The Boycott Simulation contains workers, farmers, consumers, the market, grapes, Cesar Chavez and his representatives.
There are four different colored workers who represent the four major types of workers that were hired by the farmers during the time of the boycotts. Our first type of worker is the domestic worker who wears a brown hat. These workers represent the residents of the state. As the farmer tells them to "work", these workers work by continuously picking grapes and they broadcast a message to the market to "buy grapes". They were the best-treated and most reasonably paid workers and therefore did not act in the boycott part of the simulation. Two other types of workers are the Filipinos (pink hats) and the Mexicans (blue hats). Historically, the Filipino workers had slightly worse conditions than the Mexicans did because they were more desperate for work. The Filipinos were included in the construction of the UFW, whereas before they were involved in smaller organizations focused solely on improving the conditions of the Filipino workers. In the simulation, the Mexican and Filipino workers generally share the same behavior: while both respond to the farmer's message to žworkÓ by picking grapes and sending a message to the market to buy grapes (just like the domestic workers do), these workers also have an anger level that increases over time because of their terrible working conditions and poor wages. Once this level gets to a certain point they stop working in efforts to better their working conditions, and make the truth known about their conditions. This means that fewer grapes are being sent to the market, and the farmer has less workers. The fourth type of workers are the braceros (light brown hats) who represent the workers that were brought over illegally from Mexico to take the place of the Mexicans and Filipinos who were on strike. The braceros would work longer days for less pay.
In the simulation we have set up, there are three farmers- one for each farm. Only one of the farmers' behavior is programmed, but his behavior and actions represent the behavior of the other farmers as well. The farmer is responsible for the poor working conditions: very low pay, unsanitary working and living conditions, insufficient living quarters, etc. He displays how terrible the conditions that he is providing are by every once in a while yelling "work!" from his comfortable house and grass yard. While the simulation is running, the farmer continuously broadcasts a "work" message to all of the workers. If the Mexican and Filipino workers go on strike, then the farmer replaces them with bracero workers. In history, after the long boycott in the 1960's, the farmers eventually improved the working conditions, although, even today there are still some situations in which the working conditions need to be improved.
In our simulation, The market is set in the middle of the town. When the workers broadcast the "buy grapes" message, the market has a 40% chance of making grapes appear below it on the worksheet. When the consumers begin to boycott the grapes, the grapes start to pile up in front of the market and eventually rot.
The grapes have the capability to rot. This happens when they stay at the market for too long, which means that the consumers stopped buying the grapes and the boycott is happening.
The consumers represent the population buying the grapes. As time passes, they get influenced by the UFW and their leader, Cesar Chavez. The more they are exposed to Cesar Chavez and his ideas, the more they are influenced and comply with him. This influence results in the consumers boycotting the grapes picked by the farm workers. As individuals react to ChavezŪ ideas they create a chain reaction effect among fellow consumers. In our simulation we created three different types of consumers. Each type has a different level of being influenced. The brown-haired consumer is the most difficult to influence, followed by the black-haired consumer, and lastly the blue-haired consumers who are the most easily influenced. Both the brown- and black-haired are not only influenced by Chavez, but they can also be influenced by the strong-headed blue-haired consumers. When these consumers begin to be influenced they change colors to various shades of red. These consumers are programmed to žbuy grapesÓ when they are next to the grapes that are put out by the market. As their influence levels increase, they are less likely to buy grapes. Eventually their levels of influence get to a point where none of the consumers buy grapes from the market, and thus participate in a boycott.
Cesar Chavez's role is to influence consumers to stop buying grapes. He moves around the town and when he sees consumers around him, he tries to influence them to support the boycott.
These representatives move around the fields and influence the workers to strike. They only have influence on the Mexican and Filipino workers, but not on the domestic workers. If the farmers see these representatives then they will threaten them, and attempt to get off their property.
introduction | history | simulation | agent descriptions | UFW news | thinkquest