Ben & Jerry’s Vows to Improve Dairy Farmers’ Working Conditions
Ben & Jerry’s has signed an agreement with advocacy group Migrant Justice that ensures humane working conditions for its dairy farmers. The New York Times reports that these same farmers often work seven days a week for less than minimum wage. A 2014 Migrant Justice survey of 170 dairy workers in Vermont — where the ice cream shop is headquartered — shows that workers almost never got days off and often worked schedules that allowed them to sleep no more than a few hours each night.
“One of the biggest issues was housing conditions, the need for workers to be provided with basic amenities, like electricity, water, and housing that is free from pest infestations,” former dairy worker Enrique Balcazar told The New York Times. Unfortunately, many workers are undocumented, which is why it’s so hard for them to ask for help.
But now a new program, called “Milk With Dignity,” will allow dairy workers who supply Ben & Jerry’s to have at least one day off each week. They will also receive Vermont’s minimum wage, which is currently $10 an hour. Each worker will be guaranteed an eight-hour period for resting between shifts and adequate housing with sufficient beds, electricity, and clean water.
Ben & Jerry’s prides itself on being socially and environmentally conscious. In addition to the new agreement, the company supports mandatory GMO labeling and follows fair trade practices. You can find all this and more in the 11 things you didn’t know about Ben & Jerry’s.