In my 64+ years of life, my most prized possession is a personal letter to me from Cesar dated dated and signed on Jan. 3, 1973.
At that time I was a young recent college grad and ended up in a job with Pan Am Airways in Los Angeles, which was a Teamsters union operation. I became a shop steward with them but was very supportive of Cesar and the UFW. At that time the Teamsters started signing “sweetheart” deals with the farmers in collusion with them to prevent the UFW from organizing the workers. I and several others formed a movement which we called “Teamsters for Chavez”. We had some success and publicity, but our main achievement was taking Frank Fitzsimmons, then the Teamsters President, to Federal Court in LA to try and stop their deals with the farm owners.
Cesar’s letter to me reads ” We have received work of the strong support you and many of your co-workers in IBT Local 208 have shown our movement. We are very warmed by your solidarity and are very grateful for your actions”.
The letter is framed and hangs on my home office wall, where I can look at it every day. Those days in Calif in the 70s were a very exciting time in the movement and I will always remember them and the great man that Cesar Chavez was, my only true hero to this day!