(28) He established his new NFWA in Delano in the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of the table grape industry and the center of California's agricultural belt.
And so, it was against this background of racism, exclusion from political and legal protection, and violent strikebreaking tactics that Cesar Chavez began organizing farm workers, founding the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1962.
The day we farm workers apply this lesson with the same courage the Negroes have shown in Alabama and Mississippi, on that day the misery of the farm worker will come to an end." (35) Unlike the AWOC, the NFWA defined itself as a farm worker civil rights movement.
At the center of the strike were two large ranches encompassing 10,000 acres, and ultimately more than 3,000 AWOC and NFWA workers participated in "La Huelga." (33) The growers, quickly recognizing the size and enthusiasm of the strike and lacking bracero replacement workers, saw this as a battle for control over California agriculture, and would not give in easily.
But the Western Conference of the IBT decided, either on their own or at the behest of the bosses, to go into the fields and challenge the NFWA in the DiGiorgio elections.
The NFWA laid the groundwork for a broader movement by defining itself not just as a labor organization, but as a "farm worker civil rights movement." It recognized the necessity to develop public support beyond local labor markets.
While the work would mirror the efforts for civic, political, and economic justice that were taking place in the South, one of the prime movers in California was the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA).
Chavez spent ten years with the CSO, fashioning the ideals and principles that would guide him as the leader of the National Farm Workers of America (NFWA
) and later the United Farm Workers (UFW).
In 1962, then relatively unknown, Chavez and a few of his associates started the Delano, CA-based National Farm Workers Association (NFWA
The organization he headed was the United Farm Workers (UFW), the result of a merger between his and Dolores Huerta's National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and the mostly Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), then headed by Larry Itliong, and affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
Itliong convinced Chavez and the NFWA to join the strike.
Vera Cruz was one of the founders of the Agriculture Worker Organizing Committee (AWOC), which later merged with Cesar Chavez's National Farm Workers Association (NFWA
), later giving birth to the United Farm Workers (UFW).