After thirty-five years, the UFW continues to fight for workers' rights. Today,
the UFW struggles to gain support from a newer, younger generation of farm workers.
At the same time, the UFW is involved in a dispute with growers over whether or not
there is a farm labor shortage.
Many new strawberry pickers in California are wary of joining the UFW union. Because the workers are new, they are disconnected historically to the UFW and, thus, do not feel secure in committing to the union. The UFW predicted that it would be able to get the Coastal Berry strawberry pickers to join the union first because the workers were being encouraged to join by Coastal Berry. Then other workers at other companies would follow. Unfortunately this idea was unsuccessful. A new "union" appeared and caused many workers to disassociate themselves with the UFW. As a result, the UFW continues to struggle with gaining new support.
Another problem the UFW faces today is a controversy between the raisin growers and the pickers in California. The growers claim that there is a labor shortage, but the UFW and others believe it is a hoax. The growers argue that the labor shortage is due to a loss of workers to Washington's flourishing apple crops and to the crackdown on illegal aliens from Mexico, which decreases the influx of undocumented workers. The Union and its supporters, on the other hand, wonder how a labor shortage could exist when the unemployment rate in Central Valley is at 15%. And they wonder why wages aren't increasing if there is, in fact, a labor shortage. It is believed that the growers are using this excuse to get workers for free. They have asked the government to allow prisoners, the National Guard, and children to pick the crops. The UFW also argues that there are alternatives to relying solely on labor workers, such as mechanization and other dried-on-the-vine methods.
Most importantly, over the years, the UFW has been successful. There have been significant changes in the farm workers' environment and general situation. The situations the UFW attempts to correct are complex and are part of a larger socioeconomic problem. These situations won't be completely resolved until society addresses the larger issue.
The above information was gathered from the following articles:
Online articles on the current UFW events can be found at the UFW news web page.
introduction | history | simulation | agent descriptions | UFW news | thinkquest