Photo-report from Milk with Dignity picket!
Posted Tue, 06/14/2022 - 3:33pm
Starting with Mayday’s huge day of action – with 30 protests at stores across the region – we are turning up the heat on Hannaford this summer. On June 12th, over 100 farmworkers and allies turned out for an energetic and spirited picket at Hannaford Supermarket in Williston, VT. While Hannaford tries to sweep labor abuses under the rug, workers and consumers are united in calling on the company to take real action to protect farmworker rights by joining the Milk with Dignity Program!
Sunday’s rally was a beautiful display of unity between the dairy workers behind Hannaford-brand milk and the supermarket chain’s customers. Farmworkers and consumers picketed in front of the busy Williston location, to the supportive honks of many. As a phalanx of Hananford’s hired security guards looked on, workers rose to speak about pervasive human rights abuses in Hannaford’s dairy supply chain – and about the power of the Milk with Dignity Program to ensure dignified and humane conditions.
Diego, a farmworker, spoke at the rally:
“We’re here to call on Hannaford to respect our rights as workers. My family suffered violence from a supervisor on my farm, and we were fired when we tried to speak out. This violence and retaliation has changed our lives. It’s time for Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity, to stop these abuses from occurring.”
Check out the photos and read more about the recent action below:
After assembling nearby, over 100 farmworkers and allies marched to the Hannaford in Williston
Farmworkers turned out in force from all over Vermont. Workers average 60-80 workweeks, oftentimes without a day off, meaning that many workers missed their sleep shift in order to take part in the action.
The protest was a family affair, with farmworkers and allies bringing their while families to support Milk with Dignity
Marchers set up a picket line in front of the store, chanting “Hannaford, listen up! Farmworkers ain’t giving up!”
Famed theater group Bread & Puppet joined the picket, adding their unique style
“Get up! Get down! Milk with Dignity is coming to town!”
Following the picket, we held a brief speaking program, using a wall around Hannaford’s sign as a makeshift stage
Diego addressed the crowd first, talking about the physical abuse that his family suffered from a supervisor on their farm and telling the crowd how his family was fired for denouncing the violence
Rubinay followed, telling the crowd about the benefits of working on a Milk with Dignity farm. Rubinay spoke about how Milk with Dignity protects workers rights, contrasting workers’ experiences of the pandemic inside and outside the program. While many workers have had to work while sick with Covid or have been fired for reporting symptoms, Rubinay used the program’s guarantee of paid sick leave to take the time he needed to recover, without losing money from his paycheck.
The final speaker was Amanda Garces, with the Vermont Human Rights Commission. Amanda rallied the crowd with a strong message of support from the government agency. Her strong testimony also called into question Hannaford’s claims of “due diligence” investigations, as she pointed to the strong barriers for workers to report abuses to corporate auditors.
Before heading home, farmworkers and consumers gathered for a group photo, showing their collective power and commitment to hold Hannaford responsible and push them to do the right thing
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Migrant Jusice action without some home-cooked tamales at the end.
After a hot day marching and picketing under the beating sun, folks headed home to get some rest, promising Hannaford: “We’ll be back!