Sandy Nathan


Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Roll cursor over image for caption information

“Sandy had been working in Los Angeles for less than four months when he was sent to Coachella in April for a few days. He drove his beat-up MG convertible east from Los Angeles, past the Palm Springs oasis for which the Coachella desert was famous, to the hot, dusty, poor farming areas, acres of grapes and citrus and dates. The grape contracts signed in 1970 were expiring, and the Teamsters were taking them away. The Coachella grape growers had seen how well the sweetheart contracts with the Teamsters worked for the vegetable growers. They wanted the same deal.


When Sandy arrived in Coachella he called Jerry. Jerry told Sandy he was staying there indefinitely. The union was going on strike.


Sandy was stuck in a hole-in-the wall hovel in the sweltering desert, some days writing out briefs by hand when he couldn’t borrow a typewriter. For the first time in his life, he felt good about being a lawyer. He was making a difference in people’s lives. And having a blast. He told his parents he was proud of the work he did, and that meant the world to him.”


excerpt from The Union of Their Dreams

lawyers letter.pdf
In the spring of 1978, the union’s executive board voted by the narrowest of margins to stop paying lawyers and endorse Cesar Chavez’s commitment to an all-volunteer staff. The decision left the legal department Jerry Cohen had built in limbo. Sandy and the remaning lawyers collectively drafted a letter asking Chavez and Jerry for clarification.