The FBI's dossier on Chávez was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which contains provisions that allowed the FBI to withhold portions of the documents from public view. Indeed, many parts—and in some cases, entire pages—have been excised from the files. Nevertheless, the collection provides a compelling window into the efforts of the farmworker movement, as well as the values and methods of the FBI itself.
These FBI memos, from December 1969 and April 1970, detail United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) demonstrations in Chicago related to the Delano grape strike and pesticide use by growers. The protests were indicative of the UFWOC's grassroots efforts to bring national recognition to the farmworker movement.
In a transmission dated December 24, 1969, the FBI's field office in Chicago reported on a protest at a Jewel Food Company store in Skokie, Illinois. According to a source, demonstrators blocked the entrance to the store, and consequently, store officials notified local police. The incident ended in the arrest of 20 demonstrators who refused to unblock the entrance of the store. According to a subsequent letterhead memorandum, the demonstrators indicated that they represented the UFWOC and carried out the protest in support of the union's nationwide boycott of California table grapes.
In another memo dated April 15, 1970, a confidential source advised that the UFWOC was planning to hold a protest the next day at the regional offices of the Food and Drug Administration in Chicago. According to a report on the protest, demonstrators held signs and passed out literature calling for an end to the use of harmful pesticides on Illinois food crops.