2023: A year of headlines for human rights
Posted Tue, 11/28/2023 - 12:48pm
With the support of thousands of people like you, immigrant farmworkers have spent the past year continuing to organize for human rights and economic justice – and in the process, we have transformed the state of Vermont, the dairy industry in the region, and the landscape of labor organizing around the country. We want to tell you the story of those successes through the headlines they generated throughout the year and invite you to support this work with a donation today.
We created the Milk with Dignity Program to improve conditions on dairy farms and to protect farmworkers’ basic human rights. Six years in, the program’s impact is grabbing the attention of the academic and business world. Researchers penned an article for the Harvard Business Review on how the worker-driven Milk with Dignity Program is succeeding where many corporate versions have failed.
Migrant Justice is not alone in advancing this model of “worker-driven social responsibility.” Reporter Alice Driver, writing for The New York Review of Books, embedded with Arkansas poultry workers, Florida tomato pickers, and Vermont dairy workers to show how each community is using this innovative strategy to push corporations to protect workers’ rights. Our successes are inspiring communities around the country – from construction workers in Minnesota, to seafood workers in Massachusetts – to organize and win improvements on the job.
In Vermont, Migrant Justice has raised awareness of the essential role of immigrant farmworkers. Newsmagazine Seven Days devoted an entire issue to the state’s iconic dairy industry, highlighting the work of Migrant Justice and the impact of Milk with Dignity.
In the past several years, our work has expanded well beyond our roots in Vermont. Farmworkers’ campaign inviting Maine-based grocery chain Hannaford Supermarkets to join Milk with Dignity continues to gather steam. When hundreds of dairy workers and supporters from around the region converged this summer for a mass march in Portland, Maine, the state’s press corps, including the Portland Sunday Herald, was there to cover the action.
As pressure on Hannaford grows, the company has tried to fool consumers by rolling out a knock-off version of the Milk with Dignity Program. Vermont Public interviewed workers who had suffered severe abuses on dairy farms in Hannaford’s supply chain; the reporting shows how those workers had tried to defend their rights through the company’s mechanisms – only to be rebuffed by Hannaford’s inaction. The report contrasts Hannaford’s failures to protect farmworker rights with the proven success of Milk with Dignity and its worker hotline.
Migrant Justice has achieved tremendous success over the years – a story well-documented in an article in Modern Farmer – but we know our work is far from done. Far too many immigrant farmworkers continue to work grueling hours without rest, for poverty pay, living in inhumane conditions. Too many families live in fear of exercising their basic rights. Migrant Justice must continue to grow to meet the challenges in the years ahead.
Immigrant farmworkers are leading this fight for human rights and economic justice but cannot do it alone. Our movement is propelled by the thousands of supporters who have contributed time, energy, and money. We invite you to join in these transformational victories by making a donation to Migrant Justice today.