By Susan Ferriss
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Extra resources for The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement
All we needed to do was once pay attention approximately [the flow] and that i imagine with reference to all people in my staff was once for it. " on the TIME of UFWOC's tremendous Sunday rally, the Teamsters nonetheless had just a fraction of the valley's staff registered as their participants. Over the following week, they fanned out to enroll others belatedly and have been met with common resistance. in the meantime, employees from ranches UFWOC had by no means heard of have been pouring into the little union workplace on Salinas's east aspect. Tomato employees, vegetable harvesters, lettuce cutters, strawberry pickers, all arrived in keen clusters, asking UFWOC to prepare them. the main militant have been the lettuce cutters—the lechugeros —migrant staff who had a name for being a few of the hardest and such a lot autonomous of the entire campesinos. The lechugeros frequently migrated from the Imperial Valley within the iciness to the Salinas Valley in the summertime. Their base pay was once no longer a lot over minimal salary, yet they can greater than double their profits with piece-rate bonuses they earned from stooping, slicing, and boxing lettuce as quick as they could—excruciating, backbreaking paintings. a few of the lechugeros supplemented their source of revenue through weeding and thinning plants past within the season, utilizing the scary cortito, the short-handled hoe. these first few weeks in Salinas, Chavez needed to harness the employees' feelings and steer them right into a approach for profitable contracts. "There was once extra paintings being performed on extra fronts in that interval that at any time within the background of the union," he acknowledged, "but I wasn't feeling the pinch up to firstly of the Delano strike simply because via this time we had built loads of organizers. " The union dispatched organizers to different lettuce-growing components to arrange for extra moves may still the dispute in Salinas enhance. Chavez flew to an AFL-CIO conference in Chicago to entice President George Meany for strike-fund assistance, and he negotiated a mortgage from the Catholic Order of Franciscan Brothers in addition. Chavez additionally directed the union to fireside up its boycott equipment. Lettuce was once now not a luxurious fruit, yet a staple vegetable bought for day-by-day use: it might be way more problematical a boycott objective than grapes. the main susceptible merchandise firstly, it was once determined, will be United Fruit's Chiquita banana empire, which had a name for abusing its staff in Latin the US. "I knew that if we ever began a public boycott opposed to them, it'd be very not easy to show off—too many disliked the company," Chavez may later say. "But there have been alternative ways of utilising strain. " certainly one of them used to be Leroy Chatfield's brainstorm: He labored the telephone from the union's la place of work, asking a pal who was once a patron for a grocery store chain to name United Fruit and announce that he was once ready to prevent deciding to buy bananas may still UFWOC claim a boycott. one other union buddy in long island who had connections in company circles contacted most sensible executives of United manufacturers, vendors of United Fruit, to induce them to enquire what was once occurring in Salinas.