I grew up in New York City in the sixties and seventies, and in those years went to a Jewish secular summer camp (Camp Kinderland) founded by garment workers in 1923, who wanted to set up a place where their kids could escape the summer swelter and learn the values of workers’ struggles, peace, civil rights and caring for our environment. I first learned about the grape and lettuce boycotts when a UFW rep visited that summer camp, and taught us the “solidarity clap”. Naturally, the camp was fully on board with the boycotts and the struggle for farmworker justice.
I was invited to interview for a “volunteer” attorney position with the UFW in last 1981, visited La Paz (and spent some time soaking in SoCal), and I was hooked. Worked in the UFW Legal Department for four years beginning in 1982; it was good to fight the good fight after experiencing some frustration while working for a city housing agency that was supposed to fight housing discrimination.
This was a transitional time for the UFW and the ALRB, as Governor Brown left office, and we faced sixteen consecutive years of state administrations dedicated to impeding the UFW and gains for workers, coupled with a grower community that was rebounding from a barrage of union success.
After I left the union in 1986, I started working at a union-side firm in Los Angeles, which still does work for the union and its health and pension plans (and fights against farm worker wage theft); we remain strongly dedicated and committed to the struggle as it continues to this day. And in 1996, I married Marcy Winograd, who herself had been an organizer for the union in the 1970s.