Three years ago, Primitivo began working on a farm in central Vermont. “I had a friend who was already there,” he said. “He told me they needed someone, so I decided to take the job.” He quickly came to regret the decision.
I came to the farm during the winter. There wasn’t enough heat in the house and you had to shower with cold water. The boss wouldn’t put a space heater in because she didn’t want to pay the electric bill.
The hours were awful – three shifts a day. And you didn’t have enough time to rest between shifts. Just all work and no rest. By the end, it was the heavy workload that made me decide to speak up.
I talked to the boss and asked for a change in the schedule. She got upset and told me if I didn’t like it, I could leave. And she threw me out then and there. She sent another worker to tell me to pack my bags. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t have anywhere to go. She didn’t even want to pay me, I had to insist. And nobody else spoke up because they were afraid the same would happen to them.
The farm where Primitivo worked sells to a nearby plant that bottles Hannaford-brand milk. In supermarkets all around New England, Hannaford is selling milk that is the product of these conditions: subminimum wages, round-the-clock work, inhumane housing, and retaliation against workers who speak up.
When Primitivo was fired for protesting inhumane conditions, there was no one to speak up for him. Let's make sure that no other worker suffers alone. This Mayday we join together to fight for farmworkers and workers' rights everywhere.
Click "Read More" to read more of Primitivo's story and learn how to take action to demand Milk with Dignity!