[sixties-l] Fwd: UFW Grape boycott ends

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 11/22/00

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    >Subject: Newsclips: AP, LA Times, La Opinion re: Grape boycott ends
    >Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 08:37:40 -0800
    >News from the Farm Worker Movement(www.ufw.org):
    >UFW calls off grape boycott in time for Thanksgiving
    >Associated Press Writer
    >FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- In time for Thanksgiving, the United Farm Workers
    >union ended its 16-year boycott of Californa table grapes Tuesday,
    >saying the original goals of UFW co-founder Cesar Chavez had been
    >largely met.
    >"Cesar Chavez's crusade to eliminate use of five of the most toxic
    >chemicals plaguing farm workers and their families has been largely
    >successful," said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez.
    >In recent years the UFW has not focused any energy on the boycott and
    >the table grape industry has continued to grow.
    >"I think it makes sense for them to call it off," said Kathleen Nave,
    >president of the California Table Grape Commission. "Of course we're
    >happy to not have table grapes on any official boycott list."
    >Chavez called for the boycott on June 12, 1984, as a way of focusing on
    >the spraying of dangerous pesticides. It was the third boycott of
    >California grapes called by the UFW.
    >The first boycott ran from 1967 until 1970, when growers signed their
    >first contracts with the UFW. The second grape boycott began in 1973 and
    >received more widespread support than the recent one.
    >A 1975 Harris poll found 17 million Americans were boycotting grapes,
    >according to the UFW. The boycott ended two years later, after the
    >Agricultural Labor Relations Act was passed, allowing farmworkers to
    >organize and bargain for contracts.
    >As union membership dwindled and state oversight of agribusiness dropped
    >off, however, Chavez launched the final boycott to bring attention to
    >what he called "The Wrath of Grapes" -- the threat from pesticides.
    >In the final years of his life, Chavez fought passionately for the cause
    >that inspired the 1984 boycott. At age 61 he conducted his longest
    >public fast -- the 36-day "Fast for Life" -- and continued to press the
    >boycott until his death five years later in 1993.
    >"The fast was, finally, a declaration of noncooperation with
    >supermarkets that promote, sell and profit from California table
    >grapes," Chavez said at a 1989 speech in Tacoma, Wash. "They are as
    >culpable as those who manufacture the poisons and those who use them."
    >But as the latest boycott dragged out, it failed to gain a large
    >following. Consumer studies for the grape industry have found fewer than
    >5 percent of consumers were aware of the boycott, Nave said.
    >Rodriguez said he thinks Chavez, his father-in-law, would have made the
    >same decision to end the boycott. The union is now focused on the more
    >important goal of organizing and negotiating contracts in the fields.
    >In a letter to the National Farm Worker Ministry in St. Louis, which
    >mobilized support for the boycott among religious groups, Rodriguez said
    >it was no longer fair to ask supporters to honor the boycott.
    >The end of the boycott represents a significant shift in direction for
    >the union that rose to power and national attention through its earlier
    >grape strikes and grape boycotts.
    >Today, the UFW, which has dwindled to 27,000 members from a high of
    >80,000 in 1970, only has one table grape contract.
    >It has branched into the mushroom and rose industry in recent years and
    >in August it signed its first contract with Gallo -- the subject of an
    >earlier boycott -- to cover 450 vineyard workers in Sonoma County.
    >Although it called off the boycott, the union said that should not be
    >seen as an endorsement to buy table grapes.
    >"Table grape workers continue to suffer poverty pay, poor working
    >conditions and mistreatment on the job," said UFW spokesman Marc
    >Grossman. "We look forward to the day where table grape workers, too,
    >can enjoy the blessings of organized labor."
    >On the Net:United Farm Workers of America: http://www.ufw.org
    >Copyright: Associated Press
    >Wednesday, November 22, 2000
    >Farm Workers Union Ends 16-Year Boycott of Grapes
    >Agriculture: UFW says use of some pesticides it targeted was curbed.
    >Growers group contends the action didn't deter sales.
    >By JAMES RAINEY, Times Staff Writer
    >    "No Grapes!"--a spirited rallying cry of the labor movement and the
    >political left for much of the last four decades--officially receded
    >into history Tuesday as the United Farm Workers of America declared an
    >end to its protracted boycott of California table grapes.
    >     The announcement by UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez makes official
    >what had already become a fait accompli; the union and even its loyal
    >followers had mostly lost interest in the sanction against the state's
    >grape growers.
    >     Rodriguez said he ended the UFW's third grape boycott, which began
    >16 years ago, because of a recent string of farm worker victories that
    >included the elimination of many of the pesticides the embargo had
    >     "Some goals of that boycott have already been met," Rodriguez said
    >in a letter to a farm worker support group. "Cesar Chavez's crusade to
    >eliminate use of five of the most toxic chemicals plaguing farm workers
    >and their families has been largely successful.
    >     "It is not fair to ask our supporters to honor a boycott," Rodriguez
    >said, "when the union must devote all of its present resources toward
    >organizing and negotiating contracts."
    >     Farm industry leaders welcomed the announcement, but said they
    >believe that the union's move amounts to a concession that the boycott
    >has failed to hurt the ever-expanding table grape business.
    >     "The bottom line is that it never worked. It wasn't effective," said
    >Bob Krauter, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation. "The
    >union just had to have something to say when they called it off."
    >     The boycott that ended this week was a pale imitation of two earlier
    >union table grape sanctions, which galvanized farm workers and liberals
    >as Chavez created the nation's first viable agricultural union.
    >     The first boycott began in Delano, Calif., in 1963, as the fledgling
    >union attempted to pressure growers to sign union contracts. UFW
    >activists traveled in caravans to cities across America. They picketed
    >in front of supermarkets, raising consciousness about farm workers and
    >becoming a favorite cause for college activists. Chavez called off that
    >first boycott in 1970, with the union in triumph and contracts in place
    >with the state's largest grape growers.
    >     But three years later, the boycott began again, this time with the
    >UFW on the defensive after losing most of its labor agreements to the
    >Teamsters Union, which signed sweetheart deals with growers.
    >     The second grape boycott overlapped with the union's call for
    >consumers to shun two other nonunion products--lettuce and Gallo wines.
    >Bumper stickers reading "No Grapes" (or, in Spanish, "No Uvas"), or
    >criticizing lettuce growers or the giant winemaker seemed like a
    >standard issue for many progressive activists.
    >     Again, a small army of activists traveled across the country to
    >promote the boycotts. One survey indicated that as many as 17 million
    >Americans weren't buying grapes, union officials said.
    >     In 1977, Chavez removed the sanctions against grapes, lettuce and
    >Gallo wines, again in apparent triumph, after the passage of a
    >California farm labor law that was considered the strongest in the
    >     It was in 1984 that the UFW leadership launched the third and
    >longest grape boycott, one that never had the focus or public support of
    >its predecessors. The union shifted the target of the strike--first
    >urging Gov. George Deukmejian to improve enforcement of the farm labor
    >law, then demanding more contracts with grape growers and, finally,
    >concentrating on the pesticide issue.
    >     At age 61 Chavez conducted his longest public fast--the 36-day "Fast
    >for Life"--and continued to press the boycott until his death five years
    >later in 1993.
    >     The third boycott initially was promoted in UFW mailers to millions
    >of households, but it never evoked the door-to-door spirit of its
    >predecessors. Over the years, the union devoted progressively less
    >attention to the boycott. Even some activists weren't sure if the ban on
    >grapes remained in place.
    >     "One boycott is on and the other is off. It's constantly shifting,"
    >said Phil Martin, a professor of agricultural economics at UC Davis. "It
    >becomes too complicated for the average person to figure out."
    >     Nonetheless, union leader Rodriguez said that three pesticides that
    >most concerned Chavez--Dinoseb, parathion and Phosdrin--are no longer
    >used in the fields. A fourth pesticide, methyl bromide, is to be phased
    >out and a fifth, Captan, is under much greater restriction.
    >     Those developments and the signing of a string of union contracts in
    >recent years were reason enough to drop the boycott and focus attention
    >on other issues, said Rodriguez, in what the union called "a message
    >timed for Thanksgiving."
    >     But grape growers said their business appeared to be unaffected by
    >the UFW's long campaign. Production increased 40% to 660,000 tons over
    >the last 16 years and the cash value of the California grape crop more
    >than doubled to $382 million, industry officials said.
    >     "It hasn't hindered or restricted sales at all," Krauter said.
    >     The end of the grape boycott leaves in place just one UFW
    >boycott--on mushrooms from the Pictsweet Mushroom Farm in Ventura. The
    >UFW has called on consumers not to buy the mushrooms since last summer,
    >part of the union's long-running effort to win a contract for 300
    >Pictsweet workers. Since the boycott, both Vons and the Ralphs Grocery
    >Co. have stopped carrying Pictsweet.
    >     Proving that old habits die hard, some union activists said they
    >would continue to shun table grapes.
    >     "Table grape workers continue to suffer poverty pay, poor working
    >conditions and mistreatment on the job," said UFW spokesman Marc
    >Grossman. "We look forward to the day where table grape workers too can
    >enjoy the blessings of organized labor."
    >* * *
    >The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    >Copyright: Los Angeles Times
    >La Opinion
    >Se levanta el boicot contra la uva
    >Sindicato campesino opta por buscar sus metas a travs de junta laboral
    >Armando E. Botello,
    >Corresponsal de La Opinin
    >Mircoles, 22 de noviembre de 2000
    >SACRAMENTO.- El boicot que durante los ltimos 16 aos ha llevado a cabo
    >el Sindicato de Campesinos (UFW) contra la industria de la uva de mesa
    >lleg el martes a su fin tras un repentino anuncio hecho por la
    >dirigencia del gremio, que fue recibido con indiferencia por el sector
    >El anuncio no significa que el sindicato cesar su lucha en favor de los
    >miles de campesinos que laboran en el cultivo y cosecha de dicha fruta,
    >sino que intentar hacerlo a travs de la recin constituida Junta de
    >Relaciones Laborales Agrcolas. De esta manera usar el respaldo
    >poltico que hasta ahora ha recibido del gobernador Davis y de los
    >mltiples legisladores latinos.
    >"Aun no estamos satisfechos con los sueldos ni con las condiciones de
    >trabajo en la industria de la uva, pero vamos a utilizar otros mtodos
    >para continuar tratando de mejorar esa situacin y la de otros
    >trabajadores campesinos", dijo a La Opinin el presidente del Sindicato
    >de Trabajadores Agrcolas (UFW), Arturo Rodrguez.
    >La conclusin de la medida de fuerza no fue motivo de celebracin dentro
    >de la industria agrcola, cuyos representantes expresaron que el boicot
    >haba sido inefectivo, ya que no haba mermado las ventas de la uva en
    >ningn momento.
    >"El final del boicot significa la admisin de que no atrajo mucha
    >atencin entre el consumidor y que no ha tenido efecto en la reduccin
    >de ventas de la uva", indic Bob Krauter, vocero de la Oficina Agrcola
    >de California.
    >Aunque Krauter dijo no contar con datos especficos sobre el volumen de
    >las ventas domsticas de la uva, pero afirm que en los aos en que se
    >sostuvo el boicot la exportacin de dicho producto ha aumentado en un
    >Un poco de historia
    >El ha sido una de las ms potentes armas utilizadas por el sindicato
    >durante sus ms de 30 aos de lucha para organizar a los campesinos y en
    >dos previas ocasiones, en los aos 60 y 70, ya se haba utilizado dicha
    >tctica contra las uvas de mesa. La primera ocasin para lograr
    >contratos laborales y la segunda para conseguir la ley de relaciones
    >laborales agrcola.
    >El anuncio del tercer boicot internacional contra la uva fue hecho en
    >septiembre de 1984 durante la sptima Convencin Constitucional del
    >Sindicato, realizada en Bakersfield, California, por su fundador y en
    >aquel entonces presidente, Csar Chvez.
    >"Hoy daremos principio a nuestra siguiente jornada con otro boicot
    >internacional contra [la industria de] la uva. No importa cuntos
    >obstculos encontraremos en nuestro camino -rancheros, jueces,
    >gobernadores- a todos les haremos frente sin temor", dijo Chvez en
    >aquel entonces.
    >Este tercer boicot contra la industria de la uva, a diferencia de los
    >anteriores, no solamente buscaba mejores contratos laborales sino que
    >tambin estaba dirigido contra el uso de pesticidas en los campos de
    >cosecha de dicho producto, los cuales ponan en peligro la salud de los
    >campesinos y del consumidor.
    >El final del boicot fue anunciado por medio de una carta enviada por
    >Arturo Rodrguez, presidente del sindicato, a Virginia Nesmith,
    >directora ejecutiva del Ministerio Nacional de Trabajadores Campesinos,
    >una institucin religiosa que por varios aos se ha dedicado a coordinar
    >los boicots del sindicato con grupos religiosos.
    >"El UFW no ha participado activamente en el boicot durante los ltimos
    >aos y respetamos su decisin", declar Nesmith a este medio
    >informativo. Rodrguez declara en la carta que varias de las metas
    >buscadas por el boicot han sido logradas, ya que tres de los pesticidas
    >ms peligrosos ya no son utilizados en los campos de uva, otro ms est
    >sealado para dejar de utilizarse en el ao 2005 y restricciones
    >bastante severas han sido impuestas para el uso de un quinto.
    >Adems, segn la misiva, el sindicato ha ganado 20 elecciones laborales
    >y ha firmado 24 nuevos contratos laborales, incluyendo uno que fue
    >pactado con la compaa vincola Gallo, que cubre a 450 trabajadores del
    >condado de Sonoma.
    >"Tambin tenemos una nueva esperanza para hacer cumplir de manera
    >efectiva y significativa la histrica ley laboral agrcola de California
    >a travs de los nuevos nominados por el gobernador Davis para formar
    >parte de la Junta de Relaciones Laborales Agrcolas", dijo Rodrguez en
    >su carta.
    >El presidente del sindicato tambin solicita en la carta el continuo
    >apoyo hacia el boicot contra los hongos comestibles marca Picksweet,
    >producidos en el condado Ventura.
    >Copyright: La
    >For more information on the Farm Worker Movement visit our web site at 
    >http://www.ufw.org and/or subscribe to the Farm Worker Movement list serve 
    >by sending an e-mail to UFW-subscribe@topica.com.  To unsubscribe send an 
    >e-mail to: UFW-unsubscribe@topica.com.

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