Farmworker Movement Documentation Project - Presented by the UC San Diego Library

UFW Glossary

Every organization develops its own vocabulary and uses verbal shortcuts to communicate to insiders; the United Farm Workers union was no exception. LeRoy Chatfield has prepared this glossary of farmworker terminology to assist persons interested in the movement to better understand what the UFW volunteers meant when they used their specialized vocabulary.

UFW volunteers Richard Cook, Jerry Kay, Abby Rivera, Chris Schneider, Carlos Legerrette, Susan Drake, Chris Hartmire, Terry Scott, and Kathy Murguia provided valuable additions to this glossary.

UFW GLOSSARY – Farmworker Movement Terminology A-F | G-O | P-W


AGBAYANI VILLAGE – A retirement center built by the UFW on the Forty Acres in Delano for elderly farmworker Filipinos and other retired farmworkers.

ALRA – AGRICULTURAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT – California state legislation passed in 1975 during Governor Jerry Brown’s administration that guaranteed the rights of California farmworkers to organize for collective bargaining purposes, and provided for secret ballot elections for farmworkers to select the union of their choice to represent them. It also provided remedies (penalties) for employers who violated the law by ordering that workers be made whole for wage losses if they were fired for union activity.

ALRB – AGRICULTURAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD – The governor appoints the five board members and the general counsel to administer the state’s farm labor legislation. LeRoy Chatfield was one of the original board members appointed, along with Bishop (now Cardinal) Roger Mahony. The other board members appointed were Dick Johnson (Sacramento grower lobbyist), Joe Grodin (Hastings law professor, later named to the state supreme court), and Joe Oretega (attorney from Los Angeles).

ARROYO CAMP – Formerly a farm labor camp on the west side of Delano located on Mettler Road across the street from the Delano city dump, this facility was the first strike headquarters for the NFWA. The commissary warehouse to handle donations of food and clothing was located here, two house trailers served as the clinic facility, and a makeshift automobile gasoline pump was rigged to dispense gasoline.

AWOC – AGRICULTURAL WORKERS ORGANIZING COMMITTEE – An organization sponsored by the National AFL-CIO for the purpose of organizing farmworkers. Composed mostly of Filipino workers, AWOC called a grape strike in Delano on September 8, 1965. Two weeks later, the NFWA joined the strike.

BARRIOS – Poor neighborhoods populated by Latino people.

BOBBY KENNEDY CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT – The United Farm Workers supported Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign and sent farmworkers and volunteers to major California cities to do precinct work in the June 1968 primary election.

BOYCOTT OR SECONDARY BOYCOTT – Organizing supermarket customers and produce terminals throughout the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe to refuse to purchase products from California growers who were being struck by the United Farm Workers. Schenley liquors, DiGiorgio grapes, Perelli-Minetti Winery products, California table grapes, Gallo wines, Guild wines, California lettuce, etc. were sometime targets of the farmworker boycott between the period 1966 to 1993.

BRACEROS – A U.S. government-sponsored worker importation program, begun in 1942, under which more than three million Mexicans entered the U.S. to labor in the agricultural fields. The bracero program ended in 1964. The U.S. Department of Labor officer in charge of the program, Lee G. Williams, described it as a system of “legalized slavery.”

CALIFORNIA MIGRANT MINISTRY (LATER CHANGED TO NATIONAL FARM WORKER MINISTRY) – A religious ministry of service founded in the 1920s by Protestant women to serve the nation’s impoverished migrant worker families. Day-care centers, educational activities for children, sports programs, and summer bible school programs were some of the ministry’s programs in its formative years. By the late 1950s, the ferment of social change spawned primarily by the civil rights movement gradually led the Migrant Ministry to become involved in fostering programs related to community organizing. In 1961, Chris Hartmire was named the director of the California Migrant Ministry, and through his relationship with Cesar Chavez and Fred Ross, both from the CSO, the ministry became part and parcel of the farmworker movement that began in 1962. Jim Drake, David Havens, and Sandy Clark Sample were some of the ministry’s early farmworker organizers associated with Cesar Chavez and his National Farm Worker Association.

CASA DE NINOS OR “CASA” – The name given to the day-care center for the children of fulltime staff at La Paz.

CITIZENS FOR FARM LABOR – CFL was a public advocacy group that sought to organize support for farmworkers through legislation, the publication of its magazine, Farm Labor, and direct action. Its board of directors included representatives of the labor movement (Ann Draper of the ILGWU) the Catholic Worker movement (Dorothy Kaufman-Legrette and Bob Callagy), and university academics. Several farmworker volunteers began their work on behalf of farmworkers in CFL, including Bill Esher, Wendy Goepel, and Kathy Lynch Murguia. CFL was a major supporter of the Delano Grape Strike and was involved in organizing food caravans to support the striking farmworkers in 1965.

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE – The decision to break specific laws because they are unjust. This tactic of nonviolence was used by the civil rights and farmworker movements to bring about social change.

COACHELLA VALLEY – An agricultural area located in the Palm Springs-Indio area. The first California table grapes of the season that come onto the national and Canadian markets are grown in Coachella Valley. The harvest temperatures can be so extreme that workers begin work as early as 4 a.m.

CONTRACT – A collective bargaining agreement between a grower and his union-represented employees. The terms of a negotiated contract specify wages, working conditions, and benefits.

CORRIDO – A ballad written in Spanish praising a famous individual. There is also a ballad of Siete Leguas, the famous horse of Pancho Villa.

CONVENTION – The first UFW convention was held in September 1973 in Fresno, California. There were 346 delegates who represented 60,000 farmworkers.

CSO – Community Service Organization. A Mexican-American self-help organization active throughout California in the 1950s. Cesar Chavez was recruited and trained to work as an organizer for the CSO. He became one of their most successful organizers and left the organization to found his National Farm Worker Association in 1962.

DE COLORES – A popular farmworker song, sung by all UFW supporters at nearly every union meeting. The UFW is a “singing union,” including songs from the labor and civil rights movements, Mexican ballads and corridos, and many original tunes written by members of El Teatro Campesino and others.

DELANO, CALIFORNIA – In 1962, a city of 14,000 people located 30 miles north of Bakersfield, bisected by Highway 99. Delano was the center of the table grape industry in the Central Valley of California.

DISPATCH – A slip of paper given at the local UFW hiring hall to qualified workers seeking farm employment with growers under contract. It replaced decades of the abusive system of labor contractors favored by growers.

EL CORTITO OR WEST COAST SHORTY – Both are names given to the agricultural industry-standard, back-breaking, short-handled hoe that caused so much physical injury to farmworkers. In 1975, Mo Jourdane, then representing the California Rural Legal Assistance, wrote legislation that outlawed the use of el cortito. Guadalupe Serna, a UFW member in Salinas Valley, wrote and recorded a song with El Teatro Campesino, “Corrido Del Cortito.”

EL JEFE – The Spanish word for chief. This term of endearment was often used by some UFW staff members to refer to Cesar Chavez, but never within earshot.

EL MALCRIADO – The farmworker newspaper started by Cesar Chavez during the early years of the NFWA. Bill Esher was one of the first editors. Andy Zermeno, the creator of the Don Sotaco farmworker character, was the political cartoonist from 1965 to 1972. Manuel “Fats” Sanchez served as the in-house photographer. El Malcriado was circulated throughout the agricultural valleys of California via a network of farmworker movement activists.

EL TEATRO CAMPESINO – Founded in 1965 by Luis Valdez and Agustin Lira, this farmworker guerilla theater group transformed itself into a theater company that played not only to farmworker audiences but to college and urban audiences nationwide and in Europe. Luis and Augie were the creative forces behind most of the farmworker songs that sprang from the era of the Delano Grape Strike and Boycott.

ESQUIROL – The Spanish word for strikebreaker or scab.

EXECUTIVE BOARD – From 1966 to 1973, the union’s executive board was appointed and was composed of Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, Andy Imutan, Philip Vera Cruz, Dolores Huerta, Gilbert Padilla, and Julio Hernandez. In 1973 at the first convention of the UFW, the executive board was elected by the membership and was composed of Cesar Chavez, Pete Velasco, Philip Vera Cruz, Richard Chavez, Mack Lyon, Gilbert Padilla, Dolores Huerta, Marshall Ganz, and Eliseo Medina.

FARM WORKER CO-OP GAS STATION – Organized as a farmworker co-op, the gas station rented a Texaco station in Delano in 1967, and was relocated to the Forty Acres in 1968 when a permanent structure was built to house its operation.

FARM WORKER CREDIT UNION – Organized by Cesar Chavez soon after he founded the NFWA, this credit union was part of Cesar’s farmworker organizing strategy and provided an important financial service to farmworkers. Helen Chavez managed the credit union for many years. The Farm Worker Credit Union was closed after the death of Cesar Chavez in 1993.

FAST FOR NONVIOLENCE – In 1968, Cesar Chavez undertook a personal Fast at the Forty Acres in Delano that lasted 25 days. Robert F. Kennedy came to participate in the religious ceremonies that ended the Fast.

FAST FOR THE RIGHTS OF ARIZONA FARMWORKERS – In 1972, Cesar Chavez undertook a personal Fast at Santa Rita Center in Phoenix that lasted for 24 days. Robert F. Kennedy and Joan Baez came to Phoenix to participate in the religious ceremonies that ended the Fast.

FAST FOR LIFE – In 1988, Cesar Chavez undertook a personal Fast at the Forty Acres in Delano that lasted for 36 days. Jesse Jackson came to Delano to participate in the religious ceremonies that ended the Fast.

FIELD OFFICES – Official offices of the United Farm Workers opened in various agricultural centers of California for the purpose of organizing farmworkers and enforcing contracts signed with agribusiness employers. Some of the larger field offices also housed a farmworker health clinic and a service center. Major field offices included Delano, Coachella, Calexico, Salinas, Watsonville, Lamont, Livingston, Santa Maria, Oxnard, San Diego, and the Fresno area. The UFW also had field offices in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Washington.

FILIPINO HALL – Located on Cecil and Glenwood Streets in Delano, the Filipino Community Center was built to honor the veterans of foreign wars. After the start of the Delano Grape Strike it was used by the strikers and volunteers as a meeting place and for the daily noon meal.

FISH HEADS AND RICE – A Filipino delicacy introduced to movement volunteers and served regularly, if not every day, at the noon meal for strikers and volunteers at Filipino Hall in Delano.

FIVE DOLLARS A WEEK – The amount of the stipend paid to union strikers and volunteers. In 1978, Cesar Chavez gave the volunteers a 100% raise, or $10 per week. In addition to the weekly stipend, strikers and volunteers were provided with room and board.

FORTY ACRES or 40 ACRES – Land on the west side of Delano, across the highway from the Voice of America radio towers, at the corner of Garces Highway and Mettler Road, purchased in 1967 by the National Farm Worker Service Center to house all the entities associated with the United Farm Workers. Buildings were built in mission style architecture with clay tile roofs.

FRANCISCAN SEMINARY, SANTA BARBARA – A Catholic seminary in Santa Barbara, California used by Cesar Chavez for farmworker movement retreats and planning meetings.

FRIDAY NIGHT MEETING – Strike meetings held every Friday night at Filipino Hall. After the UFW move to La Paz, these Friday night meetings continued.

Return to top


GALLO MARCH – When the UFW contract with the Modesto-based E & J Gallo Vineyards expired, Gallo selected the Teamsters Union to represent its workers. That sparked a bitter strike and boycott of Gallo wines. In 1975, the farmworkers marched on the Gallo headquarters, calling for union representation elections in the fields.

GOAT ROPERS – A dismissive term coined by farmworker volunteers at La Paz to characterize white cowboy-types who lived in Tehachapi, a small town located uphill from La Paz.

GOONS – Teamster thugs paid by the growers to harass and intimidate farmworkers who supported the UFW.

GORILLAS – Teamster goons sent to the Coachella Valley in 1973 for the purpose of intimidating the striking grape workers and their supporters.

GOTV – GET OUT THE VOTE – Organized precinct work in targeted areas of California cities for the purpose of increasing the number of voters who supported the candidates or state propositions endorsed by the UFW. Thousands of farmworkers, under the direction of UFW organizers, participated in “Get Out The Vote” election campaigns.

HIRING HALL – The local UFW office that issued work dispatches to farms under contract. It replaced the dreaded labor contractor system of hiring and was one of the major causes of the reluctance of growers to sign contracts with the UFW.

HOUSE MEETING – The basic organizational building block of the farmworker movement: one person invites five others to their home for an organizational/motivational meeting. All five in turn invite five others to their homes for a similar meeting, and so forth. During their CSO days, Fred Ross, Sr. mentored Cesar Chavez and Gilbert Padilla in the use of house meetings. In turn, they refined and perfected it to build the farmworker movement, including its use on the boycott. For many years during the 1970s, Fred Ross, Sr. served as an educational consultant teaching the organizational uses of house meetings to wage a successful boycott.

HUBERT HUMPHREY CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT – After the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, the United Farm Workers provided “Get Out The Vote” support in California cities for Hubert Humphrey in the general election of November 1968.

HUELGA – The Spanish work for “strike.” And the name of one of Cesar Chavez’s German Shepherd guard dogs.

HUELGA SCHOOL – Founded in Delano by Gordon and Felicia Williamson to provide educational programs for the children of strikers and later for the children of the farmworker volunteers.

ILWU – INTERNATIONAL LONGSHORE & WAREHOUSE UNION – In 1965, an independent union based in San Francisco that provided early support on the docks to the boycott efforts of the farmworker movement. Jimmy Herman, at that time the president of the Ship Clerks union and a passionate supporter of the rights of farmworkers, was later elected president of the ILWU.

IMPERIAL VALLEY – A vegetable and melon harvest area of 570,000 acres located between the Salton Sea and the Mexican border. Farmworkers cross the border from Mexicali starting as early as 3 a.m. to make their way to El Hoyo (the hole), an area close to the border where labor contractors shape up workers into daily work crews and transport them an hour or two to the fields to work.

INJUNCTION – A court order obtained by growers from local judges during most farm labor strikes in order to limit picketing and access to workers brought in to break the strike. A few rocks thrown or invectives hurled was all that was necessary for an injunction to be issued.

IRONING BOARD BRIGADE – The use of ironing boards as tables for petitioning and voter registration campaigns. Highly portable, these boards could be taken to any location and used effectively as a table upon which voters could sign petitions and voter registration applications. Fred Ross, Sr. first used ironing boards in Southern California, and their use soon spread to other areas.

JERRY BROWN FOR PRESIDENT – Governor Jerry Brown aided the UFW on three separate occasions. First in 1972, when he investigated the voter fraud used to qualify the grower initiative, Proposition 22; second, in 1975 when he created the political climate to permit the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act without any amendments during the legislative process; and third, when he openly campaigned (unsuccessfully) in statewide TV commercials on behalf of Proposition 14, the UFW-sponsored initiative. Because of his support, the UFW provided organizers and precinct workers for every political campaign undertaken by Jerry Brown: 1976 presidential primary against Jimmy Carter; 1978 re-election campaign for governor; 1980 presidential primary against Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy; 1982 general election for U.S. Senate; and a 1992 presidential primary campaign against Bill Clinton. The only successful campaign was his California re-election campaign.

LABOR CONTRACTORS – Farm bosses in charge of hiring, paying, and sometimes transporting farmworkers.

LA CAUSA – The Spanish word for “The Cause.” The goal, or the “cause,” of farmworkers was to sign union contracts with their agribusiness employers.

LA DIVISION DEL NORTE – The unofficial name given to the many units of Salinas farmworkers who willingly volunteered for whatever UFW campaign was under way. Refers to the army of Pancho Villa.

LA MIGRA – The Mexican term referring to officers of the U.S. Border Patrol who sought to arrest and deport illegal aliens.

LA PAZ – The national headquarters of the United Farm Workers, located southeast of Bakersfield in Keene, California in the Tehachapi Mountains. Originally built as a TB sanitarium by Kern County, the 250+ acre facility had been closed for many years and was put up for public auction in 1970. At the request of Cesar Chavez, Edie Lewis, a Hollywood producer, purchased the facility, and the National Farm Worker Service Center made the mortgage payments and ultimately took title to the property. Cesar Chavez and his farmworker administration moved to La Paz in 1971.

LEGAL DEPARTMENT – Jerry Cohen was the first in-house general counsel-in 1967-for the farmworker movement; at the time of his appointment, he was a first-year attorney from the California Rural Legal Assistance Office in McFarland, California. The funds to establish the first farmworkers union legal department originally came from a series of grants from the Roger Baldwin Foundation in New York City. From 1972 to 1977, the legal department’s headquarters was in Salinas, California. After 1977, Cesar Chavez insisted that the legal department be relocated to La Paz.

L.U.P.E. – La Union del Pueblo Entero. A community organization founded by the United Farm Workers in the late 1980s to deal with farmworker issues.

MAHATMA GANDHI – India’s nonviolent revolutionary leader who fought for independence from the British Empire. Gandhi was a role model for Cesar Chavez.

MARCH FROM COACHELLA TO CALEXICO (1969) – The purpose of the UFW march was to draw attention to the fact that the growers were importing Mexican nationals to break the farmworkers union strikes in the Coachella Valley. For much of the march, the daily temperature soared to 100 degrees or more, which caused much hardship for marching farmworkers and their supporters.

MARCH FROM SAN YSIDRO TO SACRAMENTO (1975) – Also known as the 1000-Mile March. The purpose of the march was to organize and educate farmworkers in the various state agricultural areas about the upcoming state farmworker legislation calling for secret ballot elections for union representation.

MARCH TO SACRAMENTO (Delano to Sacramento) (1966) – The first major march organized by the farmworkers to seek a redress of grievances. Their purpose in marching to Sacramento was to meet with Governor Pat Brown on Easter Sunday. Governor Brown declined their invitation and spent Easter at the home of Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs. More than 10,000 people arrived in Sacramento to support the farmworkers. This march served to launch the farmworker strike into national and international press headlines.

MARIACHIS – Mexican musicians who provide great spirit and music for primarily joyful occasions and celebrations. Mariachis were used in many UFW victory parties. These musicians are sometimes used even at the time of passing.

MENUDO – A traditional weekend soup containing tripe and hominy, flavored with chile spices. Served with chopped onion, oregano (or cilantro), and lemon. Some recipes use pig’s feet or pork roast. Most striking farmworker families, including Cesar Chavez, considered menudo a miracle cure for hangovers.

MICROWAVE STATEWIDE TELEPHONE SYSTEM – A statewide independent telephone system built by the United Farm Workers using relay towers set up in the mountains of California. At the time of its construction, this system was the second largest in the state. When operational, it allowed communication between the UFW field offices by dialing an internal three-digit extension number. Cesar Chavez had long dreamed about the possibility of reducing telephone costs and not being dependent on the telephone monopolies for overpriced service.

MISSION SAN ANTONIO – The favorite California mission of Cesar Chavez. At every opportunity, he sought to have the union strike/boycott planning meetings at the mission.

NATIONAL AFL-CIO – A Washington, D.C.-based umbrella organization for labor unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

NATIONAL FARM WORKERS SERVICE CENTER – Founded in 1967 by LeRoy Chatfield, the Service Center assumed the overall management and responsibility for all the non-union services, viz., Service Center, Co-Op Gas Station, Credit Union, Clinics, Forty Acres, etc. Its first offices were located on Asti Street next to the Pink House.

NFWA – NATIONAL FARM WORKERS ASSOCIATION – Founded by Cesar Chavez in 1962 and camouflaged as a self-help organization, its real purpose was to organize farmworkers for collective bargaining with agribusiness employers.

NLRA – THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT – National labor legislation was passed in the 1930s to protect the rights of the nation’s industrial workers to organize and bargain collectively. The nation’s farmworkers were specifically excluded from the protections of the NLRA.

NONVIOLENCE – Not using physical force, fighting, or violence in the farmworkers strike as a matter of principle, either moral or tactical, or both.

NORTH UNIT – A large building on the north side of the La Paz property, originally built by Kern County as a children’s TB hospital. After the UFW purchased La Paz, this building was refurbished and used as a facility for farmworkers union educational and training programs, membership and staff meetings, weddings, parties, and other social occasions. It was also the site of the Fred Ross School of Collective Bargaining. The North Unit was the subject of various La Paz ghost stories. The Game was played in the North Unit by the UFW executive board and staff.

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE – The Virgin Mary, patroness of Mexico, was ever present during the farmworker organizing efforts of the United Farm Workers. The banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe was always in the forefront of farmworker marches and demonstrations.

Return to top


PAGARULO, ZANINOVICH – Delano area grape growers mentioned in the farmworker song, “El Picket Sign.”

PEOPLE’S – A Delano bar located on the west side of Delano, the wrong side of the tracks. It was here that farmworker volunteers gathered for inexpensive R & R, and where, after a beer or two, one could talk philosophy and revolution.

PESTICIDES – Any chemical used by farmers to eradicate crop pests. Many are extremely toxic and harmful to workers, the environment, and consumers. The UFW led a forceful campaign both in public and in its contracts to eliminate the use of the most toxic and least biodegradable pesticides. The UFW’s pesticide regulations, along with the inclusion of the hiring hall, were among the most contentious provisions in its contracts.

PERELLI-MINETTI WINERY – A winery and vineyard operation located between Delano and McFarland, adjacent to Highway 99. The winery signed a sweetheart contract with the Teamsters Union. After a farmworker strike and boycott of Perelli-Minetti products in late 1967, the company agreed to a union election, and the UFW inherited the Teamster contract.

PINK HOUSE – A tract home on Asti Street behind the NFWA headquarters and membership office on Albany St. It was first used as sleeping quarters for the volunteers in the early months of the Delano Grape Strike but sometime later was used as the strike administrative offices. The March to Sacramento, the DiGiorgio Campaign, and the Giumarra Strike were planned in the Pink House.

PROPOSITION 22 – A state initiative sponsored by California agribusiness in 1972 that sought to curtail the rights of farmworkers to organize or to engage in consumer boycotts. The state initiative was defeated by a wide margin.

PROPOSITION 14 – A state initiative sponsored by the United Farm Workers in 1976 that sought to expand the organizational rights of farmworkers beyond those contained in the state’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act. The initiative failed by a wide margin.

RADIO CAMPESINA – A radio station acquired by the National Farm Worker Service Center for the purpose of educating farmworkers about their rights under the ALRA, disability, workers’ compensation, immigration, etc.

RANCH COMMITTEE – The elected farmworker leadership at each ranch under union contract.

RECALL CAMPAIGN, GOVERNOR JACK WILLIAMS OF ARIZONA – Governor Williams promoted legislation to outlaw farmworker strikes and boycotts. In response, Cesar Chavez undertook a Fast in Phoenix while farmworkers and their supporters went door-to-door asking residents to sign petitions calling for the recall of the governor. Jacques Levy writes, “The recall drive gathered 168,000 signatures, of which 108,000 eventually were declared valid, five thousand more than needed to force a recall. Although the recall election is eventually blocked by the state attorney general. . .For the first time in Arizona’s history, four Mexican-Americans and one Navajo are elected (1972) to the state senate and another Navajo to the state house of representatives.”

ROBERT F. KENNEDY FARM WORKER MEDICAL PLAN – A farmworker health and welfare plan funded under UFW union contracts through per-hour employer contributions. The first employer contributions were set by contract at 10 cents per worker hour. LeRoy Chatfield was the first administrator of the union self-insured health and welfare plan and developed the first set of medical benefits for farmworkers and their families.

RODRIGO TERRONEZ MEMORIAL FARM WORKER CLINIC – A farmworker clinic founded in 1965 by nurses Peggy McGivern and Marion Moses. The clinic was first housed in two large house trailers located at the NFWA strike headquarters on Mettler Road, across from the Delano city dump. In 1967, the clinic was named in memory of Roger Terronez, a vice president of the NFWA, who was killed in a tragic auto accident on Mettler Road. In 1968, the clinic was moved to the Forty Acres while a permanent structure was being built to house the clinic operations.

SALINAS VALLEY – America’s “salad bowl,” stretching approximately 50 miles inland from the central California coast. Birthplace of John Steinbeck and location of the UFW’s most successful general strike in 1970. The Salinas lettuce growers signed their first “sweetheart contracts” with the Teamsters Union following the success of the Grape Boycott.

SI SE PUEDE – The motto of the UFW. In English, it means “It can be done!”

SLANT SIX – The early to mid-1960s Plymouth Valiant with a slant six engine was the standard-issue car for the organizers of the United Farm Workers. Cesar Chavez held to the belief that the slant six Valiant was the most economical and durable car ever built.

STARDUST MOTEL – The newest motel built in Delano during the 1960s, located on Cecil Avenue close by Highway 99. The Stardust Motel housed most of the visiting dignitaries who came to Delano to meet with Cesar Chavez and the farmworker strikers. It was also the site of many labor negotiations with agribusiness employers. Peter Matthiessen lived at the Stardust Motel while he wrote his book, Sal Si Puedes.

STRIKE DONATIONS – Food and clothing donated to the Delano strikers helped to stretch the $5 per week stipend enjoyed by strikers and movement volunteers.

SWEETHEART CONTRACT – A unilateral arrangement whereby a grower seeks out an alternative union-and signs a union contract-in order to avoid the union that represents the employees. The purpose of a sweetheart contract is to avoid collective bargaining.

TALLER GRAFICO – The name of the graphics and print center that produced posters, banners, buttons, flags, books, records, flyers, newspapers, worker educational pamphlets, envelopes and stationery, etc. The Taller Grafico began in Delano but was moved to La Paz where a building was built to accommodate its many facets. Ruben Montoya was the first staff member of Taller Grafico.

THE GAME – The name given to a highly structured in-house confrontational encounter session used by such groups as Synanon and Delancey Street in their rehabilitation efforts with drug addicts. Cesar Chavez adopted a modified form of The Game in 1977 to facilitate community building, personal accountability, and open communication within his volunteer community.

THUNDERBIRD EAGLE – The union logo reminiscent of the eagle on the Mexican flag. The final design of the thunderbird was produced by artist Andy Zermeno. This icon was used on all UFW strike and boycott materials, e.g., flags, buttons, flyers, bumperstrips, stationery, etc.

TOILETS IN THE FIELDS – A private place to relieve oneself was almost unknown in the agricultural fields of California. The lack of toilet facilities was not only a serious inconvenience but a source of profound embarrassment for farmworkers, especially women. The lack of proper toilet facilities also created a less-than-sanitary food environment for consumers. Getting toilets in the agricultural workplace, usually on wheels attached to farm labor buses, was a major accomplishment of the United Farm Workers.

UAW – UNITED AUTO WORKERS – Thanks to Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, this union provided early financial support for the Delano Grape Strike and served as a national resource for farmworker volunteers organizing the grape boycott in the major cities of the U.S. and Canada.

UFW MARTYRS – Members of the farmworker movement who were killed while participating in UFW organizing actions. The UFW recognizes five martyrs: Juan De La Cruz, Nagi Daifullah, Rufino Contreras, and Rene Lopez, all farmworkers killed during strikes or union representation campaigns in California. Nan Freeman, a young college student and UFW supporter, was killed while helping farmworkers picket at a ranch in Florida.

UFWOC – UNITED FARM WORKERS ORGANIZING COMMITTEE – A 1966 merger arranged by the National AFL-CIO between AWOC and the NFWA. Cesar Chavez, the founder of NFWA, was named president, and Larry Itliong, the area director for AWOC, was named vice president.

UFWA – United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO. The name adopted by UFWOC when it was granted an independent charter from the National AFL-CIO in 1973.

UNION CONTRACTS – The goal of the farmworker strikes and boycotts was to be granted union recognition either through card check or secret ballot elections, so that union contracts relating to wages, working conditions, health and welfare benefits, and seniority could be negotiated with agribusiness employers.

U.S. BISHOPS’ COMMITTEE ON FARM LABOR – In 1969 the U.S. Catholic Bishops appointed Bishop Joe Donnelly of Hartford, Connecticut as chair of the Ad-Hoc Bishops’ Committee on Farm Labor. The purpose of the committee was to resolve the labor dispute between the striking California farmworkers (mostly Catholic) and their agribusiness employers (mostly Catholic). The Delano Grape Strike was settled in the summer of 1970. Monsignor George Higgins, a nationally respected labor priest, served on this committee.

WATTS TELEPHONE LINE – Similar to a 1-800 number, whereby a business pays a flat rate per month for using this telephone service plan. The farmworkers union used the WATTS line as a cost-saving measure to call boycott staff throughout the U.S. The procedure established was for the city boycott office to call person-to-person to the national boycott director in Delano (or, later, at La Paz). The person-to-person call would be refused, and the national Boycott office would call back on the WATTS line.

WINE NINE – a hastily conceived boycott in 1971 of nine non-union wineries in Northern California during the suspension of the lettuce boycott while fruitless negotiations took place.

WORKER PRIESTS – Men and women from the church, recruited by the California Migrant Ministry/National Farm Worker Ministry to work within the farmworker movement, first in the fields, then in the strike, the boycott, the field offices, and at La Paz.

© 2004–2012 Si Se Puede Press

Primary source accounts: photographs, oral histories, videos, essays and historical documents from the United Farm Worker Delano Grape Strikers and the UFW Volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement.

This site is now being presented and preserved by The Library, University of California San Diego. As of April 10, 2014, there is still some site content and functionality that is being migrated from its original location. We anticipate this work to be completed in the next few months.

The Library presents this material in the context of scholarly fair use. Please see our copyright notice and takedown procedures if you are a rights owner with concerns about this material.