Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union are American icons, and the UFW is a prime example of a union that fought hard for higher wages and better working conditions against impossible odds. Although the National Labor Relations Act does not cover farm workers, and migrant labor is particularly difficult to organize, at its height the UFW represented almost 1/3 of all California lettuce workers. And then, on the verge of success, the UFW imploded and “la causa” was no more. Frank Bardacke’s 836 page book, Trampling Out the Vintage, is the inside story of this history. Bardacke was a young Berkeley radical who in 1971 took a job cutting celery in the Salinas Valley, working in the fields as part of an otherwise Mexican work force. He joined the UFW, rose in its ranks, and, in the off-season, taught agricultural history at the University of California. Please join host Stephen Spitz and special guest Frank Bardacke for an eyewitness account of the rise and fall of Cesar Chavez and UFW. Produced with the assistance of Joe Green.
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