English Subtitles for TEDxFruitvale - Arturo Rodriguez - Why We Need Unions More Than Ever



Subtitles / Closed Captions - English

<font color="#CCCCCC">really hosting this event and their</font>

vision in terms of bringing<font color="#CCCCCC"> farmworkers</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">together and so many other issues that</font> we have<font color="#E5E5E5"> today</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> it's</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> really an honor to be</font> your enjoying with all these folks and we have a number of<font color="#CCCCCC"> bomb workers from</font> companies where<font color="#E5E5E5"> they're working under</font>

union contract<font color="#E5E5E5"> in the strawberries and</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">gallop sonoma appreciate their</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">participation with us here today</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> you</font> know the title<font color="#CCCCCC"> meant of this conference</font> is harvesting change and there's a lot to talk about but one basic theme that

we've learned from<font color="#E5E5E5"> bit</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> the</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> beginning is</font> that you need to empower<font color="#CCCCCC"> farmworkers</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> so</font> that's what<font color="#CCCCCC"> I'm going to talk about</font> different ways that<font color="#E5E5E5"> we've tried to do</font> that throughout our history<font color="#E5E5E5"> but</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> I</font> wouldn't want<font color="#E5E5E5"> to just take a moment</font>

because<font color="#CCCCCC"> oftentimes</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> people will ask well</font> how<font color="#E5E5E5"> did you get engaged in this</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> why</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> are</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">you a part of this</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> farmer movement and I</font> had my humble beginnings<font color="#E5E5E5"> back in</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> san</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">antonio texas</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> our parish priest Father</font> Marvin Dorfler<font color="#E5E5E5"> went down to the</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> Rio</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">Grande Valley to participate in one of</font> the strikes<font color="#E5E5E5"> that was taking place back</font> then in the<font color="#E5E5E5"> melon fields anybody</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> went</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> to</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">join in a</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> march</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> then he got arrested and</font> then he stayed in jail for a while and came back<font color="#CCCCCC"> until point this is exciting</font>

this is great <font color="#E5E5E5">what says that</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> javis is doing this is</font> what non-violence is all about he was really living the gospel is the way he told us<font color="#E5E5E5"> and so I saw like so many</font> others when I went to college was

looking for ways to do something that would make a change that would utilize my talents and<font color="#CCCCCC"> the skills and the</font> opportunities that I had that so many others didn't have so I became one of those boycotters<font color="#E5E5E5"> back in the nineteen</font>

sixties<font color="#E5E5E5"> and in the seventies and then</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> I</font> had<font color="#E5E5E5"> a chance to meet Richard</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> chaves</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">Caesars brother</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> and upon graduating he</font> said you know what<font color="#CCCCCC"> a</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> total come to work</font> with us for six months<font color="#E5E5E5"> six months that</font> was the way they got us all in<font color="#E5E5E5"> six</font>

months became now 38 years but<font color="#E5E5E5"> I've</font> never regretted a moment but it really taught me <font color="#E5E5E5">the power of these boycotts because out</font> of those boycotts we got our first <font color="#CCCCCC">contract</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> ever for farm workers in the</font>

fields<font color="#E5E5E5"> we were able to deal with issues</font> like pesticides as we heard earlier today<font color="#E5E5E5"> to control the use of cancer birth</font> defect causing chemicals<font color="#E5E5E5"> we were able to</font> do with the sexual harassment of women that takes place in the exploitation of

women and other workers to deal with issues like wages and benefits like<font color="#E5E5E5"> a</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">health plan and</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> Health and Safety</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">Committee</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> so that we control the use of</font> things<font color="#E5E5E5"> so there was a lot of benefits</font> that came as a result of involving<font color="#E5E5E5"> at</font>

one point a national survey said 17 million<font color="#CCCCCC"> Americans in</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> the mid-seventies</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">were participating in our boycotts in</font> some particular way and it also<font color="#CCCCCC"> won us</font> the opportunity to have the first opportunity for<font color="#CCCCCC"> farmworkers get the</font>

right to<font color="#E5E5E5"> organize</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> here</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> in the</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> United</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">States and that came in</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> 1975 through a</font> lot of sacrifice that farm workers made to be able to achieve that<font color="#E5E5E5"> and with that</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">then we began winning elections and so</font> forth but we also learned that by

winning legislation that wasn't going to be enough<font color="#E5E5E5"> that the contracts were</font> important so we had to figure out and <font color="#CCCCCC">I'll tell</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> the short story about a woman</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">to kind of illustrates what even laws</font> exist<font color="#CCCCCC"> those laws often times that are on</font>

the books<font color="#CCCCCC"> are really not the laws that</font> exist in the fields for the<font color="#E5E5E5"> farmworkers</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">2005</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> we were able to get</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> finally a heat</font> stress law passed<font color="#E5E5E5"> here in the state of</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">California</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> but a young woman</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> might ease</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">of an apostasy many as</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> 17</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> year-old</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">Oaxacan immigrant she was pregnant was</font> working in the wine grape fields in the northern<font color="#CCCCCC"> San Joaquin Valley she went</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> to</font> work that morning at 6am as usual but by 1030am the<font color="#E5E5E5"> be Foreman's</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> still hadn't</font> brought the<font color="#E5E5E5"> workers water and it was one</font>

of those days<font color="#E5E5E5"> in</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> May</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> of 2008 that the</font> temperature was extremely high<font color="#E5E5E5"> so by</font> mid-afternoon<font color="#E5E5E5"> it was already a hundred</font> and five degrees plus<font color="#CCCCCC"> there</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> they didn't</font> get the rest that day they should have they didn't have the shade like the law

said<font color="#E5E5E5"> and as a result she collapsed in</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">the appeals</font> by<font color="#E5E5E5"> mid-afternoon and then at that point</font> the<font color="#CCCCCC"> foreman didn't do</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> what he was</font> supposed to do<font color="#CCCCCC"> didn't call</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> 911</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> didn't</font> get her to emergency<font color="#E5E5E5"> didn't take her to</font>

a clinic<font color="#E5E5E5"> and so consequently she stayed</font> there in the fields<font color="#E5E5E5"> was eventually</font> taking over to the band that<font color="#E5E5E5"> had been</font> sitting in that hot Sun all day long so it was like an oven<font color="#E5E5E5"> when they got in</font> there at the end of the<font color="#E5E5E5"> workday and</font>

finally the<font color="#CCCCCC"> Foreman said well take heard</font> by the<font color="#E5E5E5"> drugstore and get</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> her some</font> rubbing alcohol and put that on and see what that does well that didn't do anything to really relieved<font color="#E5E5E5"> the the pain</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> than</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> and what was</font>

going on with me<font color="#CCCCCC"> Savelle</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> so</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> finding</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> her</font> boyfriend<font color="#CCCCCC"> Florentino convinced the</font> driver that we gotta take her to a clinic well in<font color="#E5E5E5"> route the foreman calls the</font> driver and says make sure that he does

not say anything about where<font color="#CCCCCC"> money</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">Isabel was working</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> make sure that he</font> says that he found her<font color="#CCCCCC"> what she</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> was</font> exercising while she was jogging<font color="#E5E5E5"> when</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">they got to the clinic they took her in</font> they found<font color="#CCCCCC"> out that our</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> body temperature</font>

was a hundred and eight point<font color="#E5E5E5"> eight</font> degrees you can just imagine what the inside of her body looked like at that point well unfortunately<font color="#E5E5E5"> money Isabel died 22</font> days later and it was another tragic

story<font color="#CCCCCC"> in</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> fact just in this state alone</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">16 farmers</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> have died since 2005 of heat</font> stress<font color="#E5E5E5"> this year we're investigating</font> three more deaths<font color="#E5E5E5"> we know that we can't</font> rely on the state there's just not enough money<font color="#E5E5E5"> the government's going to</font>

apply to the enforcement of laws<font color="#E5E5E5"> so</font> that's why it becomes so important to get contracts to get agreements with growers to<font color="#E5E5E5"> set up standards to ensure</font> that they're going to abide by the law so we're enforcing the law so as a

result of that now we have strawberry workers<font color="#CCCCCC"> here</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> from one of the largest</font> strawberry farms here in the state of <font color="#CCCCCC">California we have the</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> largest organic</font> farmer<font color="#E5E5E5"> here</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">Swan berry farm</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> we have workers at</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">gallup sonoma</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> the largest winery here in</font> the state<font color="#CCCCCC"> we have now representation</font> with one of the largest vegetable companies in the state<font color="#E5E5E5"> we have</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">seventy-five percent of the mushroom</font> industry here in the state

<font color="#E5E5E5">California under contract and then we</font> have the largest dairy<font color="#E5E5E5"> west of the</font> Mississippi<font color="#E5E5E5"> in the state of</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> Oregon under</font> contract so gives us an opportunity to really set standards and<font color="#CCCCCC"> said controls</font> for<font color="#CCCCCC"> farmworkers</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> but again</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> farmers today</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">are</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> continuing to want to organize one</font> election<font color="#E5E5E5"> that recently happened</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> with it</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">tomorrow</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> vineyards and two of the 16</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">farmers that</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> I've mentioned that died of</font> heat stress<font color="#E5E5E5"> worked at that farm and the</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">workers said you know that's enough so</font>

you did a tremendous job of going out and organizing<font color="#E5E5E5"> their their company and</font> they got eighty percent of the workers to sign<font color="#E5E5E5"> sign up saying they wanted a</font> voice on the job they<font color="#E5E5E5"> wanted represented</font> representation for the<font color="#E5E5E5"> United</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> Farm</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">Workers</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> they held their election seven</font> days later and there was so much intimidation coercion and threats<font color="#E5E5E5"> that</font> took place <font color="#E5E5E5">the girl was telling</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> him</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> that if you</font> vote for the<font color="#CCCCCC"> Union we're going to pull</font>

out all the vineyards<font color="#CCCCCC"> if you vote for</font> the<font color="#CCCCCC"> Union we're going to tear down all</font> the labor camps<font color="#CCCCCC"> so you don't have any</font> housing<font color="#E5E5E5"> if you vote for the</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> Union you're</font> not<font color="#E5E5E5"> going to have a job</font> this next<font color="#E5E5E5"> year in the pruning season so</font>

workers being without legal status<font color="#CCCCCC"> in</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">this country felt intimidated course and</font> the<font color="#E5E5E5"> they need a job they can't function</font> without a job<font color="#CCCCCC"> so consequently when the</font> election happened<font color="#E5E5E5"> seven days later that</font> eighty percent<font color="#CCCCCC"> went down to</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> forty-eight</font>

percent<font color="#CCCCCC"> we lost</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> thirty two percent and</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">seven days if any politician would be an</font> election campaign like that and they lost that percentage<font color="#E5E5E5"> they knew something</font> was wrong<font color="#CCCCCC"> they knew something happened</font> that really changed the dynamics of what

was taking place there and the enthusiasm of the workers<font color="#E5E5E5"> so as a result</font> we filed<font color="#E5E5E5"> and we got the state to throw</font> out the election and but they said also look you know that<font color="#CCCCCC"> there's no remedy</font> here all the only thing we can do is

that we can order a new election to take place well we don't need the law to be able to do that we have that right already so we knew that we had to reform this law and look for other ways to make

changes<font color="#CCCCCC"> so then we got together with the</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">farm workers and we</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> decided you know</font> what<font color="#E5E5E5"> we've got to introduce you</font> legislation and put pressure so that we can have that right to<font color="#E5E5E5"> organize five</font> times we introduce laws<font color="#CCCCCC"> five times the</font>

<font color="#E5E5E5">governor's</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> schwarzenegger and jerry</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">brown during</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> his first first few months</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">veto that</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> law here recently we decide</font> well<font color="#E5E5E5"> we gotta do something more so</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">farmworkers like Alejandra Velasquez</font> here with us today we decided to<font color="#E5E5E5"> march</font>

and<font color="#E5E5E5"> we embarked on a 200 mile march that</font> took us<font color="#E5E5E5"> 13 days in august of this year</font> during the<font color="#E5E5E5"> the heat of the Sun</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> walking</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">Valley days were well over a hundred</font> degrees and we went and we did what we know best

<font color="#E5E5E5">we went and involved the</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> farm workers</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">and we went involved people from all</font> over the place to build that coalition that was necessary to bring about the pressure to legislators and make sure the governor heard<font color="#E5E5E5"> our voice and so</font>

during the march it was such an emotional experience<font color="#E5E5E5"> a very religious</font> one<font color="#E5E5E5"> because people came from their homes</font> people<font color="#E5E5E5"> join with us people fed us every</font> single day<font color="#E5E5E5"> we'd go to restaurants we ate</font> right there in the parks<font color="#E5E5E5"> in their homes</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">in</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> their halls and their church halls</font> and things like that at night<font color="#E5E5E5"> they would take us to their</font> homes to sleep<font color="#E5E5E5"> the next</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> morning they</font> would join with us in marching or join with us in some religious service to

<font color="#E5E5E5">market</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> to</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> prepare us for that day but it</font> really taught us once again<font color="#E5E5E5"> the value of</font> working with people and having faith and believing in people<font color="#E5E5E5"> and so consequently</font> there was so much emotion and so much excitement<font color="#E5E5E5"> that by the time we got the</font>

<font color="#CCCCCC">circular mental</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> 1 sep tember the fourth</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">we had over 5000</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> people that</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> joined us</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">their</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> farm workers from throughout the</font> state came and were<font color="#CCCCCC"> part of that</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> and</font> that impressed<font color="#CCCCCC"> the governor</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> that showed</font> the governor that<font color="#CCCCCC"> were not standing</font>

alone<font color="#E5E5E5"> that we have lots of people there</font> that are supporting the work that we do and he heard the voice of<font color="#CCCCCC"> farmworkers so</font> as a result<font color="#E5E5E5"> we got him to sign just this</font> past<font color="#CCCCCC"> Sunday sp1 26</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> which talks about</font> justice for<font color="#CCCCCC"> farm workers</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> and as a result</font>

now<font color="#E5E5E5"> with</font> that legislation<font color="#CCCCCC"> farm workers when they</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">go have an election they can vote and</font> they know that if the grower violates the law<font color="#E5E5E5"> the state has a right to give us</font> a contract immediately so that is going

to bring about significant change for <font color="#CCCCCC">farm workers</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> and give them the</font> encouragement and the hope that we can and we do have a solution to really be able to change those conditions to deal with the issues that they face every day

whether its heat stress<font color="#E5E5E5"> pesticides</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">sexual harassment wages working</font> conditions<font color="#E5E5E5"> farmers will have a solution</font> to their problem<font color="#CCCCCC"> and to their issue</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> so</font> we<font color="#CCCCCC"> are very honored again to be with you</font> and to share with you just some of the

tools that we've used throughout the last<font color="#E5E5E5"> 50 years next year we celebrate our</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">50th anniversary and we are going to be</font> enjoying and bringing together people to celebrate the history<font color="#E5E5E5"> but more important</font> talk about what we're doing now and

today and to work with folks and to ensure that we can really significantly <font color="#E5E5E5">continue to bring about solutions for</font> changes for farm workers here in the <font color="#CCCCCC">United States and to</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> ensure those</font> victories that are necessary<font color="#E5E5E5"> if</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> you're</font>

<font color="#E5E5E5">interested and being a part of our</font> movement<font color="#CCCCCC"> if you're</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> interested in being a</font> part of that<font color="#E5E5E5"> 50th anniversary</font> please go to our website you have w.org <font color="#E5E5E5">and become part of our free</font><font color="#CCCCCC"> listserv so</font> that you can also protect and join with

<font color="#CCCCCC">farm workers in creating a better future</font> for themselves but also creating a better future for consumers here throughout the<font color="#CCCCCC"> United States thank you</font> <font color="#E5E5E5">very much</font> <font color="#CCCCCC">SI SE puede</font><font color="#E5E5E5"> it can be done</font>



Video Description

The laws on the books are often not the laws that exist in the fields for farmworkers. Sixteen California farmworkers have died of heat stress since 2005, when a law requiring shade was passed. Farmworkers need to band together to look out for their own interests.

About Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers:
Arturo continues to build the union César Chávez founded into a powerful voice for immigrant workers. Rodriguez has more than 37 years experience organizing farm workers, negotiating UFW contracts and leading numerous farmworker boycott and political drives across North America. He began serving full time with the UFW in 1973, when he first met Chávez, who became his mentor for 20 years. Since the Texas native took over the helm of the UFW upon the passing of its legendary founder in 1993, Rodriguez has increased union membership with an aggressive organizing and negotiating campaign. Among recent UFW victories under Rodriguez's leadership are agreements with one of the nation's top five largest vegetable growers, the biggest strawberry employer in the United States, the country's largest winery, the biggest dairy in the U.S., as well as winery workers in Washington state and mushroom workers in Florida.

This talk is part of Session Two: Movement for TEDxFruitvale, which was held on October 14, 2011 at Mills College in Oakland, CA. The conference's theme was Harvesting Change, and it focused on farmworkers, labor and other social justice movements, and fair labor practices in business. http://www.tedxfruitvale.org/

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