Announcing the relaunch of the Dignity Tour!
Posted Tue, 08/24/2021 - 11:30am
The Milk with Dignity program has brought about a new day for hundreds of dairy workers. Farmworkers across Vermont and New York have received raises, paid sick leave, new health and safety standards, improved housing, and protections against sexual harassment, discrimination, and unjust firings. Through the program’s worker-defined standards and binding enforcement mechanisms, workers have become frontline defenders of their human rights.
These transformations were comprehensively documented in last year’s Biennial Report. Yet too many farmworkers remain outside the protections of Milk with Dignity. And they continue to live and work in unjust, unsafe, and undignified conditions.
Dairy worker Ismael recently left a farm when he could no longer endure the deplorable housing conditions. At this farm – which produces milk for Hannaford Supermarket – eight workers share five bedrooms and one bathroom in an apartment (pictured below) built directly on top of the cow barn. Workers spend 12 hours a day milking cows, then walk upstairs to an apartment with bare plywood floors, black mold on the walls and ceiling, broken fixtures, and shared bedrooms.
“Well, the housing is in really bad shape,” Ismael recently shared. “It’s the worst in the summer because there aren’t any windows and all the heat gets trapped. It’s impossible to get any rest.”
It is because of farmworkers like Ismael that we are committed to expanding the Milk with Dignity program. We are calling on Hannaford to ensure that their store-brand milk is produced free from these human rights violations.
October 3rd will mark the two-year anniversary since Migrant Justice first publicly called on Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity – and the four-year anniversary of Ben & Jerry’s becoming the program’s first participating company. We will celebrate the occasion with the relaunch of the “Dignity Tour,” a farmworker speaking tour throughout the northeast that began in March, 2020 only to be cut short by the onset of the pandemic.
Migrant Justice is looking for schools, faith communities, activist groups, businesses, and community organizations to host stops on our northeast speaking tour, between October 3rd and 24th. Farmworkers and Migrant Justice staff will travel the region, leading presentations on the Milk with Dignity program and the Hannaford campaign. This is a key strategy to grow the campaign and build the pressure needed to bring Hannaford to the table.
Can you host a presentation and organizing meeting? If you are in New England or New York, can provide a space for the presentation, and can commit to turning out people in your community, please email us at info [at] migrantjustice.net!