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!

Farmworkers deserve better!

In January, a new President and Congress took office promising a repudiation of the prior administration's dehumanizing attacks on immigrants. But early momentum – including a moratorium on deportations and the introduction of a bill to provide status to all undocumented immigrants – has faltered. Just as happens every time discussion of immigration reform begins, politicians and the media have diverted attention to a "crisis" on the southern border framed to stoke xenophobic fears. And in Washington, the House of Representatives has passed a "reform" bill originally crafted under the Trump Administration: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA).

The FWMA masquerades as immigration reform while failing immigrant farmworkers at every turn. While the bill would provide a pathway to status for some undocumented farmworkers, it requires that beneficiaries continue working in agriculture for up to 8 years to qualify and excludes many workers, among them those who cannot continue working due to injury. In exchange for this limited and lengthy pathway to protection, the bill mandates that agricultural employers to use E-Verify, forcing unprotected farmworkers off the books and making them more vulnerable to abuse. Finally, the bill expands the flawed H-2A agricultural visa program without providing necessary oversight or adequate protections.

The FWMA takes more interest in providing low-cost labor for Big Ag than in protecting the human rights of farmworkers. If passed, the law would create a captive workforce unable to speak out against abuse, organize for better conditions, or take action to defend their rights, because their ability to remain in the country relies on their continued employment. This outcome benefits an agricultural system that has always been predicated on cheap and captive labor; it does not benefit farmworkers. And farmworkers deserve better.

Migrant Justice joins many farmworker and immigrant rights organizations around the country in opposing the harmful Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Learn more about the bill and write to you Senators to tell them to oppose the FWMA!

Call Hannaford to Demand Milk with Dignity!

Post-action update: over 350 calls made!

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 has been making record profits during the pandemic.

Today, March 3rd, 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 200 calls to the Hannaford President's office in just one day. This pressure forced the company to issue a public statement 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!

A Valentine's Day Gift for Hannaford Supermarkets

Dairy workers recently paid a visit to a Hannaford Supermarket in St. Albans, VT. Workers arrived with a Valentine's Day message: "Hannaford, don't break our hearts: Join Milk with Dignity!"

After speaking with the store manager and asking him to pass the message to company president Mike Vail, workers left a gift: dozens of heart-shaped helium balloons with Milk with Dignity stickers, a reminder for customers of the company's unfulfilled responsibility to the farmworkers behind Hannaford-brand milk.

Housing in the Hannaford Dairy Supply Chain: “On one half they still keep the tractors, and on the other half is where we live.”

Facundo works on a farm that produces milk for Hannaford Supermarkets. For years, he and his five co-workers lived in an “apartment” built into the side of a garage. “On one half they still keep the tractors, and on the other half is where we live.”

Organizing through Migrant Justice, the workers asked repeatedly for repairs or new housing. After many delays, Facundo and his co-workers have finally moved out of the garage. While we celebrate workers’ persistence and courage – and that they won’t have to spend another winter living in such inhumane conditions – we must recognize that these conditions are intolerable and should never have been permitted in the first place.

While the farmworkers behind Hannaford-brand milk are forced to “innovate” – sleeping on concrete troughs next to tractors and taking pains to avoid rats and mold – Hannaford President Mike Vail sleeps in a $2 million seaside mansion.

Do you think it’s time for Hannaford to get with the program? Take these three actions:

Or click "Read More" to get the full story!

Mike Vail: Don't be a Scrooge!

For many dairy workers, this Christmas will be like any other day: up before dawn for a long, unbroken shift of dangerous work for little pay, then home to crowded and drafty housing. For workers on Milk with Dignity farms, Christmas is a paid holiday, just one of the many guarantees provided by our worker-driven human rights program.

The program's dignified conditions recently inspired an endorsement from the National Farm Worker Ministry, a faith-based organization comprised of dozens of congregations and religious communities around the country. The Ministry wrote this week to Hannaford President Mike Vail, urging the supermarket chain to join Milk with Dignity:

Milk with Dignity aligns with our values in the way that the program gives farm workers oversight regarding their living and working conditions. We believe that, like everyone, farm workers deserve to live and work in safety and dignity with just compensation. By signing on to Milk with Dignity, Hannaford has the opportunity to be a leader in taking responsibility for the rights and well-being of workers in your supply chain.

Join with the National Farm Worker Ministry in calling on Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity. This Christmas, tell company President Mike Vail: "Don't be a Scrooge!"


"a beacon of hope:" Our 2020 year in review

2020 has been a year of nearly unparalleled loss, pain, and struggle. We have felt this acutely at Migrant Justice: we mourn the death of beloved community member Durvi Martinez, who died of Covid-19 after being held for months in ICE detention and deported. Yet amid this year of darkness, the courageous organizing of Migrant Justice has been a beacon of hope, showing that even in the most difficult of times change is possible. In the past twelve months – despite the hardships – Migrant Justice has never relented, persevering to win a series of inspirational human rights victories.

Click "Read More" to read about our incredible and impactful achievements over the past year.

13 Food and Agriculture Organizations Call on Hannaford to Join Milk with Dignity

Last week, thirteen food and agriculture organizations collectively penned a letter to Mike Vail, the president of northeast supermarket chain Hannaford. The groups added their names to the thousands who are urging Hannaford to join the Milk with Dignity program. The letter finished with a powerful call to action:

“We believe that, like everyone, farmworkers deserve to live and work in dignity. By signing on to Milk with Dignity, Hannaford has the opportunity to be a leader in taking responsibility for the rights and wellbeing of workers in their supply chain. Farmworkers, consumers, and all who value human rights over profits are united in calling for Milk with Dignity. It is time for Hannaford to get with the program and ensure that farmworkers’ human rights are protected. We urge you to join Milk with Dignity.”

Click Read More to learn about the shocking conditions in Hannaford´s dairy supply chain and farmworkers' organizing for respect, rights, and dignity!