Monday, January 09, 2006

Is La Unión Broken?

Has the United Farm Workers organization strayed from its roots of helping the workers? The Los Angeles Times says yes in its investigative series "UFW: A Broken Contract."

According to the LA newspaper, the union has become a shell of its former self that doesn't do much for farmworkers:
Today ... Chavez's heirs run a web of tax-exempt organizations that exploit his legacy and invoke the harsh lives of farmworkers to raise millions of dollars ....

The money does little to improve the lives of California farmworkers, who still struggle with the most basic health and housing needs and try to get by on seasonal, minimum-wage jobs.

Instead, in California at least, farmworkers depend on volunteers and legal aid organizations for services.

Meanwhile, the Chavez family runs a series of linked charities that "enrich each other" and "do business with friends," the Times reports. And in one case, a UFW-related organization sold property meant for low-income housing to its lawyer, who then sold the land to a developer for a $1.1 million profit.

The UFW in Texas has helped out many people in the Rio Grande Valley, but what does this latest report say about the organization's national leadership? Is it time for this union to retire? Valley residents, what do you think?


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