The real Ceasar Chavez in 1984 – What NYSED won’t tell its students.


Note: This article assumes you have read the Engageny lesson plan on Caesar Chavez. If you haven’t read our previous articles, please begin here.

A warning from 14 years ago:


Duncan West speaking with Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. Duncan represented the Teamsters who were supporting the UFW and condemning their IBT leadership for working as thugs against a fellow union. Source Wikipedia

“One should also be worried about the second half of the bill which requires that the “curricula of every school …include instruction on Cesar Chavez and the history of the farm labor movement in the United States. …” Such a curriculum has already been produced by the UFW for use in our schools and it is replete with fabrications, distortions and outright lies about pesticides, the farm industry, the condition of farm workers, the UFW and the life of Cesar Chavez.” – “Render unto Cesar” Assemblyman Steve Baldwin (R) California’s 77th assembly district.


With that in mind, here is a little bit of liberal media context of Mr. Chavez’s world *within 1 year before and one month after the Commonwealth speech . These are not op-ed hack jobs or publisher editorials, the NY Times is reporting on what is factually happening in California with the UFW and Mr. Chavez.


To summarize Mr. Chavez in 1984:

  • He has an unsolvable non-union – illegal alien labor problem that is pressuring wages and membership.
  • There are waiting lists for work. Illegal labor and oversupply of labor are perpetual themes in Engageny books and never discussed.
  • His union is tiny.
  • He has lost many of his top people.
  • He is losing some “control” on the pro Chavez state labor board.
  • The teamsters, (who nearly wiped him out 7 years earlier) are back and are saying, move over… you failed.
  • He’s embroiled in a contract battle with lettuce grower Bruce Church, not over wages but allegedly over the union demand to fire workers who fail to give a days pay for political contributions.
  • The workers are losing their jobs over the effects of a direct mail boycott campaign where Chavez is blanketing the country with letters claiming workers are being exploited (This activity produces an epic 17 year lawsuit)
  • His new focus is consumerism, table grape pesticides and sexual harassment. The pesticides issue turns out to be full of non truths and called a hoax by competing union leaders.
  • He’s suing the liberal Village Voice after they expose a few nasty things… Some of which can be found here:  “Render unto Cesar” Assemblyman Steve Baldwin
  • He announces a new grape boycott action and says if it doesn’t work his union is over.

This is all recorded history. If you re-read the speech, you’ll find much of the NY Times UFW/Chavez conflicts with propaganda speech Chavez.  When placed in context, the speech looks more like a desperate “Hail Mary” by a man who will say anything that he thinks might help him. None of this is explained in the Engageny curriculum or in the classroom. This lesson is being presented across NY state classrooms as fact when it is complete garbage at the expense of the future and the taxpayer.


One final quote for NY parents and taxpayers to consider:

“But UFW’s tactics often went beyond pressure tactics. A search of major newspaper archives from the ’60s and ’70s involving the UFW make it clear that the UFW was a teamster type of union which did not hesitate to use thuggery to achieve its ends. Even the declassified FBI files on Chavez — a few thousand pages — reveal numerous incidents of violence directed against both growers and farm workers reluctant to vote for a UFW contract. The FBI files and press accounts describe beatings, overturned cars, throwing Molotov cocktails, torching fields, and other such tactics.”


Related pages for the Engageny 7th grade Caesar Chavez Commonwealth speech :


* Although the dates on the NY Times articles suggest both were published in 1984, the second article makes the statement that the Teamsters declined to renew their peace agreement “last summer”.  For our purposes, the world of Mr. Chavez at the time of the speech has not changed. If anything he’s had some time to learn how to live with the teamsters.

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