“We do need women in civic life. We do need women to run for office, to be in political office. We need a feminist to be at the table when decisions are being made so that the right decisions will be made.”
(b. April 10, 1930)
Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, Dolores Huerta is one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century and a leader of the Chicano civil rights movement.
Huerta briefly taught school in the 1950s. She saw so many hungry farm workers’ children and she thought she could do more to help them. So, in 1962, Huerta and César Chávez founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), the predecessor of the United Farm Workers’ Union (UFW).
Throughout her work with the UFW, Huerta organized workers, negotiated contracts, advocated for safer working conditions including the elimination of harmful pesticides. She also fought for unemployment and healthcare benefits for agricultural workers.
Huerta was the driving force behind the nationwide table grape boycotts in the late 1960s that led to a successful union contract by 1970. And a later boycott of grapes resulted in the groundbreaking California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which allowed farm workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and conditions.
During the 1990s and 2000s, she worked to elect more Latinos and women to political office and has championed women’s issues.