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Migrant Justice partnership releases updated housing and employment rights handbook for dairy workers

The milking parlor at Monument Farms.
Abagael Giles
/
Vermont Public File
The milking parlor at Monument Farms.

A resource guide outlining the housing and employment rights of Vermont’s dairy workers has recently been updated.

The guide, originally published in 2018, is a collaboration between the farmworker advocacy group, Migrant Justice and Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

The manual is designed to inform dairy workers of their legal rights regarding safety, housing, wages and more.

Marita Canedo, the program coordinator at Migrant Justice, said the manual was a way to make legal jargon comprehensible and bilingual. The guide is designed to be easy to read and portable.

“Because when we have workers that want to organize, then they have something to look at for making the list of the rights they want to ask, which is a tool to show to the employer, you know, these are the laws, how can we have a conversation about this," she said.

The recent changes include updated resources on making housing complaints and getting legal help. It also includes information about the right workers have to receive visitors, a law which is often misconstrued by employers.

“And we want to make that clear,” Canedo said. “Because unfortunately, sometimes workers find themselves being told that nobody can come to the house, and they are getting more isolated."

The updated manual is available in Spanish and English and features illustrations and helpful graphics by artist Michelle Sayles.

As many as 1,000 migrants work in the state's dairy industry.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Samantha Watson is a senior at the University of Vermont.
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