"Days of Fury and Days of Tears" - Free Victor Diaz!

"There are days of winds, days of fury and days of tears.  But there are also days of love that give us the courage to carry on." - Victor Diaz

Migrant Justice leader Victor Diaz was arrested on Thursday, April 21st by undercover ICE agents outside a Mexican cultural event in Stowe, VT.  He had returned the day before from a national gathering of the Food Chain Workers Alliance in Los Angeles, representing Vermont farmworkers in an effort to build a unified movement for fair food.

Victor is a dairy farmworker in Vermont and a nationally-recognized human rights leader.  Two years ago, he reached out to Migrant Justice after enduring years of inhumane conditions on a Vermont dairy farm. Farmworkers and allies joined forces to march on the farm and won back $1,800 in stolen wages.  

Read more about Victor's case and the growing efforts to free him in the full post!

What do blueberry pickers, lobstermen and dairy workers have in common?

They were all at Migrant Justice last weekend for a historic tri-state gathering of agricultural workers.

Immigrant workers from New York, Maine, and Vermont gathered together to share organizing models and build solidarity across industries and state lines.  Members of Mano en Mano (Maine), Workers’ Center of Central New York (Syracuse), Nuestra Voz de la Comunidad (Maine), and the Worker Justice Center of New York packed the Migrant Justice office over the weekend to hear from Vermont dairy workers about our game-changing Milk with Dignity program.

Migrant Justice inspired our guests with the history of the Milk with Dignity campaign and its potential to transform the dairy industry.  "In the Milk with Dignity program, workers hold corporations accountable to guarantee their human rights are protected through the supply chain," said Migrant Justice leader Kike Balcazar.  And this spring, we are sharing this same message around the country.  

Last month brought us to the national Jobs with Justice conference in Washington, D.C. and a meeting of the Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Collaborative in NYC.  And next month we’ll be presenting at the summit of the Food Chain Worker’s Alliance in Los Angeles and the national Labor Notes conference in Chicago.

Whether we are bringing people to Vermont or taking our message on the road, Migrant Justice is being recognized as a national leader in the movement to create dignified work and housing for immigrant farmworkers!

Read the full article for a complete photo report of the weekend!

6 Years. 6 Human Rights Victories!

Migrant Justice got its start 6 years ago when young farmworker José Obeth Santiz Cruz was strangled to death in a horrific workplace accident on a VT dairy farm.  Obeth's death served as a spark for farmworkers to share food and experiences, analyze community problems, propose solutions and take collective action. In farmworker "asambleas" the community transformed problems into a proactive human rights agenda that serves, to this date, as Migrant Justice's map and compass. In just 6 years we've had 6 major human rights victories!

 

Human Right to Access Health Care 

In 2011, Migrant Justice partnered with the VT Worker's Center to defeat an effort to exclude undocumented people from Vermont's future universal health care system 

Students Stand for Milk with Dignity!

Click here to ​Purchase Tickets for  our 12/19 Annual Fiesta!

This summer Ben & Jerry's took the lead in the dairy industry promising it would incorporate the Milk with Dignity Program  into its supply chain to ensure 100% of their milk is sourced in compliance with the human rights of farmworkers.  The campaign was highlighted in the New York Times and inspired a national delegation of Real Food Challenge student activists to travel to Vermont for a reality tour of dairy farms that turned their world upside down:

"The confusing reality is that for an outsider, this area of Vermont is beautiful. There are rolling hills, bucolic farmsteads, those iconic red barns… But these vistas--so reminiscent of grocery-store packaging and dairy industry marketing--obscure the very real struggle that workers and farmers face. And even after witnessing these human rights violations first hand, some part of me still wants to hold on to the marketeers’ myth of this agricultural dreamland. To pretend, to ignore, to turn away. 

It begs an important question for all of consumers: knowing the reality, will we work to challenge the status quo or will we cling to the myth?"        (Read full article here)

VT Farmworkers Gain National Recognition For Milk with Dignity Campaign

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*Purchase tickets here for our annual Fiesta on December 19 and join on facebook here!

 

*Help with set up, clean up, donate a raffle item, or give a lift to a farmworker neighbor by emailing here.

 

 

Food workers across the globe are joining forces this thanksgiving time demanding recognition, rights and dignity as part of International Food Workers Week. Migrant Justice was recognized as one of 21 organizations across the nation leading the way to advance the human rights and dignity of food workers:

“These laborers deserve a voice in the food system. From farm to fork, laborers deserve a living wage, safe working conditions, the right to organize, and access to benefits. Furthermore, they deserve recognition for the role they play in feeding families across the globe, and their stories should be highlighted. Many organizations around the world are working to ensure that workers’ voices are heard at every stage of food supply chains, and to protect these laborers’ rights, safety, and livelihoods. Food Tank is highlighting the work of 21 notable organizations working for labor justice around the world…” 

Villalobos Brothers Benefit Concert! / Concierto de Villalobos Brothers en beneficio de Justicia Migrante!

Join us on Friday, September 11th to hear the world-renowned Villalobos Brothers play live!!! Doors open at 7PM, and the concert starts at 8PM at the Old Labor Hall in Barre, VT! There will be incredible music, delicious food, ice-cold drinks, and lots and lots of dancing!! 

Ben & Jerry's Commits to Work with VT Dairy Workers to Adopt Milk with Dignity Program in Supply Chain

"Congratulations to everyone! We are a strong team. We have seen that we have a lot of power! By organizing and defining what we want we achieved this big step forward as workers. ¡Si Se Puede!"

-Jessica Ramirez, Migrant Justice Farmworker Coordinating Committee

Last week was an amazing week for Vermont dairy workers’ movement!

If you haven’t heard already we reached an important agreement with Ben & Jerry’s on the evening before 17 Milk with Dignity solidarity actions were planned at scoop shops across the nation!

This is a major step forward towards securing the fundamental human rights of farmworkers in Ben & Jerry’s supply chain. The heart of our agreement reads:

“This document represents Ben & Jerry’s commitment to work with Migrant Justice towards a written agreement to further detail and realize the essential elements of Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity program that will be adopted within Ben & Jerry’s Northeast dairy supply chain."

Photo by Pat Jackson.

TODAY: 17 #MilkwithDignity actions across the country! "You scream, we scream, we all scream for fair ice cream."


On the evening before 17 Milk with Dignity actions were planned at Ben & Jerry's scoop shops across the nation, Ben & Jerry's committed to work towards an agreement with farmworkers that contains the 5 essential elements of Migrant Justice's Milk with Dignity Program and to work to adopt the program into their Northeast dairy supply chain!  This is a big step forward on the road to securing fundamental worker's rights in Ben & Jerry's supply chain!

So Saturday's actions took on a more festive tone than envisioned From Hollywood, Florida, to San Francisco to Atlanta to New York City. Photos are beginning to come in demonstrating that communities across the nation are "screaming for fair ice cream" and are hungry for Ben & Jerry's to join the Milk with Dignity Program--because human rights cannot wait!

Here are some photos from the day's actions -- We'll keep updating this post as more come in!

 

 

16 Cities Across the Nation Call on Ben & Jerry's to Take Next Step Towards Ensuring Dairy Worker's Rights Are Respected in Its Supply Chain

FARMWORKERS ANNOUNCE STEP FORWARD AS BEN & JERRY’S COMMITS TO NEGOTIATE PARTICIPATION IN “MILK WITH DIGNITY PROGRAM”

 

Burlington, VT, 6/20/15, 12pm--Over 40 dairy farmworkers and dozens of community supporters gathered at the Migrant Justice office, in the old north end of Burlington, preparing to march to Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop on Church St to call on the ice cream company to join a new worker’s rights initiative--the Milk with Dignity Program. Before the march got underway Migrant Justice organizer Abel Luna broke the exciting campaign news to the big crowd, “Just yesterday Ben & Jerry's was in touch with Migrant Justice. They say they’ve heard the voices and hardships of farmworkers and have committed to work with Migrant Justice to negotiate an agreement in order to adopt the Milk with Dignity Program into their Northeast supply chain! So today, we are gathered here to recognize this significant step forward. At the same time we must continue to build a movement to demonstrate that people across the country are rallying to ensure that Ben & Jerry's walks with workers all the way to the finish line by signing the Milk with Dignity Agreement--because our human rights cannot wait!” Today, Migrant Justice also released an "Open Letter to Ben & Jerry's" signed by human rights and social justice organizations across the nation (available here).

 

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