Arturo Rodriguez

President - United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Arturo Rodriguez has helped revitalize the union founded by Cesar Chavez in the four years since the 47-year old San Antonio, Texas native took over the helm of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO in May 1993.

After kicking off a major new organizing drive in 1994, the UFW has won 16 straight secret-ballot union elections and 21 new contracts with growers. Membership has grown by 6,000 workers to more than 26,000 workers under UFW contract.

"The UFW has had the best record of organizing new members of any union in 1995." the Wall Street Journal quoted a top AFL-CIO official in a December 19, 1995 front-page story on the UFW. "The AFL-CIO's new president. John Sweeney, calls the UFW "one of the few bright spots in the American labor lately to show that it is a rising force," the Journal concluded.

And they are using their new weight in a new fashion: The union has been lobbying grocers, who don't want a boycott, to put pressure on growers. Since 1993, the union has won 14 elections to represent unorganized workers and negotiated 16 contracts for workers, including a long-fought battle with Red Coach lettuce and another deal with a winery in Napa. He is married to Linda Chavez, daughter of the late Cesar Chavez, who founded the UFW.