Momentum is building across the country and across industries for fair livelihoods and decent work for all people - including farmworkers, who have historically been excluded from too many protections. As this movement for fair work spreads, we catch up with Crispin Hernandez of Workers’ Center of Central New York.
Fair Trade USA’s new “fair trade” dairy label has been on Chobani’s Greek yogurt for nearly a year now, but little has changed for farmworkers. Instead, most of them don’t even know what “fair trade” is and haven’t seen the benefits that are getting sold to ethical consumers. But that’s not stopping Crispin and his allies from pushing for better protections for all farmworkers, including overtime pay at 40 hours/week.
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Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear your perspective. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 631-9980.
“Milked: Immigrant Farmworkers in New York State” is definitive research into the conditions on dairy farms in New York, presented by Workers’ Center of Central New York to Chobani: https://milkedny.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/milked_053017.pdf
Jacobin Magazine article highlighting the ways the new “fair trade” dairy program is failing workers: https://jacobinmag.com/2022/01/dairy-farmworkers-unions-safety-new-york-rwdsu-ufcw
Fair World Project’s report on the “fair trade dairy” label and the standards behind it: https://fairworldproject.org/choose-fair/certifier-analysis/fair-trade-usa-fair-trade-dairy-chobani-failings/
Margaret Gray’s op-ed on why so few farm worker voices were heard at the New York state wage board meeting: https://www.newsday.com/opinion/commentary/farmworkers-1.50487280
Report highlighting the connections between overtime for farm workers and workplace health and safety: https://oregonfarmworkerovertime.org/
More on the origins of farmworkers’ exclusion from workplace protections, and the worker-led movements for change: https://www.feministfoodjournal.com/post/power-to-the-people-how-worker-led-movements-are-changing-the-dairy-industry
A Farmer’s Guide to the New York state Department of Labor: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/07/p130.pdf