My name is Joaquin Chavez. I’m a labor movement activist, a university worker, and Vice President of my union of 16,000 members, UPTE-CWA 9119. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Oakland and lived for a time in Guatemala while I was young. My experiences seeing hardship and poverty in these two places deeply affected me. Graduating college and starting my career in the depths of the last recession, working two and three jobs for years on end, clarified for me just how much our politics needed to change.
I’ve been organizing with other working people for the past decade, and my mission is to build power for the whole working class so that we can win governing majorities for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and a permanent rollback of the corporate takeover of the last forty years. The disastrous events of the last year have only underscored how urgently we need these policy solutions to the problems we face.
I believe that the only way we can bring about such changes is with an inside-outside strategy that links our movements together in order to hold power accountable and to make fundamental reforms to our political system. We had a taste of that in my union’s fight at the University of California, where we used five massive, statewide strikes along with the inside game lobbying UC’s Board of Regents to win a historic contract victory.
From the New Deal to the Civil Rights movement, it was organized, working-class people who have made the great victories of our history possible. They didn’t band together just to make their voice heard or to speak truth to power. They came together to challenge power and to take it from those who shut them out.
We’ve done it before. Let’s organize and make it happen again.
Further Summary of Experience:
• UPTE-CWA 9119 Systemwide Vice President (2018-present)
• UPTE Davis Local 6 Chapter President (2016-2018)
• CWA National Committee on Civil Rights and Equity (2020-present)
• Executive Board, Sacramento Central Labor Council AFL-CIO (2014-present)
• Campaign Co-Chair, Raise the Wage Davis (2013-2016)
• UC Davis alumnus, 23-year Davis resident