United Farm Workers Convention 1979-02-00

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These tapes of the 1979 United Farms Workers Convention in Pharr, Texas, consist of proceedings, resolutions and speeches made by Cesar Chavez, Jim and Rebecca Harrington, Gilberto Padilla, Felix Sanchez and other leaders in the UFW. Note: Some of these tapes are in Spanish.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: United Farm Workers Convention

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: February 1979

Location: Pharr, Texas

Interviewer: Speakers at UFW Convention

Length: 5 hours 43 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Estela Valdez Blanca (1st speaker), Northwest Department Director, Olga Sierra (2nd speaker, from Illinois), President of the UFW’s National Ministry’s Board of Directors, Prayer, Felix Sanchez (3rd speaker), Monte Alto committee member, Welcome speech, Topics of the convention, Farm workers’ rights, Treatment, Salaries, Discrimination, Benefits, Unifying forces, Carmen Lopez (4th speaker), Santa Rosa Committee Secretary, Introduction of Cesar Chavez, UFW President and leader, Cesar Chavez (5th speaker), Introduction of Gilberto Padilla, Secretary and treasurer of UFW, Gilberto Padilla (6th speaker), First UFW meeting in San Juan, Texas (February 25, 1979; Pharr, Texas), The importance of "The Farm Worker" (speech), Agenda for the convention, Rebecca Harrington (7th speaker), Credential report, Motions, Eduardo Garcia, Colonia Nueva de Dona Committee, Rebecca de la Rosa, Balboa Acres Committee, Miguel Lozano (8th speaker), Rules of the Committee, Roberto Ramirez, Adoption of the Constitution, Rules of the Convention, Marta Elena Santoy seconds the notion and the rules are adopted, Order Official, Seed Russell.

Tape 1, Side 2: Cesar Chavez, Report on the temporary rules to get jobs for the organizing committee, Union work starts with an organizing committee, finishes with a ranch committee, Jim Harrington, Organizing Committees’ rules, Explanation of the promoted rules, Organizing Committees’ objectives, Antonio Rojas, Agrarian Committee from Monte Alto, Organizing Committee’s objectives, Promote salaries and working conditions, Recruit more union members, Work for legislation that benefits the worker, Organize one strong, national union, Camarino Alvarez seconds the motion, and the rules are approved, 3rd part, rules: Articles concerning the committees and the union, Estefana Roblero, Membership report, Acceptance of the membership committee’s rules, Felix Sanchez, Monte Alto seconds the motion, and it is approved, Part 4 of the rules, Structure of each committee, Maria Isabella Arbitua, from Colonial Small #2, Officers of each committee, Officers’ jobs, Acceptance of these officers and committee rules, Ruben Martinez, from Monte Alto, seconds the motion.

Tape 2, Side 1: Part 5 of the rules: presented by Ms. Romo, Hector Sanchez, from Monte Alto, seconds the motion and the rules are adopted, Part 6 of the rules: strikes, Antonio Rojas explains the strikes, Felix Sanchez, from Monte Alto, seconds the motion, and the rule is passed, Part 1 of the rules: Organizing Committees, Jim Harrington (again) are created from the National Constitution of the Union; each organizing committee must write its name, address and jurisdiction, Each committee will have its own flag with the eagle of the union, the union’s colors, the name of the union, and the name of the organizing committee, Last set of rules: These rules must be in agreement with the National, Constitution of the Union, and if there is any conflict, the president of the Union will interpret the rules, Estefana Roblero seconds the motion; the first and last set of rules are passed, Cesar Chavez talks about: February 10, 1979, in a lettuce camp in California, Rufino Contreras was killed for asking for better salaries, Strikes, The Union’s condition, September 30, 1962: 1st syndicate held in California, September 2, 1975: National law that allowed farm, workers to organize themselves started in California, August 15, 1973: Nagi Daifala was killed, A grape strike, August 16, 1973: Juan de la Cruz was killed, Farm workers’ benefits needed in Texas.

Tape 2, Side 2: Farm benefits needed in Texas (continued), Inflation, Social contracts, Unemployment compensation, Medical pension plan, Stability insurance, Politics, Political fund, Syndicate started (1962), UFW’s goals: The unification of all workers to one union under the Black Eagle, The negotiation of contracts with salaries, hours and working conditions, The protection of rights at all times, The cooperation with other unions, The promotion of better government and public understanding, The participation in union, The promotion of political and civic action, The promotion of women’s equal participation in the syndicate, (Recording stops half way).

Tape 3, Side 1: Promotion of only one union for the cause, Songs of the union, Oath taking from the new organizing committees’, Directors, Patent letters presentation, Songs of the Union (again), Rev. James Sugg, Texas Director of the Religious Conference, Bill Chandler, Hospital Workers’ syndicate, Sister Helen Vocalminner from Notre Dame, Urban Ministry Catholic Conference, Sister Teresa Gercowitz, from Michigan, farm workers’ director, Arthur Letmen, Hospital Union, John Lathy, Michigan Immigration President, Phyllis Gifford, form the United Church Women, Roberto Pina, Executive Director of the Catholic Bishop’s Regional Office, Lynn Kate, State Officer and Commissioner of the Labor and Standards Department, Fred Ross, organizer, CTM—Confederation of Mexican Workers (Confederacion de Trabajadores Mexicanos), Tomas Moreno Angel (speaker), Manuel M. Navarro.

Tape 3, Side 2: Tomas Moreno, speaker, Rebecca Harrington introduction of honorary guest, Harry Hubert, President of the Union Federation in Texas, (Recording stops half way).

Tape 4, Side 1: Harry Hubert’s speech (continued), AFL-CIO, Farm workers’ ID card, Resolutions, Gilberto Padilla, Secretary/Treasurer of the National Syndicate, Resolution Committee, Resolution #1, higher salaries, Resolution #3, Medical Insurance Plan, Resolution #9, Give farm workers equality in respect, dignity, and justice, Resolution # 6, sanitary conditions, Resolution, #8, cold drinking water and clean glasses, Senator Raul Longoria, speaker, Urges organization and voting, Richard Daley, Catholic Conference Director of Texas, Father Tom Patton, Confederation Council of Catholic Fathers.

Tape 4, Side 2: Pancho Medrano, member of the Syndicate, the UWA and the United Auto Workers, Sister Rosemary Salazar, Catholic Conference Secretary, Dennis Dobbs, Central Conference President, Juan Ramirez, Raul Rios, Roger Kirsk, Irenio Flores, Nick Kirckle, Gilberto Padilla introduces Archbishop George Higgins, Washington D. C.’s Catholic Bishop Committee on Farm Labor, (Recording stops half way).

Tape 5, Side 1: Archbishop George Higgins (continued), Labor movement, The CIO, New Bracero Program, UFL, Secretary of Labor Mitchell, Bracero Program abolished (1964), Cesar Chavez and wife’s visit with Pope Paul VI, International support, The Mural of the Convention, Roy Burg from Peoria, Illinois, Sister Ninfa Garza, Hispanic Sisters’ Organization, Rev. Frank Navy, Texas Protestant Church Conference, Lou King, Dallas Immigration Committee, Roy Holt, Catholic Church of the Disciples of Christ Regional Office’s representative, Frank Briones, from the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, Other special guests, Resolutions (continued),

  1. 2, guarantee of work,
  2. 10, no age discrimination,
  3. 7, no favoritism,
  4. 5, old age pension plan,
  5. 18 religious support.

Tape 5, Side 2: Armando Casares, Resolutions (continued),

  1. 19, AFL-CIO, solidarity,
  2. 15, support Coors Beer boycott,

Manuel Narvalles, Steel Workers’ Union Director, Maria Valdez Fisher, Teacher’s Union President, Roger Loton, Teacher’s Union Vice-President, Rev. Leo Nieto, Methodist Church’s Representative, Songs, Mass, (recording stops half way).

Tape 6, Side 1: Resolutions (continued),

  1. 16, only one union,

Special guests, Songs, Juan Maldonado, San Juan, Texas Mayor, Resolutions (continued),

  1. 11, Union Center in Reyenosa and Tamaulipas,
  2. 12, Union Centers in Pecos and Presidio, Texas.

Tape 6, Side 2: Blank

Tape 7, Side 1: Resolutions (continued),

  1. 13, establish a union center in Cameron County, Texas,
  2. 14, establish a union center in Starr County, Texas,

Jim Harrington introduces Juan Arandas, United Steel Worker in El Paso, Texas, Juan Arrandas’ speech, Resolution #23, resist efforts to establish a new Bracero Program.

Tape 7, Side 2: Blank

Tape 8, Side 1: Non-violence" speech by Cesar Chavez (continued), Courage, Resolution #17, no violence in the Union, Resolution #26, Unemployment compensation for Texas Farm Workers, Resolution #27, health insurance for Texas Farm Workers, Resolution #25, labor compensation, Resolution #31, give thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Harrington.

Tape 8, Side 2: Blank

Tape 9, Side 1: Greeting the children and special guest, Songs, Union’s mural by Houston’s Supporting Committee, Special thanks to Cesar Chavez, Resolution Committee, Jokes concerning the United Farm Workers, End of the convention.

Tape 9, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: February 1979

Bulk Dates: February 1979

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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