Letter from Cesar Chavez to Tom Mouradick

worker with crates.JPG

A farm worker stacks crates of harvested grapes at unidentified location.

Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University

With the strike/boycott against lettuce growers in California stretching into its third year in 1973, both growers and UFW officials showed little sign of complete surrender. Negotiations were ongoing, but struggles with the Teamsters Union also continued to plague the UFW. This was evidenced by the new effort by Teamsters to sign grape growers in 1973. With the UFW’s contracts with growers in Delano set to expire that summer, the Teamsters began an aggressive campaign to win contracts with the growers, a move that proved greatly successful.

The UFW renewed its grape strike to accompany its lettuce strike, and the union itself won a victory later that year when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops finally endorsed the UFW’s dual strike, a move that elated Chavez and angered the Teamsters.

To show that they were not yet willing to give up all the grape growers, Chavez sent a letter to a number of growers in the Coachella Valley seeking union elections. This letter sent to Cy Mouradick and Sons, Inc. from Chavez shows the union president demanding that the company allow the workers to vote on whether they wanted to unionize, and if so, which union they wanted to represent them. “We pledge to abide by their results provided they are held under mutually agreed procedures that will guarantee their fairness,” Chavez wrote. At the heart of the movement, it seems, was a desire to simply let the workers have a voice in negotiating for their livelihoods.


Letter from Chavez to Mouradick
Courtesy of ACUA



1. What is the tone of this letter?

2. Why would Chavez stand by election results that may not go in his favor?