Celestino Rivas


CELESTINO RIVAS | Working for La Causa

Celestino had worked as a lettuce cutter for many companies in the Salinas Valley and experienced the poor wages and conditions. In the summer of ’75, he worked fulltime as an organizer for the UFW trying to build support for the union and win elections.

Celestino being interviewed by journalist Bob Barber, outside the gates of the Bud Antle company. The quotes below, and the sound file, come from that interview.

I like this work. I’ve known the bad times, the injustices that exist where there is no union, as opposed to when there is a union. And I wanted to help to explain this, to tell people why we want to have the UFW. Why do we want it? For job security, for seniority, for the service center, for the clinics, which we can use at any hour we want. 
 
For the last 85 years we have had no protection, none. Farm work is the most important to society, yet it is the only job where there is no union, where there is no one to help us. And now this law has come, with which we can help all the workers in the camps. For me it is a form of liberation, a freedom that we finally have as workers.

  • Sometimes he went into the fields.

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