It’s true that, for many workers, getting a job at a garment or sportswear factory is better than some of the alternatives—that’s why so many depend on them. The fact that people are desperate isn’t an excuse to exploit them … We welcome the fact that millions of people are earning a wage. This alone, however, is not enough to lift them from poverty if employers can hire and fire at will, deny union rights, pay low wages that drive people to work inhumane hours just to survive, avoid paying sick leave, and avoid observing maternity rights.

10 Biggest Excuses For Not Paying a Living Wage (And Why They Suck), by the Clean Clothes Campaign on Ecouterre. A fitting reminder on May Day.

Behind The Label: Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry's Clusterfluff and Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake

Originally published on EcoSalon.

Ben & Jerry’s has long been a poster child for socially responsible business, with its hippie branding, activist leanings, and emphasis on incorporating “happiness” at every step of the ice cream supply chain.

The company’s story begins in 1978 with an abandoned Burlington, Vermont, gas station and a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield wanted to create a company that would churn out the ice cream flavors they always dreamed off, filled with cookies, candy, fruits, nuts, and other fixings. They sourced their dairy from local farmers and christened their signature blends with quirky names like “Chunky Monkey” and “Phishfood.” Within a few years, Ben & Jerry’s had expanded to locations throughout Vermont, and in 1984, it became a publicly owned company.

But then the fairy tale turns cautionary. Ben & Jerry’s continued to grow through the 1980s and 1990s, but according to Fast Company, “the Ben & Jerry’s alternative management style lacked the fiscal and managerial discipline market analysts and investors demanded.” When British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever stepped up to acquire the company for $326 million in 2001, the board was forced to accept out of obligation to its shareholders.

“We very carefully negotiated an acquisition agreement that was supposed to maintain the values of Ben & Jerry’s,” Greenfield told The New York Times in 2010. “What we are learning is, if you are owned by a corporate that, despite whatever words they might say, does not share those values, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain those values.”

But just how much have Ben & Jerry’s values strayed in the 12 years since its Unilever acquisition? This week’s Behind The Label dives into the good, bad, and questionable.

READ MORE

This is not the first time girls have been burned alive in the city. Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers. Every year thousands of us are maimed. The life of men and women is so cheap and property is so sacred. There are so many of us for one job it matters little if 146 of us are burned to death.

Rose Schneiderman, a women’s union organizer, in a public address following the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. A particularly relevant portion of history to consider following last week’s Bangladeshi garment factory collapse.
We’ll be there too!
holstee:

Holstee will be at the Hester Street Fair this Saturday, April 27th!
Open every Saturday from this weekend through October, 10AM-6PM each week, this gathering is the best New York City has to offer: artisanal foods, vintage finds, home goods, crafts and more.
Come on down: swing by our table to check out the latest Holstee goods and meet our team! 
Other dates Holstee will be Hester-ing: June 1st, June 22nd, July 6th.
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We’ll be there too!

holstee:

Holstee will be at the Hester Street Fair this Saturday, April 27th!

Open every Saturday from this weekend through October, 10AM-6PM each week, this gathering is the best New York City has to offer: artisanal foods, vintage finds, home goods, crafts and more.

Come on down: swing by our table to check out the latest Holstee goods and meet our team! 

Other dates Holstee will be Hester-ing: June 1st, June 22nd, July 6th.