A Valentine’s Day message from farmworkers

Farmworkers paid a Valentine’s Day visit to Hannaford Supermarkets to urge the grocery chain to join the Milk with Dignity Program. For weeks, workers have been making valentines to customers to educate them about conditions in Hannaford’s supply chain. On February 14th, we delivered those messages.

Next Wednesday, we will ask folks to show their support for Milk with Dignity by making a call to Hannaford President Mike Vail. Can you volunteer for the 2/21 call-in day?

A group of farmworkers and allies gathered on the 14th to pass out valentines at a Hannaford store. Heart-shaped fact sheets described the conditions faced by workers on farms producing Hannaford-brand milk, and workers penned handwritten notes on the back calling on Hannaford to take action. Farmworkers passed out the hearts throughout the store before coming together to deliver a message to the store manager.

February 14th also marks the launch of a new farmworker survey on labor and housing conditions in the dairy industry. In the coming months, a team of farmworkers – with support from the University of Massachusetts Labor Center – will travel across Vermont and surrounding states to interview fellow workers about their experiences on dairy farms.

This survey will provide the most comprehensive data to date about conditions in the northeast dairy industry. It will update and expand the results from MIgrant Justice’s seminal 2014 farmworker-to-farmworker survey, which interviewed nearly 200 workers across Vermont. The 2014 survey revealed that nearly half of dairy workers were paid below the state minimum wage, 40% worked seven days a week without a day off, and 20% had experienced wage theft.

This year’s survey will uncover what has changed – and what hasn’t – in the decade since the last comprehensive study. While we know that conditions have markedly improved on the farms in the Milk with Dignity Program, the survey will uncover the depths of the abuses that are endemic to the industry – and to Hannaford’s supply chain.

Can you help contact Migrant Justice supporters and drive calls to Hannaford on 2/21? Sign up to volunteer!

Check out the full photo report below!