Arturo S. Rodriguez
As president of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), Arturo S. Rodriguez is continuing to build the union Cesar Chavez founded into a powerful voice for immigrant workers by increasing its membership and pushing historic legislation on immigration reform and worker rights. Rodriguez is leading the UFW in bringing about meaningful change for farm workers by making it easier for them to organize and negotiate union contracts. He seeks to fundamentally transform American agriculture by creating jobs that offer workers decent pay, comprehensive health coverage, retirement security, protections against toxic poisons, job security and guarantees against discrimination and sexual harassment. Under Rodriguez, the UFW is working to offer innovative alternative representation through benefits and services, and to extend innovative representation to workers temporarily brought to work in U.S. agriculture. His goal is also to preserve America’s food supply through a strong and viable agricultural industry. The veteran farm labor organizer was first introduced to Cesar Chavez through his parish priest in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, in 1966. He became active with the UFW’s grape boycott as a student at St. Mary’s University in 1969. At the University of Michigan in 1971, where he earned an M.A. degree in social work, Rodriguez organized support for farm worker boycotts. He began serving full time with the UFW in 1973, when he first met Chavez, who became his mentor for 20 years. Rodriguez has more than 40 years’ experience organizing farmworkers, negotiating UFW contracts, and leading numerous farm worker boycott and political drives across North America.