This past Tuesday, ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to ensure standards of labor and enforcement strategies at the companies’ Vermont dairy suppliers. Migrant Justice had surveyed Vermont dairies in 2014 and recognized the deplorable conditions migrant workers were faced with. Many worker had substandard housing, schedules that only allowed for short periods of sleep, and low wages. The fact that these migrants were often undocumented immigrants, discouraged speaking out about these conditions. The agreement, called Milk with Dignity, ensures migrant workers receive minimum wage, eight consecutive hours of rest, housing conditions including a bed, clean running water, and electricity.  Ben & Jerry’s is required to acquire its milk from dairies that adhere to these standards. This will be enforced by the affected workers who have a 24-hour hotline to report conditions. Compliance will be monitored by a former staff lawyer of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project.  By signing the agreement, Ben & Jerry’s is prioritizing dairy workers as the main ingredient of their ice cream.

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