"The cause is always above a single personality." -Philip Vera Cruz, former UFW Vice President
Updated: Feb 14
My History with Unions:
I first learned about Philip Vera Cruz in college. In 1926, Philip Vera Cruz immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. He wanted to go to college and become a lawyer. He could not this. Philip had to help his family, so he worked in factories and farms. In 1965, Philip joined the organizing committee of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). He later formed the United Farm Workers (UFW) Union with Cesar Chavez. Chavez and Vera Cruz united Filipino and Mexican farm laborers to go on strike against poor pay and working conditions. The 1965-1970 Delano Grape Strike and Boycott became a major force in the American labor movement.
In 1989, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) went on strike. I was in middle school when I saw my teachers on the picket line, day after day, for 9 days straight. A strong 80% of their bargaining unit were on the picket lines. They won three successive years of increased pay and more decision-making power. Many years later, I too became a teacher and was proud to join the Union. I remember that you could still feel the effects of the 1989 strike amongst union members. My mom was a proud member of the teachers' union for 27 years until she retired. Most of my family are still union members with teachers' unions, IUOE, AALA, and SEIU.
When I opened my own law firm, I made sure to extend discounts to union members. Unions are a large part of my personal family history, the history of my children's ancestors, the present, and the future. I respect the collective bargaining power of Unions and am grateful for their actions against injustice. I know first-hand what it is like to struggle in a working family. My mom raised 5 children in the inner city. When you learn about your history and discover the history of your people, you gain a better perspective. You place yourself as part of a larger movement, you begin to understand the struggles of the people who came before you, and you appreciate what you have because it came from your ancestors fighting for their rights, taking a stance, and making sacrifices.
I, Rica Andrade, will do my part to honor the struggles of working people. I will work to promote the interests of justice when I am elected District Court Judge in the Family Division, Department Y.