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Why David Sometimes Wins

Why David Sometimes Wins — Marshall Ganz file (pages 53-118)

In these next few chapters Ganz focuses on different approaches to farm organizing in CA in 50’s and 60’s amongst AFL-CIO committee, different unions and Chavez’s farm worker organization. There are political and structural differences that lead to strategic differences. Ganz clearly believes that by examining these strategic differences we will understand why Chavez was ultimately successful in organizing the farm workers union. If you are finding this reading a little dense, focus on the strategic and political questions, don’t worry about a lot of the little historical detail(that we labor historians love) Another words look for the larger themes. It can also help to read his conclusion at the end of each chapter and then begin the reading.
Question 1: Outline the differences between the AFL-CIO’s organizing committee (AWOC) and Chavez’s work in Oxnard and then with the FWA, which GANZ believes explains why AWOC won a strike but couldn’t succeed at organizing a union. What are the strategic differences, what does Chavez learn about community organizing in Oxnard that he applies to organizing the FWA?
·          Reading: Why David Sometimes Wins — Marshall Ganz(pages 119-166)
This week’s reading is on the Delano Grape Strike, which was the turning point or moment for the UFW. As you recall Chavez had a longer term strategy to slowly build a farm worker’s movement, he had no intention of following the conventional practice to merely gain a wage increase, he wanted to build a union. He had no intention to organize a strike at this point in time, you might say he was ‘backed into it” or that he took advantage of the changing situation. This section is all about the evolving strategy, as Ganz continues to argue that VFW strategic capacity led to their eventual success. Please answer the forum questions.
Question 2: Throughout this strike the NFWA does not employ conventional strike strategy and tactics. Comment on any piece of their strategy or specific tactic that you found interesting( that means you can either agree or disagree, just tell us why)
Question 3: AWOC and the Filipano workers struck the Delano grape growers demanding higher wages. Chavez calls his leadership team to discuss NFWA’s options, since their strategy did not plan on a strike for years. They of course decided to support the strikers and then agree that they would risk a strike, if the workers agreed to 3 conditions. What were these conditions and what else did the leadership team want to see in order to believe that they could manage a strike?What do you think of the leadership team’s decision making process? Do you think it impacted their ability to call and maintain a strike?

 

Question 4:Do you have the necessary resources to strike, to build a union, a basic strategic question? This usually means at least money and political support. Initially the NFWA has neither. However each time money is offered Chavez evaluates whether or not the NFWA should take it. They even turn down a big government grant in order to strike in Delano. What were his concerns about whether or not to accept financial or political support(this can be within the labor movement, other organizations, elected officials) What do you think about he handled these issues?
·         Reading: Why David Sometimes Wins — Marshall Ganz(Find answers on pages 167-238)
Question 5:Describe the different election campaign approaches the Teamsters and the Farm Workers Union used. This includes, strategy, tactics, relationships with workers, employers, community, politicians.
Question 6: Please comment on the Chavez and his team’s leadership style, or some aspect/example of how they developed leadership.
·         Reading: Why David Sometimes Wins: (Find Answer on pages: 238-254)
Ganz’s Epilogue brings us to the present day, as Epilogue’s usually due, but it also serves as a thorough summation of his argument, for why David sometimes Wins, over what should be insurmountable odds. Throughout this story he has also given us one of the most systematic models for effective grass roots leadership development. He shows how the UFW did it, and regularly provides examples of how their leadership development enabled them to grow and surmount incredible challenges. Although this is the story of the “underdog” and grass roots leadership development, I suspect that some of the authors we read at the start of the term might say that this “case study” proves their point. Please answer all the forum questions this week, but you only have to respond to classmate’s post on the question about the demise of the UFW.
Question 7:Ganz also analyzes the demise of the UFW. I personally was struck by how Chavez could build a movement and a union out of nothing, but then could not maintain the organization. It reminded me of the difference between leadership and management and how both are needed. After reading Ganz’s analysis what lesson do you walk away with, concerning the demise of the UFW?
Question 8:Ganz provides a very compelling argument for the importance of leadership development, at all levels in the organization, including a decentralized leadership structure. What one aspect of leadership development, or structure, might you want to try implementing in your organization?
Question 9: Did Ganz prove his thesis, that David(UFW) sometimes wins, because of his(their) strategic capacity?

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