died in 1993, his impact on the lives of thousands of farmworkers and their families can still be felt. On Sunday, nearly 2,000, mostly Spanish speaking farmworkers, union leaders, and their supporters marched and rallied in Salinas, CA, to commemorate the life of Cesar Chavez, and celebrate their recent legal victory. Last week, a federal judge ruled that Salinas-based D'Arrigo Brothers, which markets the "Andy Boy" label, must repay more than 3,000 laborers for thousands of hours spent traveling on vans to and from work in the fields.

Salinas City Council Member Sergio Sanchez attended the rally. Sanchez, who moved here from Mexico, was elected to the council in 2002, shortly after becoming a US citizen. He is also an organizer with the SEIU Local 817.

Raul Medrano has been a D'Arrigo farmworker for over 13 years and is a plaintiff in the class action suit. Raul doesn't speak English, but with translation assisstance from Freak Radio DJ Augosto Cesar Sandino we were able to interview Raul Medrano. He begins first by disscusing the conditions which led to the workers filling their suit.....

Arturo Rodriguez is the president of the United Farmworkers. He took over after Cesar Chavez died in 1993, and is only the second president in the UFW history. He gave a press conference to some of the journalists present. I questiuoned him about the legacy of Cesar Chavez, his thoughts on the Safeway settlement, and the UFW support for John Kerry's presidential aspirations, among other things. The first voice you'll hear is that of George Sanchez, a writer for the Californian Newspaper in Salinas asking the UFW president a question about the D'Arrigo lawsuit.........

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