César Chávez founded LUPE, a community union rooted in the belief that members of the low-income community have the responsibility and the obligation to organize themselves. Through their association, they begin to advocate and articulate for the issues and factors that impact their lives. Further, César Chávez believed that for people to have ownership of this endeavor, they have to invest of themselves, their efforts and resources, to sustain it. The membership, and the responsibility that comes with it, form the base that is the power of the organization.

cesar_chavez_LUPE
Cesar Chavez, Founder of LUPE

En el año de 1989, César Chávez fundó La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), como la organización comunitaria sin fines de lucro del Movimiento Campesino. LUPE fue fundada en la creencia de que cuando las personas trabajan unidas, pueden impactar el cambio.
Chávez se dio cuenta de que los trabajadores tenían necesidades fuera del lugar de trabajo.Tuvo la visión de LUPE como la entidad para ayudar a los trabajadores y a sus familias mediante la aplicación de los mismos principios y estrategias que utilizó cuando fundó la Unión de Fuerza Laboral (UFW).

En 2003, La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) fue establecida en el Valle del Río Grande por su Directora Ejecutiva Juanita Valdéz-Cox, en aquel tiempo Directora Estatal de UFW, en el sur de Texas. Juanita trajo el modelo LUPE al sur de Texas después de que líderes campesinos reconocieron la necesidad de un modelo de organización de la comunidad para avanzar en los objetivos de los trabajadores agrícolas y los residentes de las colonias.

Our Strategies

The LUPE strategy of change has evolved over the last three decades and now rest on four pillars.

Responding to the social and economic needs of low-income people in their struggle to overcome the barriers and challenges their face in their daily lives.

Investing in the development of the members and community at large. This self-help program is designed to develop and enable the capacity of low-income families.

Transforming is the element of LUPE that results from the people’s participation in addressing their social and economic needs, developing their human capacity, and advocating for themselves.

Building a Community of Conscience that bridges economic and social differences across the entire community.

Movement Victories

The events marked by the striped circle icons represent the victories during United Farm Workers under the leadership of Rebecca Flores, state director of South Texas. The ones marked by the full circles represent those during LUPE under the leadership of Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director.

1981: Ban of Cortito

June 8, 1981

Legislation passed; Growers subsequently began requiring workers to use a knife for weeding seedlings.  In 1987 a law was passed to outlaw unnecessary stoop labor but the Republican Governor vetoed

1983: Clean Toilets & Drinking Water in the fields

June 9, 1983

Texas Dept. of Health adopted field sanitation rules rather than face a national boycott of Texas fresh vegetables which ‘might be contaminated by human waste.’

1984: Inclusion under Workers Compensation law

June 9, 1984

In light of a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court, a special session of the Legislature adopted legislation guaranteeing coverage for all farm workers.

1984: Pesticide Controls

June 9, 1984

Texas Department of Agriculture adopted a set of rules requiring farmers to warn neighbors (when requested) of impending aerial spraying.

1985: Unemployment Compensation for farmworkers

June 9, 1985

Following the same argument as the Workers Comp law, the Supreme Court forced the Legislature to provide coverage to farm workers who had been excluded.

1985: Minimum Wage improvement

June 9, 1985

The Legislature raised the state minimum wage from $1.70 to $3.35 per hour.  Later revision permanently tied the state minimum to the federal minimum wage.

1987: Pesticide Controls

June 9, 1987

Under threat of another discrimination lawsuit, the Legislature wrote a law which established requirements that growers record their use of pesticides and provide farmworkers access to those records.  It also

2015: Colonia Streetlights

June 1, 2015

We worked with county officials and state legislators to pass HB 3002, a bill that gives the county additional tools and authority to install streetlights in rural neighborhoods. Under legislation

2001-2007: Driver’s License for Immigrants

June 9, 2015

The Texas Legislature passed a bill removing the requirement that applicants present a Social Security Card to apply for a license.  This provision would have enabled undocumented immigrants to obtain

2001: Resident Tuition for Undocumented Students

June 9, 2015

Through the organizing efforts of a broad coalition, the legislature passed a bill permitting all graduates of Texas high schools to enroll at any university in Texas and pay resident

2005-2007: Colonia Streetlights

June 9, 2015

In 2005, the Legislature authorized counties to expend a portion of their CDBG funds to install and maintain streetlights in colonias. In 2007 they authorized those same counties to collect

2008: DHS Lawsuit

June 9, 2015

In conjunction with South Texas Civil Rights Project and other non-profit groups, LUPE filed a petition seeking clarification from Border Patrol on its plan to keep checkpoints open and follow

2008: Delegations to Valley Police Chiefs Re: 287g

June 9, 2015

LUPE member delegations met with police chiefs in nine Valley cities to discuss the harmful impact on communities due to 287g (local police enforcing immigration law). The police departments agreed

2009: FEMA Lawsuit Re: Hurricane Dolly

June 9, 2015

In conjunction with South Texas Civil Rights Project, LUPE filed a lawsuit against FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Dolly for denying housing repair applications to low-income residents in the

2010: Testifying before State Board of Education

June 9, 2015

LUPE leaders and staff testified during the Board of Education’s public hearing to ensure that Cesar Chavez would not be taken out of 5th grade US History curriculum. Due to

2010: Food Stamps & Assistance

June 9, 2015

On behalf of LUPE and community members, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid filed a lawsuit against the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s practice of illegally keeping low-income families from obtaining

2011: Anti-Immigrant Legislation

June 9, 2015

Defeated over 100 anti-immigrant bills in Texas legislature as part of statewide “Texas Can do Better” campaign coordinated through the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance. Organizations from across the state

2011: Drainage & Housing Improvements

June 9, 2015

Without the proper infrastructure, Colonia residents face persistent flooding, some tolerating standing water for weeks before it’s pumped out. Hidalgo County Commissioners agreed to devote at least $14 million of

2012: Colonia Streetlights

June 9, 2015

After an 8 year campaign, members won the installation of streetlights in 13 Hidalgo County colonias. Working with the Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson

2012: Parks & Walking Trails

June 9, 2015

Working with the Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, LUPE members achieved the construction or renovation of three outside community spaces for exercise and

2013: Immigrant Private Prison

June 9, 2015

With the RGV Equal Voice Network, helped stop the City of McAllen from constructing 1000-bed private prison that would have incarcerated immigrants for profit.