Farm Workers Strike Against UFWU Union

little_cesar_chavez_coverTalking about perversion of individual employees’ rights by state compelled unionism.

Hundreds of farm workers in Fresno County, California, have walked away from their jobs at Gerawan Farming as a protest against the United Farm Workers Union.  The workers have been forced to join and pay dues to the union by the state of California. The union has attempted to seize some three percent of each worker’s paycheck based on a union vote two decades ago. The union has been completely inactive at Gerawan Farming since it was established.

What is the United Farm Workers Union?

The United Farm Workers Union (then called the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee) got its start on the backs of grape pickers who were faced with the choice of joining the union or starving. From the foreword written by United States Senator Paul J. Fannin of Ralph de Toledano’s book Little Cesar, The first full story of Cesar Chavez’s war on the grape pickers of California:

In this tragic process, the UFWOC and the AFLCIO were the upper millstone. The grape growers of Delano were the nether millstone. Compelled by the threat of bankruptcy to sign contracts with Chavez, the growers agreed to arrangements which sold the grape workers into the indenture of a closed shop—with no other choice but go hungry. California’s labor statute made it illegal for the growers to discourage compulsory unionism as a condition of employment. But it allowed Chavez and the UFWOC to drive the pickers into a union against their openly-stated wishes. The contract, in short, was one in which the two signatory parties deprived a third party of his rights under law.

This, it would seem, is anti-American and antihuman. Unfortunately, many of those who supported the Chavez strike and boycott were unaware of these vital considerations. They had been convinced that the grape pickers of Delano were earning starvation wages, and the pickers were being intimidated by grower violence. The exact opposite was true. This is what makes Ralph de Toledano’s fascinating and documented account of the events in the San Joaquin Valley so valuable.

Compulsory unionism again is hurting people who need ot keep as much of their paychecks as they can; they deserve the choice like the grape pickers on Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s winery have chosen not to join a union.