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14 Feb 2023

Elodie Read, Vermont Public (USA)

Farmworker group says Hannaford's ethics helpline hasn't fixed living conditions

See all tags Allegations

A Vermont farmworker advocacy organization says Hannaford supermarkets' complaint system has not resolved poor housing and labor conditions among the company's dairy suppliers.

Migrant Justice says farmworkers have filed complaints about nine farms through Hannaford’s Speak Up Line, and none of those conditions have been improved as a result.

The complaints include a supervisor threatening violence with a machete, ten workers sharing a house with four rooms and inadequate heat, and 12- to 14-hour work days without meal breaks.

In a statement sent to Maine Public, Hannaford said each of the complaints had gone through an investigation, including some farm visits, and none had been substantiated.

Hannaford said it was committed to ensuring that its suppliers and farms treat their workers fairly and humanely, adhere to labor laws and meet Hannaford's code of conduct. A company spokesperson said Hannaford is "actively working" with private brand milk suppliers to further enforce the standards in Hannaford's direct suppliers and those suppliers' suppliers.

Farmworkers planned to travel to Hannaford headquarters Wednesday in Scarborough, Maine to ask the company to join its labor and housing rights program, Milk With Dignity. When companies sign onto the program, they pay farms premiums in return for adhering to a code of conduct.