The ATF once suggested that Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers Union bombed themselves

“UFWOC has recently been involved in a controversial labor strike of lettuce growers and shippers throughout California”

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Michael Morisy

When we first looked at Cesar Chavez’s FBI file, the Bureau was questioning the young labor organizer’s integrity. Decades later, a different Department of Justice component cast doubt on Chavez and the union he ran - even going so far as to suggest they had bombed themselves for the “publicity.”

In November 1973, a representatives of Chavez’s United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) telephoned the FBI, and reported that somebody had just bombed their office in Hollister, California.

Nobody was injured, but the explosives - which appeared to have just been hung from the doorknob - had done roughly $500 in damages and blown a two-foot hole in the abode.

Although no group took responsibility for the bombing, the FBI noted that a “controversial” group like the UFWOC is bound to have made some enemies.

While the Bureau has handed more than its fair share of bomb threats, bombs that actually go off are a whole different deparment, and the agent in charged ended up passing the case on to lesser-known “Explosives” branch of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Department (ATF) (Later known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

A few months later, the FBI checked back in on the case - and indicated that the two agencies might disagree a bit on detective methods.

Never before has an underline had such obvious overtones.

Unfortunately, that’s where the investigation - and the file - ends, so we’ll never get to know if they ATF every manged to crack the case. Read the full investigation embedded below, or on the request page.


Image via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0