Chris Chavez’s Union life started as a member of the Mill Hands Union in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. When he returned to the states, he started working at Sierra Electric in Albuquerque NM. After “salting” the job, he became a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers IBEW Local 611, and Sierra Electric became a Union workplace. Chavez worked with his tools in residential and commercial jobs for years and then ran for a leadership position in Local 611. After Chavez was elected, he started a Newsletter and served as the Editor for 10 years. As Executive Director of the NM State Federation of labor, he set a goal to get Unions to unify on politics. He walked many picket lines and supported Union member education. Chavez supported Harry Teague in his congressional election (2009-2011). Chavez’s proudest achievement is bringing the AFL-CIO Working America program to New Mexico.
The Working People's History of New Mexico Project (WPHNM) is an oral labor history project created to gather the labor stories of working people in New Mexico. While part of the interviews focus on the specific jobs that the interviewees performed, the interviews also explore labor-management relations as well as union, workers council, and social activism participation. The interviews contain information about family and social relationships and offer themes of social and historical interest in New Mexico and the US.