By Hal Marcovitz
A biography of the union activist who led the fight of migrant farm employees for greater operating stipulations.
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Extra resources for Cesar Chavez (Great Hispanic Heritage)
The strike continued and so did the violence. In May 1948, with the strike in its eighth month, Local 218 President James Price was wounded in the neck when drive-by shooters sprayed a union hall meeting with gunfire. No arrests were ever made. On October 1, 1948, the strike celebrated its first anniversary. The company managed to get its harvest out of the fields without the striking workers. q 12/19/02 12:16 PM Page 43 Local 218 the NFLU produced a documentary about the strike entitled Poverty in the Land of Plenty.
Next, DiGiorgio tried to stir up anti-communist sentiment against the strikers. At the time, the world was living at the dawn of the Cold War; Americans feared communists and soon the federal government, under the direction of powerful Senator Joseph McCarthy, would violate the rights of many innocent Americans, accusing them of communist sympathies. In Kern County, the company asked the California Legislature to investigate the NFLU for communist influences. q 12/19/02 12:16 PM Page 42 42 CESAR CHAVEZ H.
After negotiating the contract, Chavez rushed back to rejoin the Perigrinacion. The march ended on time in Sacramento on Easter weekend, although Governor Brown was a no-show. Fresh from his triumph at the bargaining table with Schenley, Chavez proclaimed that a new day had commenced for California farm workers. “You cannot close your eyes and your ears to us any longer,” he declared that day in Sacramento. “You cannot pretend we do not exist. You cannot plead ignorance to our problems because we are here and we embody our needs for you.
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