Countless communities across America honor civil rights and farm labor leader Cesar Chavez on his March 31 birthday with annual commemorations. It's an official holiday in California and several other states. All manner of public places have been named for him.
The Chavez family and farm worker movement are grateful for all these recognitions, which continue to grow 22 years after his passing in 1993. But he said that if the union he helped build didn't survive his death, then his life's work would have been in vain. The United Farm Workers carries on Cesar's legacy every day by aggressively helping farm workers organize, negotiate union contracts and win new legal protections.
Activists and elected officials in San Francisco will honor Cesar Chavez on the day he would have turned 88 by standing with some of the farm workers for whom he dedicated his life.
Members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will use Tuesday, March 31, to enter an epic battle by farm workers seeking implementation of their union contract against a giant Central Valley grower -- reminiscent of 1960s farm labor fights. The lawmakers will vote on a measure calling on giant Gerawan Farming to honor a United Farm Workers contract issued in 2013 by a neutral mediator and approved by the state. Gerawan, one of the nation's largest tree fruit and grape growers, sells its produce across the U.S. under the Prima label. The Fresno-based company, with more than 5,000 workers, is illegally avoiding millions of dollars in pay increases and other benefits by refusing to honor the union contract.