United Farm Workers Pledge Support for Calderon

January 11, 2002

The United Farm Workers, AFL-CIO, has endorsed Tom Calderon for California Insurance Commissioner, adding to the broad base of labor and Latino groups that have filed in behind the Montebello democrat.

“Farm workers are among the most abused working people in California,” said Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of the Cesar Chavez-founded UFW. “With Tom Calderon at the helm of the Department of Insurance, farm workers and all consumers will have an active champion who puts their welfare first.” Rodriguez said the UFW plans to be “very active” in Calderon’s campaign to become the state’s first Latino Insurance Commissioner.

Since Rodriguez kicked off a new field organizing drive in 1994 — one year after Chavez’s death — the UFW has won 21 union elections and signed 25 new, or first-time, contracts with growers.

Last year the California Legislature passed and Gov. Davis signed two UFW-sponsored bills backed by Calderon that seek to end some of the worst abuses farm workers suffer from unscrupulous growers and farm labor contractors.

“When I was in college, I had the privilege of marching with Cesar Chavez, protesting the inhumane conditions in which farm workers were forced to live and work,” Calderon said. “He was a great inspiration for me as a young Chicano learning about civil rights and how we, working together as a community, could affect change. Today, I am humbled by this endorsement and I vow to continue working toward improved living conditions for all of California’s consumers who are fighting to make ends meet.”

In addition to the UFW, Calderon has received the endorsements of the State’s major labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union; United Food and Commercial Workers State Council; California School Employees Association; State Association of Electrical Workers; Los Angeles Police Protective League; California Conference of Machinists; California Teamsters; Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1277; California Organization of Police and Sheriffs; United Domestic Workers of America; Communication Workers of America, Local 9400; San Bernardino/Riverside Central Labor Council; and Laborers, Local 300.

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