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Lifetime Achievement Award
Beginning in 1975, at the UFW offices in San Juan, Texas, Rebecca established a large membership among the Rio Grande valley farm workers. With these organized farm workers, Rebecca and her committed staff: Provided social services where there were none; she advocated for change in state services that did not consider the special needs of farm workers, their migrancy, their poverty, their language.
After being trained by the famous leader Cesar Chavez and Fred Ross, she and farm workers organized dozens of committees in the colonias of the Rio Grande valley that then fought to raise wages and working conditions in the fields; elected politicians that would introduce and fight for good farmworker legislation; and who would fund projects that would upgrade the living conditions of colonia residents, through developing an infrastructure of streets, sewage systems, street names, electricity, water, etc.
From 1983 to 1988, she helped pass legislation for workers’ compensation for injured farm workers, unemployment compensation, raised the Texas minimum wage, prohibited the use of the short-handled hoe; provided for toilets and potable drinking water in the fields; and passed protective Pesticide Right to Know legislation.
She led annual campaigns in the Texas onion fields to raise piece rates. She organized mushroom pickers in Florida, strawberry and grape pickers in California that resulted in a union contract.
For 3 years she was State Director of the National AFL CIO. In December 2005, Rebecca retired from her union job.
Since 2014, she began to listen to the issue of the refugee mothers and children being detained in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas, and whose detention was based on the determination by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that they create a national security risk. After Governor Abbot signed SB$, she with the help of 2 other women in San Antonio formed the Pro Immigrant Coalition in San Antonio, a grassroots organization with 300 members, that supports advocates for policy changes for undocumented immigrants.
Along the way, she raised 3 children, all intelligent and committed to justice in their work.