Milk with Dignity turns 4 - and releases new report!

Four years ago, farmworkers celebrated an historic achievement. Dairy workers from around Vermont gathered outside a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop to sign a contract with the CEO of the global ice cream brand. Ben & Jerry’s became the first company to join Milk with Dignity, committing to source their cream from farms enrolled in Migrant Justice’s worker-led human rights program.

The program has succeeded beyond workers’ dreams, transforming labor and housing conditions, achieving a massive redistribution of profits down the supply chain, and giving workers the power to become frontline defenders of their own human rights. Last year, we published the first Milk with Dignity Biennial Report, detailing the successes of the program’s first two years.

Today we are releasing the Year 3 Report Update, a supplement to last year’s report. Check it out!

The Report Update covers activities in 2020 and details how the program was affected by – and effectively responded to – the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. Some findings from the report include:

  • Over $1.8 million in program premiums directly invested in improved working conditions, not counting funds retained by farm owners as economic relief
  • A dramatic increase in workers’ participation in the program during the pandemic, with over 400 calls to the Milk with Dignity support line in 2020 alone
  • Across-the-board increases in Code of Conduct compliance, as farms continue to raise wages and improve conditions

Milk with Dignity is continuing to deliver on its promise of “a new day for human rights in the dairy industry.” Particularly during the pandemic – as the brutal impacts of an industry characterized by poor conditions and barriers to worker power have been laid bare – the program’s interventions have been more important than ever.

For these reasons, we are fighting to expand the reach of Milk with Dignity and calling on Hannaford Supermarkets to join the program. Hannaford’s commitment to source its store-brand milk from Milk with Dignity farms will extend these benefits to hundreds more farmworkers. The Dignity Tour, kicking off today, wil bring the campaign to new audiences around the region and put pressure on Hannaford to get with the program.

Join us at one of 28 Dignity Tour stops and virtual presentations in the coming weeks!