Dairy Workers Lead 13-Mile March on Ben & Jerry’s

News Release — Migrant Justice
June 16, 2017

Contact:
Will Lambek
802-321-8393
[email protected]

Migrant Justice calls on ice cream giant to join “Milk with Dignity” Program

What: Vermont dairy workers will lead a historic 13 mile march through the state’s iconic rural landscape, culminating at the Ben & Jerry’s factory and tourist destination. Workers and allies are calling on the ice cream company to source its milk in compliance with the human rights of dairy workers by joining Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Program.

When and Where: Saturday June 17th.
7am: March leaves from Vermont State House in Montpelier, VT, walking north on U.S. Route 2
2pm: Marchers are met by supporters at the Park & Ride in Waterbury, VT. Full group marches final mile to Ben & Jerry’s
2:45pm: Rally at Ben & Jerry’s factory

Who: Migrant Justice is a Vermont-based organization founded and led by farmworkers to organize for human rights. Numerous local and national organizations and figures will join the march, including Librada Paz, a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Laureate, and Lucas Benitez, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). The CIW’s world-renowned Fair Food Program has served as the model for the development of Milk with Dignity.

Background: Dairy workers and supporters are marching on the Ben & Jerry’s factory, calling on the ice cream company to make good on its 2015 promise to join and implement the Milk with Dignity program in its dairy supply chain.

In 2014, Vermont dairy workers in Migrant Justice developed “Milk with Dignity,” a program to advance human rights and ensure dignified working conditions in the dairy industry. In June, 2015 Ben & Jerry’s signed a written commitment to work with Migrant Justice to join Milk with Dignity. The commitment was heralded in the New York Times and elsewhere as a positive step for a faltering industry rife with poor conditions for workers.

“My husband has worked for years on a farm that sells to Ben & Jerry’s,” said Migrant Justice leader Thelma Gomez. “When they made a commitment to Milk with Dignity — ensuring human rights as basic as one day off per week — my daughters were one year old. They’re now three and their father still hasn’t gotten a day off. Ben & Jerry’s has yet to make it possible for my daughters to grow up actually seeing their father.”

“We are calling on Ben & Jerry’s to make good on its promise to join the Milk with Dignity program,” said Migrant Justice organizer Abel Luna. “On human rights, action speak louder than words. It is long past the time they stand up for the workers putting the cream in Ben & Jerry’s world-famous ice cream by signing the Milk with Dignity Agreement.”

The march follows numerous public actions led by workers and consumers, including a march of hundreds on International Workers Day, a two day picket of a meeting of the company’s Board of Directors, and a national day of actions on Free Cone Day, and a call-in day that one company employee stated brought in the highest volume of calls the company had ever seen.

Press Release

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