Announcing the "Human Rights Cannot Wait" Tour!
Posted Mon, 07/31/2017 - 1:35pm
Just over a month ago, Jostein Solheim, the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s, publicly reassured hundreds of farmworkers and their fair food allies -- at the culmination of their 13-mile march to the company's factory in Waterbury, VT – that Ben & Jerry’s is “ready to go” when it comes to Milk with Dignity.
And yet the corporation, known by many for its professed progressive values, still has yet to follow through on its commitment to protect the fundamental human rights of dairy workers in its supply chain by signing the Milk with Dignity Agreement. The Milk with Dignity Program is in fact ready to go, and designed to secure economic justice in the dairy industry by requiring corporations, like Ben & Jerry’s, to pay a price premium that goes to providing farmworkers and farmers economic relief and direct support to comply with the Program’s human rights based Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct requires farms to respect workers’ fundamental rights or lose sales to participating buyers.
To keep the pressure on Ben & Jerry’s to honor its commitment, Migrant Justice farmworker members and allies are hitting the road for the big Human Rights Can’t Wait Tour in September. From Vermont to New York City, to Boston, to DC and Philadelphia along the 1000 + mile tour route, workers will be informing the public exactly what’s inside that pint of Ben & Jerry’s when it comes to human rights conditions for dairy workers. The Tour will culminate in a national day of action on October 5th, and we need your support to make it happen.
Over the past several months -- at Harvard Law School and Stanford University, and by groups ranging from the national Presbyterian Church to the National Education Association -- the Milk with Dignity Program has been recognized as a cutting-edge, ready-to-go worker-driven solution to clean up dairy supply chains from human rights abuses. Drawing widespread support from coast to coast, the movement for Milk with Dignity has a growing list of powerful allies and supporters.
- Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, and a dozen more distinguished human rights organizations have called on the company to join the program.
- Consumers across the country put in more than 400 calls to Ben & Jerry’s in one day (approximately 1 call a minute) demanding they sign the Milk with Dignity Agreement, and conducted 11 scoop shop actions on “Free Cone Day” 2017.
- A dozen Vermont organizations hand delivered messages of support while dairy workers sustained a two-day picket line during a Ben & Jerry’s board meeting.
- Consumers, students, labor unions, and communities of faith marched with farmworkers to the Burlington, VT flagship store in a huge and spirited International Workers Day protest.
- Jobs With Justice activists sent over 4,000 emails to Ben & Jerry’s in just two days, urging them to join the Milk with Dignity Program.
- Hundreds of workers and allies joined forces for an historic 13-mile march to Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT.
The Human Rights Can’t Wait Tour and national day of action will strengthen and grow this solidarity network, because it’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to keep its promises to consumers. It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to keep its promises to farmworkers. It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to stand up for human rights by signing the Milk with Dignity Agreement.
Let us know if you are ready to stand up for farmworkers rights in Ben & Jerry’s supply chain on October 5th!
P.S. We’re going to need your help to get the Human Rights Can’t Wait Tour and National Day of action off the ground and keep building this movement that will not stop until it has an agreement in hand! Can you chip in $20 to help sponsor a farmworker member to join the tour, or $100 towards renting a van?