Philip Vera Cruz

#asianpacificamericanheritagemonthProfilesApril 24, 2023

Philip Vera Cruz (1904-1994) was a Filipino American whose impact on the labor movement paved the way for generations of organizers to come.

After emigrating to the United States in his early 20s, Cruz worked a variety of labor jobs in California from a box factory to a restaurant to doing farm work as a member of the National Farm Labor Union in the 1950s.

Vera Cruz joined Cesar Chavez and others in founding the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, which became a powerful force in the labor movement. He played a key role in organizing farm workers and negotiating contracts with growers, and he became a trusted adviser to Chavez.

Vera Cruz was known for his commitment to nonviolent resistance and his belief in the power of organized labor to bring about social change. He was a vocal advocate for workers’ rights and civil rights, and he fought tirelessly to improve the lives of farm workers and their families.

“My life within the union, my life now outside the union, are all one: my continual struggle to improve my life and the lives of my fellow workers,” said Vera Cruz. “But our struggle never stops.”