I remember seeing the famous slogans as a child growing up in San Antonio: “Uvas no.” “Don’t buy grapes.”
Over the years, United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez called for several boycotts of grapes (uvas in Spanish) as a way to fight for the rights of workers and ensure their safety. He also went on hunger strikes to call attention to the plight of workers.
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we should reflect on the contributions that Latinos like Chavez, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, Texas activist Emma Tenayuca and others have made to the labor movement, and how deeply the fight for dignity and equity is ingrained into our culture. 
San Antonio is also known for the Pecan Shellers Strike of 1938. According to the Handbook of Texas, nearly 12,000 San Antonio pecan shellers, mostly Hispanic women (originally led by Tenayuca), walked off their jobs and went on strike for three months. It gained international attention because of the mass arrests and civil rights violations that took place. 
We continue to see the UFW fight for the rights of farm workers in California. In August, the group undertook a 24-day, 335-mile March for the Governor’s Signature, traveling from Delano, Calif., to the state capital of Sacramento. It was a callback to the path that Chavez and Huerta led in 1966 to bring attention to the plight of farm workers there.
This time, the group called on California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign Assembly Bill 1283, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act, which would allow farm workers several avenues to cast their ballot in union elections. Now the group is holding 24-hour vigils throughout California until the governor signs the bill.
Chavez’s legacy in San Antonio lives on as well. The city held the 26th annual Cesar Chavez March for Justice in March with thousands of participants; 2022 also marked the first year that Cesar Chavez Day was observed as a paid city holiday on March 31. 
The nation is seeing a resurgence in the labor movement. The National Labor Relations Board reported that during the first nine months of fiscal year 2022 (October 2021 through June 2022), there was a 58% increase in union representation petitions. By May 25, fiscal year 2022 petitions exceeded the total number of petitions filed in all of fiscal 2021.
The American-Statesman newsroom was among the unions that won certification in 2021, and I’m proud to serve as bargaining committee chair of our union, the Austin NewsGuild.
As bargaining chair, I feel connected to the Latino laborers who have fought for the rights of workers — it is our heritage. I am grateful to have the opportunity to represent our reporters, photographers and other staff in building a brighter future for our newsroom so that we may continue to serve the people of Austin.
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…” Chavez said, “Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”


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