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July 25, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-07-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Sumer Daily
iSimmtr E dtito o
17 i !no i eoser
Uniersitro Micigan
Wednsdy Ju2 13 NesPhane 764( 55
HE APPEARANCE OF Cesar Chavez in the city Mon-
day night only reinforces the necessity of supporting
the boycotts on grapes and let tuce.
The issues of the boycott have changed since the
original days of the movement, but the urgency of total
participat ion in the union effort has not diminished.
When the movement first began, Chavez and his fol-
lowers were trying to establish the United Farm Workers
(UFW) as the recognized union of farm workers. Today,
the union has accomplished that goal and is a member
of the AFL-CIO. The struggle now is to survive the
strong-arm tactics of the Teamsters Union.
T1HE GROWERS are corrupt wheelers and dealers who
have tried from the outset to keep the farm workers
at less than subsistence wages. The growers have re-
luctantly accepted the fact that their workers will be-
come organized and have turned their attentions to find-
ing a union to their liking.
The teamsters are just such a union. The leaders.
have promised the growers that they will not rock the
boat and have used deceptive and even coercive tactics
to sign on the farm workers.
The Chicano leader also noted the harassment of
UFW pickets by local California sheriffs and legal in-
junctions against his union's right to picket by the Cali-
fornia courts. The growers, of course, initiated the. ac-
tions. In the last several weeks over 2000 union members
have been arrested.
The workers must have free elections to decide their
union. The large majority of workers would undoubtedly
choose the United Farm Workers if they had the choice.
They must be given their rights as workers to vote for a
union.
ONLY BY A UNIFIED EFFORT, a unified boycott, can
the UFW force the growers to give the workers the
union representation to which they are entitled. They de-
serve our support.

The warm reception was not the result of "priming." It signified in-
stead the audience's previously held respect for the Chicano leader.
Wine glasses tinkle and the money
rolls; but Cesar remains cool

By DIANE LEVICK
WITH GLASSES of punch in hand
and cocktail party quips on
their tongues, Ann Arbor's liberal
luminaries greeted United Farm
Workers (UFW) leader Cesar Cha-
vez in the inevitable clash of two
worlds.
Munching on refried bean hors
d'oeuvres - in the Chicano spirit,
of course - guests at the after-
speech reception swarmed around
the serious, quiet Chavez to ex-
press their admiration and get
their $5 admission's worth.
Sheriff Fred Postill, C o u n t y
Commissioner Liz Taylor, and even
young Sonia Yaco, unsuccessful Hu-
man Rights Party school board
candidate, dropped in to introduce
themselves, making politically
kosher appearances.

EX-MAYOR BOB filled the ice
buckets as one young woman laugh-
ingly complained to Chavez, "Oh
you always pick my favorite fruits
to boycott!"
The vegetarian leader fortunate-
ly had no punch to choke on. With
strong beliefs in Ghandi's teach-
ings on non-violence, Chevez mere-
ly forced a little smile as the
woman retreated.
A smile as forced as t h e
singing at the Hill Aud. rally an
hour earlier. "You all know why
you're here," local UFW organizer
David Martinez told the rally, try-,
ing to strike up some spirit. But
if they had known, they must have
been struck with acute amnesia.
A CURIOUS ASSORTMENT of
staid community liberals, summer
University students, and a small
core of fervent UFW supporters,
the rally audience slowly warmed
up as Martinez demonstrated the
"UFW handelap."
Members of the M Ciahitan ttho-
lic Campus Ministry Associ-ttion
presented a slide shsw idet-int
their visit to the strike site is
Coachella, Cal.
When Chavez was finally into-
duced, the previously low-key as.0-
ience rose to its feet to applaud.
But the warm reception was no
resilt of the "priming." It signi-
fied instead the audience's prev-
oiisly held respect for the Chi-
c-to leader.
Ironically, Chavez coodn't even
raise the audience's fervor. IH
didn't try. No Martin L u t h e r
King character, Chavez stotd
against a background of red and
black UFW flags, setting his listen-
ers straight on the facts, occas-
isnally throwing in a humorous re-
mark or anecdote.
BACK IN 1965, when Cheez
was planning the originil grape
boycott, counselors to him that
it svould never work. "Thank God, '
sass Chavez, "that we were so
naive that we did not take th r
advice."
The boycott forced table gr- is
growers to sign more than 200 o-
tracts with the UFW, now a full-
fledged AFL-CIO union. "Nine and
a half hours after 180 of those con-
tracts expired," says Chevez, "the
industry announced it had signedr
contracts with the Teamsters."
Whereas in 1965 the issue w:is
whether farmworkers should be
unionized at all, it is now "W h o
should represent the workers?"
The UFW has merely asked for
secret balot elections to let the
farmworkers c h o o s e for them-
selves.
Before making the deal with the
"sweetheart" Teamster unions,
Chavez reports that growers had
attempted to edge out the UFW
by setting up such puppet organiza-

tions as "Mothers Against Chavez,"
(How pure and legitimate-sound-
ing!) "Fathers Against Chavez,"
and the "Grape Pickers Benevo-
lent Association."
Why do the grape and lettuce
growers so fear the UFW? Maybe
because they stand by their de-
mands for decent wages, controlled
use of deadly pesticides in t h e
fields, and humane working condi-
tions. And, as Chavez says, "They
say it's too difficult to live with
us because we don't go to negotia-
tions without the workers being
with us." With representative de
mocracy the growers' attempts at
wheeling and dealing would be se-
verely limited.
"HISTORY TEACHES US t h a t
when an idea comes of age, no

Chavez
force will stop it," concluded Cha-
sea, determined that the UFW
will survive recent harrassient.
AS THE AUDIENCE ruse again
to its feet, a man handed a 150
check tip to the stage from the
International Brotherhood of Elec-
trical Workers. Chavez raised his
fist in thanks and solidarity, giving
the more paranoid liberals heart
attacks and filting Geirge DePue
(American Revoluatiuntry Media
mogul) with orgasmic joy as he
video taped the rally.
The less body--'riented were doin'
what comes natiral - for them,
anyway - later at the reception
as they gobbled hors d'oeuvres and
wrote out checks to UFW.
But back in Fresno and Delano,
no one was eating hors d'oeuvres.
In the San Fernando valley it was
still money for bail, money for life~
And the checks were appreciat-
ed.
Diane Levick is a night editor
for The Daily, and a former
boycott organizer.

Disirib ued by o lilit.i'.Sei im- SYNDICATE

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