In the latest crisis facing the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), Monterey Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills recently ruled that the union failed to pay its workers for their hours worked, which included overtime and meal breaks. Judge Wills ordered the UFW to pay $1.2 million to their employees.

The verdict comes at a time when the union caught an indefensible web of hypocrisy for firing its own UFW employees, who they themselves, wanted to form their own union. Amazingly, the UFW leadership doesn’t believe in the right of its own employees to unionize because they didn’t want to deal with union demands themselves.

The fact the UFW doesn’t extend overtime pay and the right to unionize to its own employees is shameful and erodes credibility. 

Seriously. How can the UFW maintain a straight face when trying to portray itself as a defender of the poor and farm worker when they themselves are not following their own rhetoric?

What would Cesar Chavez think about what the union has turned into? Why has Dolores Huerta, UFW co-founder, remained silent on this issue? Where are the demands by the California State legislature or resolutions asking that the UFW pay what it owes to their workers?

Cesar Chavez once said:

History will judge societies and governments — and their institutions — not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.


True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.

How will the UFW be judged given these social injustices? What type of legacy is the UFW trying to leave for future generations?

It could be argued that Cesar Chavez fought for fair wages and the UFW was created to ensure that the needs of the farmworkers are met. In not paying their workers for back wages and overtime, by deciding to appeal the $1.2 million judgment, today’s UFW leadership has decided that the organization is about collecting dues, growing its bank account and saying “to hell with having to pay for overtime, meal breaks or allowing our own employees to unionize.”