Halfway through the Dignity Tour; Announcing the Maine March on Hannaford!

Over the month of October, farmworkers are taking the Milk with Dignity campaign on the road. Migrant Justice is giving 28 presentations in 7 states around the northeast, sharing the successes of Milk with Dignity and building pressure on Hannaford Supermarkets to join the program.

We are over halfway through the Dignity Tour. Check out the full list of tour stops to catch a presentation near you (or a virtual presentation) before it’s done!

The Hannaford campaign is now announcing its most ambitious action yet! We are calling on Milk with Dignity supporters to mobilize in Portland, Maine for a march and rally near the Hannaford headquarters. Audiences at each tour stop have been filling out pledges to join farmworkers for the March on Hannaford. Will you join them?

March with us on 11/8 from 3-6pm in Portland! Take these two important steps:

  1. Sign a pledge form to let us know you’ll be there and tell us if you need support with transportation
  2. Share the facebook event to let you friends and family know that you are joining the Maine March on Hannaford

 

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!

Join us on the Dignity Tour!

From October 2nd to October 24th, Migrant Justice will embark on a 3-week speaking tour, taking us to 7 states for a total of 28 presentations. The Dignity Tour will bring us to audiences around the region to share the success story of the Milk with Dignity program and the “new day for human rights in dairy.”

The Dignity Tour will also build support for the campaign calling on supermarket giant Hannaford to join the Milk with Dignity program and take responsibility for the rights and well-being of the farmworkers behind Hannaford-brand milk. We will travel to every state where Hannaford has a store, starting in the company’s home state of Maine.

Click "Read More" to see the full list of tour stops and virtual presentations. See you on the tour!

 

Announcing the relaunch of the Dignity Tour!

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.

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.

Click "Read More" to read more about conditions in Hannaford's dairy supply chain and to learn about the upcoming Dignity Tour!

Migrant Justice heads to Hannaford's backyard

Recently, a delegation of dairy workers and organizers from Migrant Justice traveled to Maine to build support for the Milk with Dignity campaign in Hannaford’s backyard.

We traversed the state over several days, meeting with a dozen different organizations from across the spectrum of Maine’s civil society: labor unions, public health organizations, student groups, legal services, activists, and faith communities. Each group learned about the human rights abuses against farmworkers in Hannaford’s dairy supply chain and committed to support the campaign for Milk with Dignity.

The delegation also traveled to dairy farms and met with farmworkers across the state. We encountered the same dire conditions with which we are so familiar in Vermont – and the same desire for change. On one farm, a family with a young child had been forced to live without heat in their housing. On another, the workers work seven days a week, only resting a half shift every two weeks. Everywhere workers expressed fear of retaliation for speaking out and defending their rights.

Investors call on Hannaford to address persistent labor abuses by joining “Milk with Dignity”

A group of 71 investment firms, pension funds, and other shareholders have published a letter addressed to Hannaford Supermarkets urging the company to clean up its dairy brand. 

The signatories, representing over $121 billion in assets under management, call on the Maine-based grocery chain to “address material reputational and compliance risks related to the human rights of workers in their dairy supply chain.”

The letter goes on to offer a solution, inviting Hannaford to join Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream as a participant in the Milk with Dignity (MD) program. “MD stands apart from any other compliance program, supplier code of conduct, or company run audit by directly engaging workers in the business of protecting their own rights and wellbeing.”

Excerpts from the letter – along with Father's Day messages from farmworker dads to Hannaford – were published in a full-page ad in today's Maine Sunday Telegram, Hannaford's hometown newspaper and the state's largest.

Click "Read More" for the full story!

Today! Call Hannaford to Demand Milk with Dignity

Post-action update: Over 250 calls made! Thank you to all who took action!!


Farmworkers need your support today in their fight for rights and dignity. For over a year, Hannaford Supermarkets has been ignoring the workers milking cows to produce Hannaford-brand milk. Dairy workers labor long hours in dangerous conditions for little pay and lack basic protections – all while Hannaford made record profits during the pandemic.

Today, June 9th, we are asking our supporters around the country to flood Hannaford with messages. Call Hannaford's President Mike Vail to tell him to treat farmworkers fairly and join Milk with Dignity!

Our last call-in action generated over 350 calls to the Hannaford President's office in just one day. The pressure from these actions forced the company to issue public statements in response, making commitments to clean up their supply chain and ensure fair treatment for workers. Until now, however, these commitments have not been backed up by action, and Hannaford has yet to take any steps to stamp out abuses on the farms producing their store-brand milk.

Let's keep the pressure on by jamming their phone lines and filling their voicemails. Hannaford President Mike Vail needs to hear loud and clear that his customers expect accountability and demand action!

Workers and consumers demand Milk with Dignity – not empty commitments and deceptive labels!

Last month you read about (and many of you participated in!) our action on International Workers Day. Two hundred farmworkers and supporters rallied in front of a Hannaford Supermarket calling on the company to join the Milk with Dignity program. With a lively picket line, street theater, and a 200-yard chain of over 1,300 postcards to the company president, we sent a clear message to Hannaford that they can’t hide from the human rights abuses behind their store-brand milk. Check out the new video from the May Day action!

The pressure on Hannaford is mounting, and we need you to help turn up the heat. Next Wednesday June 9th, we will hold a national call-in day, asking supporters around the country to call the grocery chain and voice their support for Milk with Dignity. Past days have generated hundreds of calls and have forced the company to respond publicly to the just demands of dairy workers.

We need volunteers to help drive calls to Hannaford. Can you join us for a brief training on Tuesday June 8th at 6pm? You’ll get the tools you need to contact supporters the following day.

From D.C. to VT, farmworkers take action on May Day!

Last Saturday, hundreds of farmworkers and allies converged outside a Hannaford supermarket in Barre, VT, calling on the company to sit down with farmworkers and join the Milk with Dignity program. On International Workers Day, we urged the grocery chain to take responsibility for the rights and wellbeing of dairy workers in its supply chain.

Check out the full photo album from May Day’s tremendous, colorful action. Then take a moment to download or screenshot your favorite photo and post it as a comment on the Hannaford facebook page, letting them know that you support Milk with Dignity!

"nobody else spoke up because they were afraid..." This Mayday, show solidarity with farmworkers!

Three years ago, Primitivo began working on a farm in central Vermont. “I had a friend who was already there,” he said. “He told me they needed someone, so I decided to take the job.” He quickly came to regret the decision.

I came to the farm during the winter. There wasn’t enough heat in the house and you had to shower with cold water. The boss wouldn’t put a space heater in because she didn’t want to pay the electric bill.
The hours were awful – three shifts a day. And you didn’t have enough time to rest between shifts. Just all work and no rest. By the end, it was the heavy workload that made me decide to speak up.
I talked to the boss and asked for a change in the schedule. She got upset and told me if I didn’t like it, I could leave. And she threw me out then and there. She sent another worker to tell me to pack my bags. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t have anywhere to go. She didn’t even want to pay me, I had to insist. And nobody else spoke up because they were afraid the same would happen to them.

The farm where Primitivo worked sells to a nearby plant that bottles Hannaford-brand milk. In supermarkets all around New England, Hannaford is selling milk that is the product of these conditions: subminimum wages, round-the-clock work, inhumane housing, and retaliation against workers who speak up.

When Primitivo was fired for protesting inhumane conditions, there was no one to speak up for him. Let's make sure that no other worker suffers alone. This Mayday we join together to fight for farmworkers and workers' rights everywhere.

Click "Read More" to read more of Primitivo's story and learn how to take action to demand Milk with Dignity!

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