Migrant Justice got its start 6 years ago when young farmworker José Obeth Santiz Cruz was strangled to death in a horrific workplace accident on a VT dairy farm. Obeth's death served as a spark for farmworkers to share food and experiences, analyze community problems, propose solutions and take collective action. In farmworker "asambleas" the community transformed problems into a proactive human rights agenda that serves, to this date, as Migrant Justice's map and compass. In just 6 years we've had 6 major human rights victories!
Human Right to Access Health Care
In 2011, Migrant Justice partnered with the VT Worker's Center to defeat an effort to exclude undocumented people from Vermont's future universal health care system
Click here to Purchase Tickets for our 12/19 Annual Fiesta!
This summer Ben & Jerry's took the lead in the dairy industry promising it would incorporate the Milk with Dignity Program into its supply chain to ensure 100% of their milk is sourced in compliance with the human rights of farmworkers. The campaign was highlighted in the New York Times and inspired a national delegation of Real Food Challenge student activists to travel to Vermont for a reality tour of dairy farms that turned their world upside down:
"The confusing reality is that for an outsider, this area of Vermont is beautiful. There are rolling hills, bucolic farmsteads, those iconic red barns… But these vistas--so reminiscent of grocery-store packaging and dairy industry marketing--obscure the very real struggle that workers and farmers face. And even after witnessing these human rights violations first hand, some part of me still wants to hold on to the marketeers’ myth of this agricultural dreamland. To pretend, to ignore, to turn away.
It begs an important question for all of consumers: knowing the reality, will we work to challenge the status quo or will we cling to the myth?" (Read full article here)
*Help with set up, clean up, donate a raffle item, or give a lift to a farmworker neighbor by emailing here.
Food workers across the globe are joining forces this thanksgiving time demanding recognition, rights and dignity as part of International Food Workers Week. Migrant Justice was recognized as one of 21 organizations across the nation leading the way to advance the human rights and dignity of food workers:
“These laborers deserve a voice in the food system. From farm to fork, laborers deserve a living wage, safe working conditions, the right to organize, and access to benefits. Furthermore, they deserve recognition for the role they play in feeding families across the globe, and their stories should be highlighted. Many organizations around the world are working to ensure that workers’ voices are heard at every stage of food supply chains, and to protect these laborers’ rights, safety, and livelihoods. Food Tank is highlighting the work of 21 notable organizations working for labor justice around the world…”
Join us on Friday, September 11th to hear the world-renowned Villalobos Brothers play live!!! Doors open at 7PM, and the concert starts at 8PM at the Old Labor Hall in Barre, VT! There will be incredible music, delicious food, ice-cold drinks, and lots and lots of dancing!!
"Congratulations to everyone! We are a strong team. We have seen that we have a lot of power! By organizing and defining what we want we achieved this big step forward as workers. ¡Si Se Puede!"
-Jessica Ramirez, Migrant Justice Farmworker Coordinating Committee
Last week was an amazing week for Vermont dairy workers’ movement!
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!
This is a major step forward towards securing the fundamental human rights of farmworkers in Ben & Jerry’s supply chain. The heart of our agreement reads:
“This document represents Ben & Jerry’s commitment to work with Migrant Justice towards a written agreement to further detail and realize the essential elements of Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity program that will be adopted within Ben & Jerry’s Northeast dairy supply chain."
Photo by Pat Jackson.
On the evening before 17 Milk with Dignity actions were planned at Ben & Jerry's scoop shops across the nation, Ben & Jerry's committed to work towards an agreement with farmworkers that contains the 5 essential elements of Migrant Justice's Milk with Dignity Program and to work to adopt the program into their Northeast dairy supply chain! This is a big step forward on the road to securing fundamental worker's rights in Ben & Jerry's supply chain!
So Saturday's actions took on a more festive tone than envisioned From Hollywood, Florida, to San Francisco to Atlanta to New York City. Photos are beginning to come in demonstrating that communities across the nation are "screaming for fair ice cream" and are hungry for Ben & Jerry's to join the Milk with Dignity Program--because human rights cannot wait!
Here are some photos from the day's actions -- We'll keep updating this post as more come in!
FARMWORKERS ANNOUNCE STEP FORWARD AS BEN & JERRY’S COMMITS TO NEGOTIATE PARTICIPATION IN “MILK WITH DIGNITY PROGRAM”
Burlington, VT, 6/20/15, 12pm--Over 40 dairy farmworkers and dozens of community supporters gathered at the Migrant Justice office, in the old north end of Burlington, preparing to march to Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop on Church St to call on the ice cream company to join a new worker’s rights initiative--the Milk with Dignity Program. Before the march got underway Migrant Justice organizer Abel Luna broke the exciting campaign news to the big crowd, “Just yesterday Ben & Jerry's was in touch with Migrant Justice. They say they’ve heard the voices and hardships of farmworkers and have committed to work with Migrant Justice to negotiate an agreement in order to adopt the Milk with Dignity Program into their Northeast supply chain! So today, we are gathered here to recognize this significant step forward. At the same time we must continue to build a movement to demonstrate that people across the country are rallying to ensure that Ben & Jerry's walks with workers all the way to the finish line by signing the Milk with Dignity Agreement--because our human rights cannot wait!” Today, Migrant Justice also released an "Open Letter to Ben & Jerry's" signed by human rights and social justice organizations across the nation (available here).
On June 20th Take Action in solidarity with Vermont dairy farmworkers!
Join Migrant Justice on June 20th to demonstrate to Ben & Jerry's the growing support across the country for farmworker's call for Ben & Jerry's to join the Milk with Dignity Program! Everything you need to know about the action will be kept up to date here.
(watch and share our new Milk with Dignity Video!)
Migrant Justice to Ben & Jerry's: "History has shown us that corporation’s promises of good will, particularly those that involve worker’s rights, must be written down in binding and enforceable agreements with workers. Ben & Jerry’s expects business partners to sign contracts. Why should workers expect anything less?"
VT Dairy Farmworkers Call on Ben & Jerry's to Enter Human Rights Agreement
Burlington, VT. June 9th--Vermont dairy farmworkers had a much anticipated meeting with Ben & Jerry's social mission department ready to break new ground inviting Ben & Jerry's to stand up for the human rights of farmworkers in their supply chain by joining the Milk with Dignity Program.
Migrant Justice provided an in-depth overview of this Worker-Driven Social Responsibility (WSR) program, modeled after the Fair Food Program in Florida, demonstrating how the 5 essential elements of their proposal work together to ensure farmworker's rights are secured in Ben & Jerry's supply chain. After a productive dialogue about each element farmworker leader Victor Diaz asked for action:
"Will Ben & Jerry's stand up for the fundamental rights of the human beings that milk the cows in your supply chain by negotiating an agreement with Migrant Justice?"
Check it out! Click on video:
The word is spreading across the nation:
VT dairy farmworkers are publicly calling on Ben & Jerry’s to meet and negotiate an agreement that will secure the rights of dairy workers in their supply chain. And thus far CEO Jostein Solheim has refused to meet with the dairy workers who put the cream in “Vermont’s finest Ice Cream”.
Migrant Justice just released today a snapshot of survey results focusing in on conditions on the 38 of Ben & Jerry's farms that we surveyed in their supply chain. The results show that workplace conditions are actually worse in Ben & Jerry's supply chain as compared to the overall survey results.