Gov. Inslee Proclaims March 31st in Honor of Controversial Farm Worker Leader
On March 31st 2014, former President Obama issued a national proclamation, naming that day as 'Cesar Chavez Day,' in honor of the late leader and mover and shaker of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).
While most believe on the surface Chavez only championed certain rights for farm laborers in the late 1960's and early 1970's, he was actually a very controversial figure. His efforts did help lead to fundamental reformation such as providing better working conditions for laborers (porta potties, better wages, collective bargaining etc). But he was also known as a very pro-union activist, who did not want to see illegal immigrant workers taking jobs he felt should only go to UFW workers.
Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed March 31st at Cesar Chavez Day with a signing event in Yakima Saturday. Chavez's son Paul were present during the signing. The move is considered by some to be an honor for the late leader, but many others say his controversial past makes this a questionable decision by Inslee.
Even CNN has written articles about how immigration is the big issue now for many Latinos, and Chavez was, according to CNN, "no champion of immigrants." He often 'pulled' workers out of a field for strikes against farms to get more concessions, but he was staunchly against them being 'replaced' by illegal immigrants working the crops.
Those who have closely studied him say he was actually 'anti-immigrant', especially towards those who were illegal.
Chavez was known to have pushed the UFW to pressure the government to 'crack down' on illegals, and even set up efforts to prevent others from crossing the border. According to multiple sources, Chavez was against such immigration because it challenged his efforts to get as many farm workers into the union as possible. Some reports indicate even physically violent efforts and threats were made in the 70's to prevent more illegal farm workers from crossing up from Mexico, so they wouldn't 'challenge' the UFW.
According to some sources who have studied him closely, he was known for being a strong-armed, even "hateful and ruinous" behavioral 'dictator' in the UFW. Critics say with immigration being the hot button issue for most younger Latinos, this move by Inslee is basically pointless, and shows how 'out of touch' he really is with this issue.