The Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA), was the most important law in the United States in many decades. The labor unions are the cornerstone of the agricultural industry and they have made tremendous strides for farm workers. Cesar Chavez, who was born into a Mexican-American family of farm workers, dedicated his life to improving the conditions of farm workers. Many farm workers were forced to work in extreme poverty and received very low wages. Chavez was convinced that without unions, these workers were being cheated.
Cesar Chavez helped to organize the United Farm Workers union in the 1960s, and the group won a great victory in the 1970s. This organization led to groundbreaking legislation, which guaranteed agricultural workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively with their employers, and vote in secret ballot elections in California. The UFW’s influence began to wane after these victories. Political climate in California turned against labor, and Chavez never gained any traction with his pesticides campaign.