Al Rojas will speak at UUSF this Sunday, 9:30 in the MLK Room. Here is an announcement and below a short bio of the speaker for those who may want to know more about him.
Al Rojas worked as a Farm Worker most of his child and early adult life.
In 1964 he began organizing farm workers while forming the Citizens Against Poverty Organization (CAP) a community organization in Oxnard, California.
In 1965 Al Rojas and other workers from that region helped found the United Farm Workers Independent Union (UFW) – IBT and became heavily involved in organizing farm workers of the Oxnard and Southern Coastal region. Rojas soon joined in support of the Delano Grape Strike headed by the Agricultural Workers Organizing committee (AWOC) and the National Farm workers Association (NFWA) of Cesar Chavez.
Rojas led strikes throughout California and was the Director of the UFWs Western Pennsylvania Grape Boycott from 1968-1970
After victory in the grape boycott and the signing of 150 union contracts with some of the largest Agricultural Corporations in the country Rojas was assigned field office Director for the UFW in the Terra Bella/Porterville area in Tulare County and administered 30 Union contracts; well over 5,000 workers. In 1973, Chavez assigned Al Rojas as Director of Organizing Northern California in servicing grape contracts in the Napa and Sonoma Valley regions and organizing tomato workers in the Sacramento Valley.
During that same period, a wave of farm strikes pressured the California State Legislature to consent to the passage of the Agricultural Regulations Act (ALRB), signed by then and current Governor Jerry Brown.
From 1989 to 1992 Rojas formed the North Americans for Democracy in Mexico organization (NADM). NADM was one of first organizations to send foreign observers in the observation of elections in Mexico.
In 1994, Rojas co-founded the Zapatista Solidarity Coalition with others in effort to bring awareness of the Zapatista indigenous movement in Chiapas, Mexico and their opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and other Neoliberal policies that has “forced” massive migration of small farmers and workers from south of the U.S. border.
In addition, during 1999, Al Rojas led numerous SEIU Local 1000 Labor delegations to Mexico to march in the May 1st – International Workers Day march, and participate in the largest May Day march in the Western hemisphere of 450,000 workers, in an effort to build bi-national unity between both independent labor union movements between the U.S. and Mexico.
In 2006, Al Rojas worked very closely with the Oaxaca Teachers Union (SNTE-CNTE-SCC 22) of Mexico during the 2006 brutal teachers strike.
Rojas sits on the board of the Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (AFL-CIO) fighting racist policies that affect Yolo and Sacramento county residents.
Rojas continues his work for human rights, workers rights, democracy, and social justice including solidarity work for the 50,000 farm workers who went on strike in San Quintin in March 2015. He is a leader of the Driscoll berry boycott in solidarity with those workers.