Decades ago, with César Chávez, Marc Grossman invested his life fighting for farmworkers.
Now, in the twilight of his career, Marc Grossman is fighting against farmworkers.
He’s even serving as a spokesman to help defeat farmworkers in court. And he trash-talks farmworkers whom the UFW abandoned decades ago, calling their concerns “bogus.”
It’s a sad story about a man who had devoted his life to improving the well-being of the very hard-working agricultural laborers in California.
Like the UFW itself, which has seen its membership plummet by more than 90 percent and now represents less than 1 percent of all California farmworkers, Marc Grossman is no longer relevant.
And like today’s corrupt and lazy UFW, Marc Grossman has turned against farmworkers to defend a dying cause that he can’t or won’t retire or reform.
Ordinarily, one could say that the UFW was a success story: It created public awareness, laws, and business practices to lift farmworkers from squalid conditions to jobs that pay better than some of the nation’s biggest companies.
Like any organization created to improve people’s lives, the UFW arguably is a victim of its own success. Thousands of California’s non-UFW farmworkers are paid the highest wages in the industry. They earn more than employees at Whole Foods, Target, Disney World, Home Depot, the California State Assembly, and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB).
Those non-UFW workers don’t need the UFW any more. Instead of celebrating their success, the UFW is preying on them.
And that’s Marc Grossman’s personal tragedy. He can’t let go of a tiresome, dying organization that needs the state to force farmworkers into UFW contracts. He justifies force because the workers no longer want to join the UFW freely.
And so Marc Grossman moves toward his exit by dis-serving his own life’s journey. He has ruined his personal legacy. And he discredits the legacy of the man to whom he showed so much devotion: César Chávez.