‘Milk with Dignity’ protest at West Lebanon Hannafordadvocates for farmworkers

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 11/2/2019 10:27:13 PM

WEST LEBANON — With chants of “Get up, get down, Milk with Dignity is coming to town,” about 50 people, many holding placards, demonstrated outside Hannaford on Saturday demanding the supermarket chain join the Milk with Dignity program to ensure fair labor conditions for farmworkers, many of whom are immigrants.

“This is a project by migrant justice led by migrant farmworkers,” said organizer Asma Elhuni, the lead coordinator for the United Valley Interfaith Project. “Today we have a coalition of different organizations that has come together to ask Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity.”

Saturday was one of several protests held in front of Hannaford stores in New England. Several of the protesters entered the store and presented a letter to the store manager, who listened to their request and promised to forward it to the corporate office in Portland, Maine, where such decisions are made.

If Hannaford were to sign a contract with the program, Elhuni said a third party would come to a farm to be sure they were meeting Milk with Dignity objectives that include a livable wage, sufficient housing and clean working conditions.

The Rev. John Gregory-Davis, co-pastor of Meriden Congregational Church, explained why he joined the demonstration.

“The recognition is that if there are farmworkers not being paid enough without living conditions many of us would want to live by, then that needs to change,” Gregory-Davis said. “Recognizing Hannaford has the power to make that change, we’re encouraging Hannaford to do the right thing.”

Gregory-Davis later told the crowd they will continue their demand until Hannaford signs on to the program.

“We will be back. We are not going away,” he said to cheers.




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