United Farm Workers - 1960s
During the early 1960s, the migrant farm workers still faced several injustices while working in the fields. Many of these Mexican workers worked under deplorable conditions such as not having water nor bathrooms available during the workday, no job security, low wages, and most harmful no benefits. These conditions plagued the farm worker and his family on a daily basis. Rarely did the workers receive the wages they deserved for their hard work. At this point in time, no organized union existed to assist the worker. The migrant farm workers, in turn, sought the leadership of a young farm worker by the name of César Chávez. Chávez decided that it was time to organize agricultural workers in the California area and demand comfortable wages and working conditions from their employers. Soon enough, the migrant farm workers of the Southwest and the rest of the country banned together to become active members of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). Had Chávez not had the support of the farm workers, then all of his efforts would have gone down in defeat.
In this time of organized unions and protests, the Mexican corridista took
of the issue at hand. It is evident in the corridos sung by the workers
Chávez helped create a unity among the workers and their families.
The workers protested against the rich companies and their unjust ways.
This is best illustrated in
the corrido: Corrido de la causa. The corrido begins with the llamada
is the beckoning of ears to come listen to the story of the farm worker.
introductory stanza, the migrant worker says he will explain why they were
sent to jail
and the reasons behind their protest. Throughout this corrido, the
the farm workers' cause is highlighted. The worker demands a better
living for him and his family. In the following stanzas, the personaje
recalls the date of the
protest and the unjust laws the companies constantly throw at them.
the consequences the farm worker faces, he still demands an improved life
family before giving in to the unjust employer. At the head of this
struggle is César Chávez.
Chávez leads his fellow farm worker into the protest with the black
and red flag
of freedom. This (UFW) flag stands as a symbol of hope for the children of
the United Farm Workers. Through this struggle, the personaje will either
protest by striking
or boycotting. The migrant worker is willing to die in his struggle for a
Cathy A. Vasquez
UT History student