United Farm Workers: The once politically powerful union is struggling

Terry Moore hugs United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez at the UAW rally against Douglas aircraft at Long Beach Park (Wardlow Park). Credit: Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library.

Cesar Chavez is a venerated figure in California history, often spoken of in the same sentence as MLK or Gandhi. His birthday is a state holiday. The organization he led — the United Farm Workers — was a political juggernaut in the 1970s, when Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing collective bargaining for farmworkers. But the UFW has always struggled for members, and only a fraction of American farmworkers are actually unionized. Lately, the UFW has struggled to get the same attention from state lawmakers too. 



  • Melissa Montalvo - reporter who covers poverty and inequality in the Central Valley for the Fresno Bee and CalMatters
  • Lori Flores - professor of history at Stony Brook University, author of the book “Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement”