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To: Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's: Stand Up For Farmworkers’ Rights

On Tuesday October 3, farmworker leaders from Migrant Justice and the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s jointly signed the Milk with Dignity agreement. The legally-binding contract establishes Ben & Jerry’s as the first company in the dairy industry to implement the worker-driven human rights program. This momentous occasion marks the beginning of a new day for dairy, one that provides economic relief and support to struggling farm owners, in the form of a premium paid by Ben & Jerry’s, while ensuring dignity and respect for farmworkers.

We stand with Vermont dairy farmworkers in calling on you to join the Milk with Dignity Program. This Program ensures dairy workers in your supply chain secure the fundamental human right to work with dignity that too many workers are currently denied. We urge you to take the lead in your industry by joining the program, adapted from the groundbreaking work of the Fair Food Program in Florida. We call on you to sign an agreement with Migrant Justice to join this comprehensive workers’ rights program without delay.

Why is this important?

In the Vermont dairy industry, forty percent of dairy workers receive less than the VT minimum wage and twenty percent have their first wages withheld--this is wage theft. Thirty percent have to work seven or more hours without a break to eat, and the same number have had mostly preventable workplace injuries or illnesses. Many workers work 12-14 hour days without a day of rest, and significant numbers live in deplorable housing conditions.

This is an unacceptable state of affairs for any supply chain, but it is particularly appalling to see this level of abuse in Ben and Jerry’s supply chain given the company's long standing commitment to social justice and corporate responsibility.

The good news is we already know there is a solution that works and there are some farms that are demonstrating that dignified working conditions are possible. Migrant Justice is calling on Ben & Jerry's to create a worker-driven social responsibility program -- the Milk with Dignity Program -- fashioned after the globally acclaimed and highly effective Fair Food Program in Immokalee Florida.

Many dairy farmers are also facing serious economic challenges and are in need of economic relief. The Milk with Dignity Program rewards those farms that have it right by having corporate participants pay more down the supply chain to both the farmer and the farmworker. We anticipate many farms to enthusiastically support this initiative.

The Milk with Dignity program is in line with the mission of social responsibility on which Ben & Jerry’s has built its legacy, image, and financial success. Your customer base wants, and is already demanding, products that support dignified livelihoods for both farmworkers and farmers. The company has done this before for cows, consumers and the environment in its impressive work to eliminate RGBH from its supply chain. The company has done this for chickens with its commitment to cage-free eggs. Ben and Jerry's can do this for the workers facing inhumane workplace conditions while supplying the cream its company depends on.

We urge Ben and Jerry's to sit at the table with VT dairy farmworkers to build a vibrant and much needed Milk with Dignity Program that respects workers leadership and ensures human rights in its dairy supply chain.


2017-10-03 16:20:18 -0400

Find out more about the Milk with Dignity agreement here:

2017-10-03 16:19:36 -0400

Petition is successful with 2,765 signatures

2015-06-26 18:01:48 -0400

If you haven’t heard already we reached an important agreement with Ben & Jerry’s on the evening before 17 Milk with Dignity solidarity actions were planned at scoop shops across the nation!

Find out more:

2015-06-18 13:37:00 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2015-06-18 12:30:58 -0400

500 signatures reached

2015-06-16 18:19:25 -0400

100 signatures reached

2015-06-16 17:15:45 -0400

50 signatures reached

2015-06-16 17:00:37 -0400

25 signatures reached

2015-06-16 16:53:46 -0400

10 signatures reached