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Unilever-owned, Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s has signed “an agreement with a farmworkers’ group that establishes labor standards for the company’s suppliers in the state, and creates an enforcement strategy that encourages workers to speak up about violations,” according to a story in the New York Times.

The Times story writes: “The 1,200 to 1,500 workers in Vermont’s dairy industry have been laboring under their own grim circumstances. A 2014 survey of about 170 dairy workers in the state by Migrant Justice, the farmworkers’ advocacy group that signed the agreement with Ben & Jerry’s, found that in addition to a scarcity of days off, workers had schedules that frequently kept them from sleeping more than a few hours at a time. Many of the migrants, who typically work year round for low wages and live on the farms that employ them, also had substandard housing.”

Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim says, “We believe in worker-led movements, and in bringing in dairy and doing it in Vermont.”
KC's View:
Good for Ben & Jerry’s. Too many companies have a culture in which the people at the top get big salaries, and everybody else - you know, the folks who actually do the work - are treated as costs instead of assets. Worse, the people at the top often are rewarded for driving down labor costs as low as possible, which marginalizes the folks who they should want to feel invested in the business.