- For LIUNA Leaders
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Washington, DC (March 31, 2015): Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan today made the following statement regarding the 88th Anniversary of the birth of the United Farm Workers’ founder Cesar Chavez.
Today our nation celebrates the birth of a true giant of justice: Cesar Estrada Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers’ Union (UFW). Cesar Chavez was an extraordinary labor leader, civil rights activist, and human being who not only transformed the lives of tens of thousands of farm workers, but transformed our great nation and our world.
While we work in different industries, the parallels between Cesar Chavez and the founders of LIUNA are striking. Both organized the so-called “un-organizable.” Both opened their arms and their organizations to people that others shunned. And, like all great warriors for the working class, both Cesar Chavez and the founders of LIUNA understood that success for working people lies in collective advancement.
Cesar Chavez called attention to the terrible plight of migrant farm workers, turning a simple battle for labor rights into a broader campaign for civil and human rights. He literally put his life on the line for his beliefs, engaging in several hunger strikes that raised awareness, even as they ravaged his health. Like Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he utilized the immense power of nonviolent direct action to bring about social change.
Cesar Chavez left us far too soon, and it falls to those of us who are awed and inspired by his life to continue his work. That is why LIUNA has joined with the UFW, other unions, and various organizations to call for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to full citizenship. We continue to fight the exploitation of temporary workers, whether in the fields or on construction sites.