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Cesar Chavez – Union Leader

Cesar Chavez Student Center – SFSU

For many years, Cesar Chavez Student Center has been providing support for interns. The CCSC program provides mentorship and job training via paid internships for at-risk youth in San Francisco. For more than a decade, the Student Center has assisted young adults with getting-back-to-school programs career assessment tests to help them with better career choices.

Some three to five students additionally will have the opportunity to be active in the Student Center for half a year so they will achieve valuable work experience and to improve their communications skills. They are active as site operator-assistants and help the center’s operations team maintain the center’s building during busy lunch hours when thousands of students use the facilities. The center offers career quizzes at no charge to see what could be their best career track options.

Cesar Chavez Student Center is named after the famed labor organizer and union leader Cesar Chavez who dedicated all of his life to improving working conditions, treatment, and earnings for farm workers. Cesar Chavez is known for the phrase “If you wish to make a real friend, go to somebody’s house and eat with him…People who offer you their food are offering you their heart.”

Cesario Estrada Chavez was born on in Arizona on March 31, 1927. He used nonviolent methods to point to the farmworkers’situation and founded the National Farm Workers Association which later on was renamed United Farm Workers. In his role as a labor leader, Chavez was leading marches, went on hunger strikes, and organized boycotts. Cesar understood the hardships and humiliations that farm workers had to endure because as a young man, Cesar and his family worked the farm fields themselves as migrant workers. It is generally believed that his hunger strikes contributed considerably to Cesar’s death in 1993 (April 23, San Luis, Arizona).

Chavez worked as a labor and community organizer during the 1950s and in 1962, he established the National Farm Workers Association. This organization joined forces with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to achieve a stronger position during the first strike against California grape growers in 1965. In 1966, the two labor unions merged and the new organization was named the United Farm Workers in 1972. In early 1968, Chavez called for a national boycott of California table grape growers. Chavez’s battle with the grape growers for improved compensation and labor conditions would last for years. At the end, Chavez and his union won several victories for the workers when many growers signed contracts with the union. He faced more challenges through the years from other growers and the Teamsters Union. All the while, he continued to oversee the union and work to advance his cause.

Chavez became known for his call for a boycott of table grapes produced by California’s growers in early 1968. His battle with the California grape growers was about getting better working conditions and improved compensation for the workers and this conflict lasted for years. Chavez, together with his union, was victorious on many occasions for the farm workers and many grape growers were forced to sign contracts at the union’s conditions. Cesar faced many more challenges during his years as a union worker and quite a few other growers, as well as the Teamsters Union, opposed his actions. Chaves nevertheless went on overseeing the union’s activities to advance the good cause.

Chavez always employed nonviolent methods and also brought the dangers of working with pesticides to the national awareness. His dedication and commitment to the farm workers’ cause earned him countless supporters and friends, including Jesse Jackson and Robert Kennedy. Cesar Chavez died on April 23, 1993, in San Luis, Arizona.

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