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Arturo S. Rodríguez
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As president of the United Farm Workers, Arturo S. Rodriguez is continuing to build the union Cesar Chavez founded into a powerful voice for immigrant workers by increasing its membership and pushing historic legislation on immigration reform and worker rights.

Rodriguez is leading the UFW in bringing about meaningful change for farm workers by making it easier for them to organize and negotiate union contracts. He seeks to fundamentally transform American agriculture by creating jobs offering workers decent pay, comprehensive health coverage, retirement security, protections against toxic poisons, job security and guarantees against discrimination and sexual harassment. Under Rodriguez, the UFW is working to offer innovative alternative representation through benefits and services, and to extend innovative representation to workers temporarily brought to work in U.S. agriculture. His goal is also preserving America’s food supply through a strong and viable agricultural industry.

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 top U.S. rose producer, 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.

Recent historic UFW legislative achievements include a 2011 law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown helping farm worker organize when growers deny them the right to have a union; a 2002 California law signed by then-Gov. Gray Davis letting farm workers call in neutral arbitrators to hammer out union contracts when growers refuse to negotiate agreements; a 2005 regulation the UFW convinced Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to issue, the first state regulation in the nation to help prevent farm and other outdoor workers from dying or becoming ill because of extreme heat; and the bipartisan broadly backed AgJobs bill before Congress negotiated with the nation’s growers to allow undocumented farm workers the permanent legal right to stay in this country by continuing to work in agriculture.

The veteran farm labor organizer was first introduced to Cesar Chavez through his parish priest in his hometown of San Antonio in 1966. He became active with the UFW's grape boycott as a student at St. Mary’s University in 1969. At the University of Michigan in 1971, where he earned an M.A. degree in social work, Rodriguez organized support for farm worker boycotts. He began serving full time with the UFW in 1973, when he first met Chavez, who became his mentor for 20 years. Rodriguez has more than 35 years experience organizing farm workers, negotiating UFW contracts and leading numerous farm worker boycott and political drives across North America.

Rodriguez and his wife Sonia live near the UFW’s headquarters at Keene, in California Tehachapi Mountains.

Entries by Arturo S. Rodríguez

Farm Workers Get Same Pesticide Protections as Other U.S. Workers Under Rules Announced by UFW, Obama Administration

(1) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 3:15 PM

Farm workers across the nation will finally be afforded nearly all the protections from pesticides other American workers have enjoyed for years under new rules announced Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I was privileged to join EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez for today's announcement...

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Better Enforcement of Farmworker Heat Rules as UFW and Brown Administration Settle Lawsuit

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 8:48 PM

Timelier, more effective, and more consistent inspections of farm and other outdoor worksites under California's recently improved heat-illness-prevention regulations will follow the settlement of two lawsuits between the Jerry Brown administration's work-safety agency and farmworkers partnering with the United Farm Workers (UFW). Announcing changes in how Cal-OSHA protects workers on...

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Honoring Cesar Chavez's Birthday by Supporting the Farm Workers for Whom He Gave His Life

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 10:00 AM

Countless communities across America honor civil rights and farm labor leader Cesar Chavez on his March 31 birthday with annual commemorations. It's an official holiday in California and several other states. All manner of public places have been named for him.

The Chavez family and farm worker movement are grateful...

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L.A. School Board Tells Giant Grower to Honor Its Workers' UFW Contract

(3) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 4:31 PM

Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education voted nearly unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 10 to urge a giant Central Valley grower to implement its workers' union contract. The resolution by board member Steve Zimmer passed on a 6-0 vote and also asked the school district's...

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On the Day America Gives Thanks, Isn't It Time We Gave Thanks to Our Thanksgiving Workers?

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 12:03 PM

Immigrant farm, food and commercial workers gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House the week before Thanksgiving Day to remind their fellow Americans of the flesh-and-blood human beings who are behind the great bounty of food all of us share on this celebrated holiday. They also called on...

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Big-Money Radical Right Groups Help Huge Grower to Avoid Paying Millions Already Owed Its Farm Workers

(29) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 1:55 PM

Well-financed anti-labor groups related to America's radical right are coming to the aid of giant Fresno, Calif.-based Gerawan Farming to avoid implementing a union contract under which it already owes millions of dollars to thousands of its grape and tree fruit workers. Gerawan, with more than 5,000 workers at peak...

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Latino-Filipino Solidarity That Won the Delano Grape Strike Is Behind the 40th Anniversary of the Agbayani Village

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 8:24 PM

Hundreds of Filipino Americans and farm worker movement activists will gather outside Delano, Calif. on Saturday, June 21 for a day of observances marking the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Paulo Agbayani Retirement Village for elderly and displaced Filipino grape strikers. Organized by the Cesar Chavez Foundation and...

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Cesar Chavez Movie Inspires Members of Congress

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 8:49 AM

I just had the honor of watching a screening of the upcoming feature film "Cesar Chavez" and participating in a panel discussion on his life and work as part of a program hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). The panel included: Director Diego Luna;...

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Secure Communities: Why Does the Kern County Sheriff Defy the Law?

(10) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 9:41 AM

Do law enforcement officials such as Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood get to choose the laws they will or will not enforce? California last year passed the Trust Act, limiting state cooperation with a federal program that gives U.S. immigration authorities access to fingerprints take by local police. Under the...

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Farm Workers' Push for Immigration Reform Honors the 28 'Deportees' From 1948

(9) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 7:29 PM

This Labor Day finally brought recognition for the 28 Mexican migrant farm workers who tragically perished when the twin-engine DC-3C charter plane flying them back to Mexico caught fire and crashed on Jan. 28, 1948, near Los Gatos Canyon in west Fresno County, Calif. The Latino community of Fresno buried...

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Farm Workers Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day By Marching and Lobbying for a New Immigration Process

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 6:38 PM

What better way for farm workers to mark Cesar Chavez's March 31 birthday than to march in the streets of their communities and lobby at their nation's capital for immigration reform? Cesar led farm workers beginning in the 1960s to nonviolently break the bonds of discrimination and poverty that plague...

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Inaugural Is a Timely Moment to Reflect on President Obama and Immigration Reform

(5) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 9:33 AM

President Obama visited La Paz, the farm worker movement's 187-acre Tehachapi Mountain headquarters at Keene, Calif., last Oct. 8 to dedicate a portion of the grounds where Cesar Chavez lived and worked his last quarter century as the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument. Before addressing 7,000 people at this 398th...

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If Animals Have Heat Safety Protections, Why Shouldn't Farm Workers?

(3) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 1:27 PM

If a motorist killed a person while driving drunk, would a police officer stop him and say, "You're free to go, but next time you are going to jail?" As ludicrous as it sounds, that's what is happening in the fields when a farm worker's life is lost due to...

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