LOS ANGELES – The United Farm Workers (UFW) of America AFL-CIO are calling on all of their supporters to contact President Bush and protest his “preemptive war on Iraq.”

In a statement released on Jan. 22, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez announced the union’s opposition to the war in Iraq as he recalled the legacy of “peace and non violence” by Cesar E. Chavez, the union’s first president and co-founder.

“If there was ever a time for Cesar’s legacy to come alive it is now,” said Rodriguez. “Pres. Bush’s war in Iraq would do lasting harm to our democracy here at home.”

The strongly worded statement emphasized that President Bush “has not offered convincing evidence to the American people that war is needed because Iraq poses a real threat to our country. Yet such a use of U.S. military force would require thousands of young men and women, many of them people of color, to fight overseas in the name of democracy.”

Rodriguez pointed to estimates that the war on Iraq would cost as much as $200 billion which would require the reduction in public spending on job creation, health care, welfare, the environment and other vital programs.

“Farm workers, who are among the poorest and most abused workers in America” would be amongst “millions of impoverished working families and minorities who would be devastated by budget cuts made in order to “place the federal budget on a war footing” continued Rodriguez. The latest Department of Labor figures show 90 percent of California farm workers earn less than $10,000 a year and 90 percent have no health coverage.

Dolores Huerta, also a union co-founder and champion for farm worker rights, has marched and been a speaker at anti war demonstrations of tens of thousands in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The UFW issued notices to supporters asking them to join the union in opposing Bush’s war on Iraq. A direct e-mail protest message to Bush can be sent from the UFW website at

The author can be reached at evnalarcon@aol.com

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