The United Farm Workers (UFW) support group in the Cambridge area is intensifying its efforts to gain Harvard students' support for the union's drive to organize California's migrant laborers, a spokesman for the group said yesterday.
Irven Hershenbaum, the director of the Cambridge-Somerville support group, said yesterday he plans to focus on Harvard students because he found them "very responsive" to the farmworkers' cause.
The group believes it is important to alert students to the ongoing boycott of non-UFW lettuce, grapes and Gallo products because the UFW "efforts in Boston and at Harvard provide the organization and the money that keeps the movement going," Hershenbaum said.
The union is conducting a drive to organize 100,000 workers, the biggest such drive in its history, he said.
William G. Maddox '79, who is coordinating a used book and record sale for the farm workers in the union this week, said the support group hopes to raise between $500 and $1000 for the organizing drive.
The support group hopes students will donate books and records for the sale, Maddox added.
Several students who distributed literature in dining halls last week said yesterday student response has not been as enthusiastic as they had hoped it would be.
Kevin Grumbach '78 said yesterday the farm workers' movement "used to be an issue that cut across a lot of political lines," but because it received little publicity last year it seems to have lost its broad base of support.
"It used to be that people could empathize with the plight of the farm workers, but now only the diehards seem interested," he said.
Steve Aldrich '78 agreed yesterday that "the response has not been over-whelming," but added that he expected that an intensified effort by the support group would make the UFW a more prominent issue.
Mark Johnson, a member of the Cambridge support group, said yesterday the UFW has concentrated its efforts in the last year on passing collective bargaining legislation in California, rather than on publicizing the boycott.
Hershenbaum said the UFW has won 70 per cent of the elections it has held in California, but said, "The boycotts will continue until every farm worker gets his job back.