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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 16, 2022 12:50 PM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Cesar Chavez Day
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that would recognize 31 March 2022 as “Cesar Chavez Day” in Pennsylvania. 

Cesar Chavez was a labor leader active in the late 1950’s through the 1990’s. Born in Arizona to an immigrant family, Cesar Chavez was a member of the United States Navy before moving to California to register farm laborers to vote. In 1962, he founded the National Farm Workers Association, a labor union active mostly in California. One of their most successful campaigns was the Delano Grape Strike, which employed a nationwide consumer boycott of non-union grapes. The strike resulted in the creation of the AFL-CIO-affiliated United Farm Workers union and a new collective bargaining agreement for over 10,000 farm workers. 

In addition to Cesar Chavez’s efforts in organizing labor protests, he forged close bonds with state officials to increase the power that workers have in negotiating labor agreements with business leaders. This culminated in the 1975 California Labor Relations Act. This Act set up a process where farm workers can enter into collective bargaining agreements with their employers. It also established an Agriculture Relations Board to investigate unfair labor practices against farm workers. 

Some of Cesar Chavez’s many other accomplishments include: 
  • One of the first labor leaders to use exclusively peaceful protest techniques. 
  • Led a 250-mile march to Sacramento, California to bring attention to the condition of farm laborers. 
  • In 1972, he went on a hunger strike to protest an Arizona law that banned farm workers from organizing or striking. 
  • In 1988, he went on another hunger strike to bring attention to the danger that pesticides present to farm workers and their children. 
  • In 1994, he was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. 

To honor a historic icon in the fight for labor rights in the United States, this resolution would recognize 31 March 2022 as “Cesar Chavez Day” in the Commonwealth. 

Please join me in sponsoring this resolution.  

Introduced as SR253