César Chávez Day I
July 15, 1986
15, 1986 At
the microphone, Beth Shay, Secretary-Treasurer of Reno Musicians
Local 368, welcomes César
to Reno. To raise funds, Chávez sold signed copies of
the Boycott Table Grapes poster like the one on the lectern
for $5.00. Former Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Blackie Evans still has his. A copy was recently offered for
sale on E-Bay for almost $100. The Rev. Whitey Engeseth delivered
the invocation, just as he did at Reno
III on March 31, 2004.
courtesy of Beth and Al Shay.)
pays tribute to late Reno labor leader
WAY WE WERE The above is a recently discovered
photo from 1986. Left to right are Kathy Brown, Culinary Union
Local 86 office manager; Miguel Contreras, Local 86 Secretary-Treasurer;
Local 86 President Bill Uehlein; a lady named Natalie (anyone
who knows her last name, please
write), and César Chávez. This item was first
published in Ahora, northern Nevada's Spanish-English weekly,
on March 26, 2008. (UPDATE: On 3-19-2009, President Obama paid
tribute to Brother Contreras as he spoke in the L.A. building
named after the late labor leader.)
courtesy of Dan Rusnak, retired business manager of Laborers'
Union Local 169.)
Chávez urges Reno to boycott California
By Mike Norris/Gazette-Journal
Longtime labor leader César
urged Reno area consumers Tuesday to protect themselves and
improve working conditions for farm workers at the same time
by boycotting pesticide-tainted table grapes raised in California.
Mayor Pete Sferrazza reads a proclamation from the City
of Reno declaring July 15, 1986, as César Chávez
Day in the Biggest Little City in the World.
(Photo courtesy of Dan Rusnak.)
130 political, labor and civic activists at an enthusiastic
rally in Reno Musicians Building, Chávez
condemned grape growers for treating plants with "highly
toxic and very carcinogenic" pesticides and subjecting
farm workers and their children to the health hazards they cause.
The 59-year-old Arizona native, founder of the nation's first
and most successful farm workers' union, charged that oil-based
pesticides cling to grapes even after they're washed and are
making their way to the American dinner table.
"So we're here in Reno going to the American consumer,
the court of last resort," said Chávez,
whose United Farm Workers of America represent 40,000 of California's
250,000 farm workers.
His presentation drew a standing ovation and featured a union-produced
film showing birth defects, including missing limbs, which the
pesticides allegedly caused among farm workers' children.
His campaign the third in the more than two decades Chávez
has worked on behalf of farm workers is called "The
Wrath of Grapes."
The first boycott, begun in 1965, gained widespread support
and led to California's first collective bargaining agreement
for farm workers and the passage of the Agricultural Labor Relations
But growers charged Tuesday that Chávez's
current campaign is not nearly that successful. Chávez
responded: "The boycott hasn't affected the industry yet."
Western Growers Association spokesman Dan Haley said sales of
grapes were at record levels this year and Chávez's
popularity among farm workers has been "drastically reduced."
very intelligently decided to go to points unknown on the East
Coast and try to spread the same message he spread 20 years
ago in the original boycott," Haley said.
Haley added, "is the best thing that has ever happened
to us. He has gone so far overboard
that most of the legislators
in Sacramento have come back to the growers for any semblance
of accuracy" in accounts of conditions on the farms.
denied the accusations. He called on growers to stop using pesticides
known to cause cancer and birth defects, join the union in pesticide-testing
of grapes at markets, allow union elections for employees and
conduct good-faith contract bargaining.
is reported to have lost much of his political influence since
former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown retired, allowing Republican
George Deukmejian to win the California governorship from Los
Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
condemned the federal Environmental Protection Agency for a
decision establishing an allowable pesticide "tolerance"
level in grapes. The U.S. now allows more than three times as
much pesticide as European countries, he said.
Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza, endorsed by the Nevada AFL-CIO in
his bid for the congressional seat now held by Republican Barbara
Vucanovich, joined Chávez
on stage and presented him with a proclamation declaring Tuesday
Day" in Reno.
Chavez's speech was sponsored by area labor groups. He was also
scheduled to address the western conference of the International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
© 1986 Reno Gazette-Journal
here to read the inside story which the media did not get.