“You get in the f—ing barn”: Announcing the Milk with Dignity Month of Action

Vermont Public recently published an explosive report on violence and abuse on dairy farms in Hannaford Supermarkets’ supply chain. The report interviews Miguel, a farmworker who was assaulted and then fired by his employer. 

Miguel was in the middle of a 12-hour overnight shift when he went outside the barn to speak with a volunteer from a local church selling food and medicine to the farmworkers. His employer approached Miguel, grabbed him, and shoved him back into the barn.

The police arrived on the scene following the incident, and the farm owner admitted to the assault and to yelling at Miguel to “get in the f––ing barn.” He then goes on to claim, without irony, that “we treat them so good” and that his is “one of the only farms around here that treat these guys excellent.”

Read More to get the full story and learn how to join the Month of Action!

The National Farm Worker Ministry takes action for Milk with Dignity

The National Farm Worker Ministry has been organizing faith communities since 1920 to support farmworkers. They were a key pillar of solidarity in the United Farm Workers’ historic grape boycotts of the 1960s. Now the NFWM is throwing their support behind dairy workers’ fight for Milk with Dignity!

Now, the Ministry is holding their annual Board of Directors meeting at the Migrant Justice office in Vermont. Faith leaders from around the country are gathering to chart the future of the organization and build relationships with dairy workers organizing for human rights and economic justice. On July 28th, NFWM and Migrant Justice will join forces to picket Hannaford Supermarkets and call on the grocery chain to join the Milk with Dignity Program.

Come out to the picket line on 7/28 at 5:30pm in South Burlington to join farmworkers and faith leaders demanding Milk with Dignity!

Click “Read More” to get the full story and learn about another black mark on Hananford’s human rights record.

Maine march photo-report – and Hannaford’s response

On June 24th, hundreds of farmworkers and allies from around the region converged in Portland, Maine for a mass march on Hannaford Supermarkets. Led by three bus-loads from Vermont, marchers traversed Hannaford’s hometown to bring a clear message that workers and consumers demand Milk with Dignity.

Dairy worker Emilio capped the march with a rousing speech in front of the final Hannaford store:

“On my farm we want to see better housing, better pay, vacations – things we don’t have now. We want to see improvements on these farms and that’s what we’re demanding from Hannaford. This march is a big step forward; the more who take action, the better. Because there is strength in numbers, strength in unity, and we are a community united. We know what we want and we’re here to fight for it.”

Read more to see the photo-report and read Hannaford’s response!

Today we march for Diego, Alexia, and all farmworkers suffering abuse

Diego and his family worked on a farm producing Hannaford-brand milk. When Diego’s mother was beaten so severely by a supervisor that she lost consciousness, Diego confronted the supervisor. In response, he came to their house that evening with a machete and tried to break down the door.

When Diego called the cops to save his family’s life, their boss blamed him for the loss of her supervisor. Diego recalls: “The only thing she said was: ‘Who’s going to milk the cows in the morning?’” He and his family were fired and kicked out of their home. “The boss threw our paychecks in the trash and said ‘there’s your money.’ She said she never wanted to see us there again.”

Abuses like these – and Hannaford’s unwillingness to take any action to protect the rights and well-being of farmworkers in its supply chain – are why we are marching in Portland, Maine today. 

Can’t make it to Portland? Tune into our livestream from our facebook page, starting at 2pm, to follow along from home

March for Jesús and all farmworkers demanding Milk with Dignity!

Jesús works on a farm producing Hannaford-brand milk. After reporting a broken tractor multiple times to his employer, he was told to operate it anyway. When the tractor’s hydraulics failed, he was trapped beneath the machinery. Part of Jesús’ foot had to be amputated as a result.

Before this preventable incident occurred, Jesús’ co-workers had submitted a complaint through Hannaford Supermarket’s “Speak-Up Line” about discrimination and mistreatment on the farm. The complaint languished for four months before being dismissed. Hannaford appears to have taken the bosses at their word, relying on “employer self-assessments” and failing to interview the workers themselves.

On Saturday June 24th, farmworkers and allies will march through Portland, Maine to call on Hannaford to join the Milk with Dignity Program. We are bringing the campaign to Hannaford’s back yard to make a powerful statement that workers and consumers demand Milk with Dignity.

Are you coming to Portland from Vermont? RSVP and reserve your seat on the bus. Don’t delay!

40,000 Maine union members stand with Milk with Dignity

The AFL-CIO of Maine, representing 200 union locals and 40,000 workers across the state, has endorsed the Milk with Dignity campaign and called on Hannaford Supermarkets to join the program. This major endorsement follows support from national faith communities, food and agriculture groups, elected officials, grassroots organizations, and Hannaford’s own shareholders.

The endorsement from organized labor in Hannaford’s home state also comes on the eve of the upcoming Milk with Dignity march in Portland, Maine. This Saturday, farmworkers and allies will march through Portland to denounce the severe human rights abuses in Hannaford’s supply chain, call out the grocery chain’s cynical attempts to sweep abuses under the rug, and urge the company to join the Milk with Dignity program.

This Saturday at 2pm: march with farmworkers in Portland to demand Milk with Dignity!

June 24th: Announcing the Maine march on Hannaford!

Last month saw an unprecedented level of support for Milk with Dignity. Throughout April, farmworkers toured across the northeast, holding 50 organizing meetings, taking action at dozens of Hannaford stores, and connecting with hundreds of new supporters. We capped the Organizing Tour with a spirited Mayday celebration along with others in the labor movement. On International Workers Day, Hannaford received hundreds of calls from customers, as well as new endorsement letters from unions, grassroots organizations, and over 50 state legislators demanding Milk with Dignity. And the following day, Migrant Justice was honored by a recognition from the Vermont House of Representatives.

Now we are announcing the next step in the Milk with Dignity campaign. On Saturday, June 24th, hundreds will converge in Portland, ME – near Hannaford’s corporate headquarters – in a mass march demanding Milk with Dignity. Join us on 6/24 at 2pm in Portland, Maine to march on Hannaford!

Farmworkers finish the successful Organizing Tour; legislators and allies endorse Milk with Dignity

After a month on the road, we have wrapped up the Milk with Dignity Organizing Tour! Over the past four weeks, we held more than 50 tour stops, meeting with communities across seven states to build support for the Milk with Dignity campaign and to take action at Hannaford Supermarkets around the region. 

This was the most ambitious tour that Migrant Justice has ever undertaken, and it was a resounding success. In churches and synagogues, at schools and colleges, in public libraries and on community farms, we connected with hundreds of new supporters and mobilized them to push Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity. Press coverage of the tour brought the message to thousands more.

With pressure mounting on Hannaford, we are asking supporters to call the company headquarters and urge them to meet with farmworkers. Throughout the campaign, thousands of people have called the office of Hannaford President Mike Vail to show their solidarity. Today, International Workers’ Day, take a minute to make a call: tell Hannaford that you want Milk with Dignity!

Make sure to “Read More” to get the full story and read the latest endorsement letters from grassroots organizations and elected officials!

40 stops down, 12 to go!

The Milk with Dignity Organizing Tour is entering its final week! Throughout April, farmworkers have traveled to seven states, holding organizing meetings and taking action at Hannaford stores across the region. Now we’re in the home stretch! And with a couple late additions, the final count of tour stops will be 52.

The past three weeks have been incredible: we have connected with hundreds of new campaign supporters in libraries and churches, schools and universities, and farms and community centers. Farmworkers and allies have passed out flyers to customers, talked with managers, and rallied at Hannafords across the region.

When the tour wraps up, we will hold a call-in day on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. All throughout the day on 5/1, we will flood Hannaford’s phone lines with calls from supporters urging the company to join the Milk with Dignity Program. Mark your calendars to make a call on Mayday!

Halfway through the Milk with Dignity Organizing Tour!

We are halfway through the Milk with Dignity Organizing Tour! Over the past two weeks, farmworkers have traveled across Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, holding 25 organizing meetings with communities and taking action at Hannaford Supermarkets to demand Milk with Dignity. The next two weeks will take us to New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, as the Dignity Tour heads farther south.

As farmworkers connect with Hannaford customers in schools, churches, farms, and libraries around the northeast, Hannaford’s parent company – Dutch multinational Ahold Delhaize – held its annual meeting of shareholders and Board of Directors. Migrant Justice participated in the shareholder meeting and shared a new, in-depth analysis of the failures of Hannaford’s Speak-Up Line to protect farmworkers – even by the company’s own metrics! – contrasted with the benefits of Milk with Dignity.

Read more to learn about Hannaford's latest excuses, as they double down on their failed complaint line in an attempt to dismiss worker demands for Milk with Dignity.