UFW

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: A new exhibit celebrates a 1970s-era magazine that highlighted the achievements of African Americans in Fresno. We speak with one of its founders about why he started it.

Plus, we delve into the history of Yemeni farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley, and how the death of Nagi Daifallah and Arab nationalism complicated a multicultural movement in the UFW.

We also take a look at what’s new this year at Fresno’s Rogue Festival. 

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Courtesy of Bob Fitch Photography Archive, Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries

The United Farm Workers movement immediately brings to mind Cesar Chavez and Mexican laborers. And if you know your history really well, then you might also think of Larry Itliong and Filipino farm workers. But there’s another community in the Central Valley that was deeply engaged in the movement. Writer Neama Alamri has been researching the history of Yemeni farm workers as part of her doctoral dissertation at UC Merced.

Ezra David Romero / KVPR

Legislation proposed Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to give undocumented farmworkers more protections.  The Farm Workforce Modernization Act will provide undocumented workers a path to legal residency, and for those who want it, citizenship. 

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

High-profile workers rights activist Dolores Huerta was one of several people cited with misdemeanor charges while protesting at a Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting today. The 89-year-old who helped establish the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez was calling for higher wages for caregivers. 

Courtesy of Bridge + Delta Publishing

When you think of civil rights leaders from the Central Valley, names like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta probably come to mind, but another fundamental figure in the farm-labor movement was Larry Itliong. The Filipino activist co-founded the United Farm Workers of America and was pivotal in the Delano Grape Strike. His life was recently memorialized in a children’s book, “Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong," co-written by historian Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon and Gayle Romasanta. The book was illustrated by Andre Sibayan.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Kerry Klein takes a look at methane emitted from dairy farms in Central California and how it plays into climate change. We also hear from KVPR's Jeffrey Hess about cap and trade in Fresno. Later we hear from Author Miriam Pawel on Cal Humanties upcoming forum "Farmworker Movement in California: From Chavez Onwards." Ending the show we  hear from Steven Wilson with the Fresno Philharmonic about the upcoming season and their search for a new conductor. 

Even before the death of United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez in 1993, California's farm labor movement had lost its momentum.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A new state law means some California farmworkers are now entitled to back pay. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports a local union is working to spread the word among workers.  

The law says workers who weren’t paid accurately from July 2012 to December 2015 have the right to back pay for rest periods and unproductive time. This includes time for training, traveling, and moving from and to fields.

The United Farm Workers union is currently reaching out to farm laborers to let them know about the law before it goes into effect January 1st.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The Smithsonian Institution is honoring California labor activist Dolores Huerta with a special exhibit opening next week. 

The National Portrait Gallery’s One Life series has honored 10 notable Americans everyone from Elvis Presley to Martin Luther King Jr. And now, Dolores Huerta.

The museum is honoring Huerta for her years of activism and her role in founding the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez. Huerta is the first Latina in the series.

The top attorney at California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board has a new job. On Wednesday Governor Jerry Brown appointed  Sylvia Torres-Guillen to a new job as special counsel in his office.

Torres-Guillen had served as general counsel for the ALRB since 2011. In recent years the board has been at the center of controversy over a case involving Fresno’s Gerawan Farming and the United Farm Workers union, including a disputed 2013 decertification election.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Every summer and fall, PRIMA brand peaches and grapes from Fresno-based Gerawan Farming can be found in supermarkets across the country. But the workers who pick that fruit are currently at the center of one of California’s biggest labor conflicts. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports that the stakes for both the company and the United Farm Workers are high.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Central Valley farm workers rallied today in Sacramento against what they say is a violation of their rights.

About 20 anti-union farm workers showed up at the state capitol protesting against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers. The group says the union and the ALRB are denying employees of Fresno-based Gerawan Farming their rights by forcing them into a union contract. 

In 2013, company employees held a union decertification election, but the votes have yet to be counted after allegations the company interfered with the process.

UFW Foundation Twitter / twitter.com/UFWF/

A trio of farm worker rights organizations protested outside the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Bakersfield Tuesday saying that Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood should follow the law by enforcing the TRUST Act that went into effect January 1.

Marichel Mejia with the United Farm Workers Foundation and the Kern Coalition for Citizenship was at the protest.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

With just 10 days left before the Covered California enrollment deadline, farm labor activist Dolores Huerta took her message to students at Fresno State today. As FM89's Joe Moore reports, it's part of a last minute push to boost enrollment figures among Latinos and young people. 

Speaking to a class of students at Fresno State today, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta invoked memories of the civil rights movement to help spur young Latinos to sign up for health insurance.

Lionsgate / Pantelion Films

Later this month, the story of the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez hits the silver screen with a biopic by acclaimed director Diego Luna. It’s the first time a major motion picture has been made about the life of the founder of the United Farm Workers Union. It features a cast of Hollywood stars including America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, with Michael Pena cast as the late civil rights hero. Tomorrow night President Obama will host a screening of the movie at the White House.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

More than a dozen immigrants and advocates gathered outside of Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield this morning and called on him to support comprehensive immigration reform. The event marked the start of an 11-day push for immigration reform, in honor of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the country.

“We want our congressional representative to pass comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship, now!” said Camila Chavez, executive director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

UFW Communications Director Maria Machuca / https://twitter.com/mariamachuca

A group of immigration rights activists staged a protest Wednesday at the Bakersfield office of House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, eventually meeting with the Congressman after being locked inside his office for much of the night. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Representatives of the United Farm Workers are praising a decision by a state official to deny a petition from employees of Fresno-based Gerawan Farming  to de-certify the union. But the decision by the regional director of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board is a blow to a faction of anti-union Gerawan employees.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would make it easier for farm workers to obtain union contracts with their employers.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure passed Monday with the bare minimum votes needed – despite strong opposition from growers.

Jackets bearing a logo that is similar to the one used by the United Farm Workers labor union will be removed from Urban Outfitters stores after a dispute over the trademark.

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