Saturday, June 17, 2017|12:36 p.m.
MONTPELIER, Vt.– Ratings of dairy farm workers and activists marched Saturday on a Ben & & Jerry’s factory to promote better pay and living conditions on farms that provide milk for the ice cream maker that takes pride in its social advocacy.
Protesters said Ben & & Jerry’s concurred two years ago to take part in the so-called Milk with Dignity program, however the company and worker agents have yet to reach an agreement.
“We can’t wait anymore. We are going to pressure them and see what takes place,” said Victor Diaz, a Mexican immigrant now dealing with a farm in Vergennes.
Ben & & Jerry’s representative Sean Greenwood stated prior to Saturday’s march from the Statehouse to the Waterbury factory that the business aspired to reach a contract and negotiations were underway.
“We are a values-led service. We frame ourselves as an aspiring social justice business,” said Greenwood. “We try to do excellent with whatever we can with our company. Dairy has actually definitely been one of those issues we have actually done a ton of deal with for years.”
Ben & & Jerry’s promotes its social activism as much as its eccentric ice-cream tastes such as Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey and Phish Food. A lot of its raw materials, like sugar, cocoa, vanilla, bananas and coffee come from producers across the world that register for the Fairtrade program, which promotes greater rates and better working conditions for farmers.
About 85 percent of the milk Ben & & Jerry’s uses in its ice cream made in North America originates from about 80 Vermont dairy farms. Its Caring Dairy program promotes sustainable farming by providing farmers money incentives for keeping up with finest management practices.
The Milk with Dignity program was established in 2014 by farm employees and the Vermont group Migrant Justice to guarantee that farms supply them reasonable salaries and working conditions and decent housing. In 2015, Ben & & Jerry’s agreed to sign up with the program. Since then, the 2 sides have actually been working out over the details.
“We have actually been working out in great faith,” stated Will Lambek of Migrant Justice. “It’s an undesirable delay.”
Greenwood stated Ben & & Jerry’s didn’t get the first details from the employees up until a year back and the 2 sides have actually been working since then to reach an agreement.
“It needs to work for the farmers, the farm owners, and it needs to work for business included and that’s the complex piece,” Greenwood stated. “How do you make certain that it will be operationalized so it’s a win-win across the board which’s what we’ve been dealing with for well over a year now.”