Join Javier on the picket line to demand Milk with Dignity!
Posted Wed, 10/19/2022 - 7:57pm
The Milk with Dignity Month of Action is at the halfway mark. Over the past two weeks, farmworkers have led pickets in front of Hannaford Supermarkets urging the grocery chain to protect workers’ rights by joining the Milk with Dignity Program.
The actions are gaining momentum: last week’s picket was bigger, louder and more energetic than the kickoff action the week before. And allies in other states who can’t make it to the pickets have begun to organize actions at their own local Hannafords!
At the action, Javier will be one of the farmworkers marching for his rights on the picket line. Javier has worked on a farm in Addison County for the last two years, where he has suffered from a litany of abuses all too common on farms outside of the Milk with Dignity Program: he works seven days a week; has no sick leave, vacation, or holidays; and has been injured on the job. Earlier this year, when he was kicked in the stomach by a cow, he had no choice but to keep working.
Javier lives with his co-workers in housing built into the attic above the barn. When the milking machinery runs, his whole apartment shakes. The walls and ceiling are bare plywood; water drips into his bedroom when it rains. Because the shower runs scalding hot and the temperature can’t be regulated, the only way Javier can bathe is by mixing cold and hot water in a bucket then pouring it over himself.
Javier recently filed a formal complaint with Hannaford about the conditions on his farm. In 2021, after years of farmworkers denouncing abuses, Hannaford opened up its complaint line to workers in its supply chain. We previously shared the story of Diego – who was fired in retaliation for protecting his family from a machete-wielding supervisor – the first dairy worker to submit a complaint on Hannaford’s “Speak-Up Line.” Javier is one of several workers who have bravely followed suit, despite the lack of protections against retaliation, in order to provide Hannaford with an official record of the widespread abuses occurring on farms producing Hannaford-brand milk.
If you can’t make it to the central actions on Shelburne Road in South Burlington, VT, gather your friends and family and head to your local Hannaford! Check out our “Adopt a Hannaford” toolkit to learn how you can take action in solidarity with farmworkers in your own community.