By Anne E. Schraff
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S. history. 38 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 39 The next target of the UFW was the DiGiorgio Corporation's 4,400 acre vineyard in Sierra Vista. DiGiorgio was well known for breaking strikes. They had broken them in the 1930s, 40s, and 60s. They had strong political influence in the state. Now, DiGiorgio agreed to talk to the UFW and to hold elections among their farm workers. But the Teamsters were also trying to recruit farm workers. The Teamsters was another union that represented workers in the area at the time.
41 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 42 In August 1967 Cesar Chavez began a fast to affirm the nonviolent nature of his struggle. Some of the younger members of the UFW were getting impatient. They wanted more aggressive measures. But Chavez insisted on the way of peace. The grape strike was now known all over America. Many people boycotted grapes as a matter of conscience. If people did not see the emblem of the black eagle on a box of grapes, they refused to buy it. The eagle symbol meant that the grower had come to terms with the UFW union.
Helen Chavez was working. Sometimes, Chavez actually went from door to door and to gathering places where migrant workers could be found. Right away, he recruited a spirited young woman, Dolores Huerta. She deeply believed in the principles of justice. She had worked at the CSO with Chavez. She believed in his cause and became a strong force in the union. Even the Chavez children were recruited to help in the early days. After school on Friday, they would pile into the Mercury. Their arms were full of 29 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 30 leaflets that their mother had run off the night before on an old mimeograph machine.