Service center

Service center

Bonnie Chatfield, Gilbert Padilla, Helen Chavez, and Jessica Govea working at the Farm Worker Service Center. Delano, ca. 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

The Service Center was initially funded with a grant provided by the Stern Family Fund in Washington and the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Department and was set up in the fall of 1966 by Marshall Ganz to help people with welfare, disability, and income tax problems.

Jessica Govea sitting at the NFWA Service Center. Delano, 1967. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

It was directed by LeRoy Chatfield and the small team working in the office included his wife, Bonnie Chatfield, and Jessica Govea. The health clinic, the credit union, and social services were operating under its structure and all its services were only offered to union members. “I think the Service Center in a certain way has always been in existence,” said Chatfield in an interview with The Movement in 1967. “Especially in the early days of the union when César, Gil (Padilla), Dolores (Huerta), and Julio (Hernández) were the Service Center. Any problem a member had with an employer, any welfare or income tax problems, any services that they needed, then they came to the union. And the union at that time, as I said, was César, Dolores, and Gil.” In time, the Service Center would be staffed by thirty volunteers and operate eighteen hours a day, seven days a week.


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