07 November 2010
The son of a mi grant farm worker, he attended more than 30 elementary schools.
From 1952 to 1962 he worked with the Community Ser vice Organization founded by Saul Alinsky. He registered voters and worked in community relations, be com ing general director in 1958.
In 1962 he left to begin organizing farm workers and went on to found the UFW. He organized nationwide boycotts of grapes, wine, and lettuce in an attempt to bring pressure on California growers to sign con tracts with the UFW. By 1972, the UFW had more than 60,000 members. Membership dropped, how ever, when the Teamsters’ Union began to organize farm workers in com petition with the UFW. The two unions agreed in March 1977 that the UFW would have jurisdiction primarily over field workers and that the teamsters would organize truck drivers and cannery workers. The UFW has about 100,000 members.