This week: Migrant Justice in The Netherlands

This week, Migrant Justice will travel to The Netherlands to join a meeting of Ahold Delhaize – the multinational corporation that owns Hannaford Supermarkets – and call for Milk with Dignity. While corporate executives and company shareholders meet to celebrate $100 billion in annual sales, we will urge them to invest in a worker-led solution to human rights abuses in their supply chain.

On Wednesday, Migrant Justice representatives will challenge Ahold Delhaize on Hannaford’s ongoing refusal to address human rights violations in its dairy supply chain. As Ahold seeks to tout its human rights commitments – including the implementation of new “Standards of Engagement” setting expectations for its suppliers – Migrant Justice will share the reality of workers’ experiences on farms producing Hannaford-brand milk.

Read more to get the full story!

Migrant Justice is headed to The Netherlands!

On April 10th, the Board of Directors and top executives of Ahold Delhaize, the multinational conglomerate that owns Hannaford Supermarkets, will gather in Amsterdam for their annual shareholder meeting – and Migrant Justice will be in town to meet them!

A delegation from Migrant Justice will make the journey from Vermont to the Netherlands to meet face-to-face with Ahold’s corporate leaders. Along the way, we will build alliances with Dutch labor unions, immigrant rights organizations, investors, and civil society groups to put pressure on Hannaford’s parent company and build support for Milk with Dignity.

This trip represents a new frontier in the Milk with Dignity campaign and sends a clear message to Hannaford that farmworkers are more committed than ever to push the company to get with the program and join Milk with Dignity. As we chant on the picket line: “Hannaford, listen up! Farmworkers aren’t giving up!

Read more to see the latest excuses from Hannaford and learn what’s really happening on their farms.

Fighting for housing, healthcare, labor rights, and higher education

Immigrant leaders recently returned to the Vermont State House to fight for more equitable and inclusive policies. With the 2024 legislative session at the halfway point, Migrant Justice continues to push for new laws that will stop discrimination and expand access to housing, healthcare, labor rights and higher education. Many of you have contacted your legislators to support these initiatives, and this pressure is having an impact!

On March 14th, over a dozen Migrant Justice members traveled from around Vermont to spend the day in the state capitol. Members joined up with ally organizations, spoke with legislators, provided committee testimony, and were formally recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives, receiving a standing ovation from the assembled lawmakers in appreciation of the years of courageous organizing to make Vermont a better state.

Read more for a photo-report from our recent day at the State House and an update on where things stand in the legislature!

2/21 Mass call-in day to Hannaford Supermarket!

Throughout the day on February 21st, hundreds of Milk with Dignity supporters will flood Hannaford's phone lines to urge the company to join Milk with Dignity. Make your call now!

Over the course of the campaign, Hannaford has received thousands of calls from customers and others in solidarity with the human rights of farmworkers. These calls – along with thousands of customer emails; endorsement letters from faith communities, shareholders, and civil society organizations; and dozens of farmworker-led protests – have forced Hannaford to respond.

Read more to see how Hannaford is responding to pressure from farmworkers and consumers demanding Milk with Dignity!

End of day update: more than 400 calls made to Hannaford HQ supporting Milk with Dignity!

A Valentine’s Day message from farmworkers

Farmworkers paid a Valentine’s Day visit to Hannaford Supermarkets to urge the grocery chain to join the Milk with Dignity Program. For weeks, workers have been making valentines to customers to educate them about conditions in Hannaford’s supply chain. On February 14th, we delivered those messages.

This afternoon, a group of farmworkers and allies distributed valentines at a Hannaford store. Heart-shaped fact sheets described the conditions faced by workers on farms producing Hannaford-brand milk, and workers wrote handwritten notes on the back calling on Hannaford to take action. Farmworkers distributed hearts throughout the store before coming together to deliver a message to the store manager.

February 14th also marks the launch of a new farmworker survey on labor and housing conditions in the dairy industry. In the coming months, a team of farmworkers – with support from the University of Massachusetts Labor Center – will travel across Vermont and surrounding states to interview fellow workers about their experiences on dairy farms.

Read more to get the full story!

“You’re f–ing here illegally and you’re worried about being safe?”

The Vermont Criminal Justice Council met on the morning of February 7th to review the state’s “Fair and Impartial Policing Policy.” Several days before the meeting, Migrant Justice asked supporters to send their comments to the state policy-makers – and people responded in droves! As the Council met on the morning of February 7th, members received a 72-page packet of emails urging them to remove Trump-era loopholes and protect immigrant rights in Vermont.

The Criminal Justice Council heard from numerous Migrant Justice members about their fear of collaboration between local law enforcement officials and federal deportation agents, known in Spanish as the “Polimigra.” During one farmworker’s testimony, a Council member was caught on a hot mic uttering a vile and racist comment.

Read more to get the full story, and take action to denounce these comments

Vermont Sheriff on collaboration with deportation agents: “We don’t need further restrictions on what we’re already doing”

February 7th is a crucial day in Migrant Justice’s “No Polimigra” campaign to stop the collaboration between local police and federal deportation agents. The Vermont Criminal Justice Council – the body responsible for police training, policies and regulation – will review recommendations to strengthen the state’s model Fair and Impartial Policing Policy. Migrant Justice has fought for years to close Trump-era loopholes in the policy that allow for continued complicity of Vermont police in the detention and deportation of immigrants: now is the time to make your voice heard!

Despite the policies in place, Vermont police continue to target immigrant Vermonters and turn them over to ICE and Border Patrol for deportation. This horrific practice was highlighted in recent reporting from the Community News Service and published in news outlets around the state. Essex County Sheriff Trevor Colby strongly opposes our efforts to strengthen policy. 

“We don’t need further restrictions on what we’re already doing.... It’s not like we’re spending all this energy focusing on people that are here illegally,” said Colby, estimating his department had relayed about 20 cases to immigration authorities in the last year, not a particularly high figure in his mind.

Read more to see Colby’s full remarks and see how to take action against Polimigra in Vermont

Bringing Migrant Justice to the Vermont State House

Immigrant leaders from Migrant Justice have returned to the Vermont State House for the start of the 2024 legislative session. This year, we are leading efforts to expand access to housing, healthcare, and higher education for immigrant families. Together, Vermonters can fight for legislation that protects immigrant rights in our state!

On January 12th, we kicked off the legislative session by joining a State House press conference and rally organized by the Vermont Workers Center and featuring a broad array of grassroots organizations. One of the speakers, Migrant Justice farmworker leader Cristian Santos, addressed the crowd:

“We are here today, united as Vermont’s working class, to demand access to dignified housing and quality education. Nobody should have to choose between following their dreams and feeding their families.”

Read more to learn about the bills that Migrant Justice is supporting!

“If it’s not Milk with Dignity, I don’t want it!”

This Christmas, Santa has a message for Hannaford Supermarket: “If it’s not Milk with Dignity, I won’t drink it!”

In the latest video from Migrant Justice and the Milk with Dignity campaign, Santa comes down the chimney to find milk and cookies left out under the tree. Once he realizes that it’s Hannaford-brand milk, he turns away in disgust. The only way for Hannaford to get off of the naughty list is to sit down with farmworkers, and commit to respect their human rights by joining the Milk with Dignity Program!

Click “read more” to watch the video and take action

“A food system that denies us our human rights is not sustainable:” Migrant Justice takes center stage at Farm to Plate

Migrant Justice recently participated in the 13th annual Vermont Farm to Plate gathering, bringing a message of human rights from the farmworker community to the sold-out conference. 

Every year, farmers, advocates, and government officials from across the state come together to share strategies for strengthening Vermont’s food and agriculture systems. This year, hundreds of attendees joined sessions led by Migrant Justice and listened to leader Thelma Gómez deliver one of the keynote addresses.

Thelma shared her powerful story of transformation, from a teenaged farmworker suffering discrimination and wage theft, to a nationally-recognized organizer and a key architect of the Milk with Dignity Program. She concluded her speech with a call to the assembled changemakers:

"We can’t talk about food systems without talking about farmworkers. An industry that exploits our labor, that abuses us daily, is not sustainable. As we work to transform food systems in Vermont, we must make sure that we are creating a system that recognizes the rights of the farmworkers who keep it running."

Read more to watch the video of Thelma's speech!