REAGAN, Ronald (1911-2004), President. Typed letter signed (''Ron''), as Governor of California, to Dolores M. Ballachino, Sacramento, 28 July 1970. 2 pages, 4to, official stationery, with 3-line autograph postscript.
REAGAN, Ronald (1911-2004), President. Typed letter signed ("Ron"), as Governor of California, to Dolores M. Ballachino, Sacramento, 28 July 1970. 2 pages, 4to, official stationery, with 3-line autograph postscript.
"AS PRES[IDENT] I LED MY UNION IN THE 1ST STRIKE IN ITS HISTORY--AND WE WON"
Reagan defends his record on labor relations and his treatment of Cesar Chavez in this re-election year letter. He cites his experience as president of the Screen Actors Guild in the late 1940s: "As you know, I was president of my union six times and on the board of directors a total of twenty-five years. I am still a lifetime member of that union; the only union member, incidentally, to ever serve as governor of this state. Obviously, I am not anti-labor although I am well aware that organized labor at the top level...is trying to plant that idea. On the other hand, I have a great deal of labor support--I couldn't have been elected in California without it."
The problem he has with Chavez and the United Farm Workers is that "by use of the boycott Chavez is trying to organize workers without their permission. He attempts to force the employer into a contract with him and then orders the workers to join his union." Reagan says his desk is "covered with petitions signed by thousands of workers who do not want [Chavez] to represent them in collective bargaining...I believe organized labor begins with the workers themselves deciding what union they want to represent them and deciding this preferably by secret ballot." He proposed a plan for state mediators to supervise union elections, but "Chavez has flatly refused, preferring to go his way of forcing the workers into his union with them having no vote at all." Still smarting from the charge that he is anti-labor, Reagan adds a handwritten postscript, pointing out "that as Pres. of my union I led it in the 1st strike in its history--and we won." Chavez's nationally publicized boycotts and hunger-strikes resulted in a favorable labor contract between his UFW members and California's grape growers in 1970.