Ben & Jerry’s workers announce plans to unionize in Vermont

Around 40 workers at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop in the Vermont town where the company was founded have announced they plan to form a union

BURLINGTON, Vermont — About 40 workers at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop in the Vermont town where the company was founded announced plans Monday to form a union.

“Collectively we have come to embody Ben and Jerry’s slogan of ‘peace, love and ice cream,'” they said they wrote to the management.

The so-called Burlington, Vermont store scoopers said they had formed an organizing committee and petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for an election. They said they had the support of upstate New York & Vermont chapter of Workers United, the union that launched the Starbucks unionization campaign in Buffalo, New York.

“I consider this union as a sign of respect for Ben & Jerry’s,” Rebeka Mendelsohn, shift manager and catering manager, said in a statement. “We are a company that stands up for social justice rights and equity, and I want to make sure that message is translated to all levels of employment.”

Well & Jerry’s, now owned by consumer goods giant Unilever, said organizers had just presented the plan to the company on Sunday evening.

It is “an important problem for us, we are aware of it and we are actively working on it”, Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson Sean Greenwood wrote in an email.

The store employees’ letter to management says they want a say in key decisions on issues such as wages and health care costs.

“We are taught from the start of our employment that equality and justice are part of our rights as people. But what happens when Vermont’s Finest is continually left out of these conversations?”

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