Woke ice cream big Ben & Jerry’s is being sued for its “hypocritical” use of kid labor, regardless of the corporate’s oft-stated dedication to social justice causes.
The information of kid labor comes on the heels of a settlement with its mother or father firm, Unilever, which Ben & Jerry’s accused of violating a merger deal signed over 20 years in the past with its latest resolution to permit the sale of its Israel-based operations. regardless of an tried boycott by the ice cream maker.
The corporate’s involvement with little one labor got here to mild shortly after it settled a high-profile authorized battle with its mother or father agency over an tried boycott in opposition to Israel, which Israel supporters seen as prejudiced. The Ben & Jerry’s board accountable for the boycott has stayed mum concerning the labor challenge, whereas its chief has continued to take photographs at Israel.
A New York Occasions investigation printed final month alleged Ben & Jerry’s dairy amenities exploit migrant little one laborers, usually for harmful and manufacturing facility jobs, regardless of the ice cream firm’s declared mission to “honor and stand with” migrants.
Ben & Jerry’s Receives Backlash for Backing Unlawful Channel Migrants https://t.co/C4XEAo5Em4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 14, 2020
Greater than 100 migrant kids interviewed for the expose, a lot of whom had entered the U.S. as unaccompanied minors from Central America, “described jobs that were grinding them into exhaustion, and fears that they had become trapped in circumstances they never could have imagined,” the report stated.
The youngsters work to pay again smugglers, pay for dwelling, and ship to their households again house, the report stated.
“Ben & Jerry’s is opposed to child labor of any kind whatsoever. The company has an established track record standing for justice and equity for all including five plus years with Milk with Dignity supporting migrant workers. The Milk with Dignity Standards Council ensures that farmworkers are fairly compensated for their labor, work in healthy conditions, and builds in additional safeguards for those who are 16 and 17,” a spokesperson for the corporate advised the Occasions.
However as Daniel Freedman from JNS factors out:
The Milk With Dignity code goes as far as to bar “the threat or use of sexual or physical assault” in opposition to employees, which is fairly noble of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Nothing says respect for human rights like agreeing to not sexually assault employees.
However the code solely bars “systemic unlawful child labor.” That’s fairly a couple of loopholes in simply 4 phrases. The complete wording within the code defines “the use of systemic unlawful child labor, as defined by applicable law in the jurisdiction in which the farm is located.” That’s nearly as good as an admission. Youngster labor will be systemic or it may be illegal, however it may possibly’t be each systemic and illegal.
Plaintiff Dovid Tyrnauer filed a federal class motion lawsuit in opposition to Ben & Jerry’s in a New York court docket, the Occasions of Israel reported. The case argues Ben & Jerry’s had misrepresented its moral commitments to shoppers.
When Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever – successfully for not agreeing to boycott Israel – their authorized argument was closely based mostly on its sense of justice, Tyrnauer’s lawsuit claimed.
“While Ben & Jerry’s purports to use ethical supply chains and professes concern about farmworker welfare, the reality could not be further from the truth. Migrant child labor is used in Ben & Jerry’s supply chains,” the lawsuit claimed. “Ben & Jerry’s wishes to have its ice cream and eat it too. It wishes to sell premium priced products with pompous virtue-signaling representations regarding its supposedly ethical sourcing, all the while migrant child labor is used in its supply chains. Put simply, this is a case about greed run amok.”
“The premiums that consumers pay for allegedly ethically-sourced products, in this instance, are not justified and constitute a breach of consumer trust through the misrepresentations,” the lawsuit stated.
Contacted for remark concerning the class motion lawsuit, Ben & Jerry’s referred The Occasions of Israel to a earlier assertion issued in response to the New York Occasions report, which, notably, condemned little one labor however didn’t deny that its suppliers had been utilizing it. The ice cream maker additionally refused to reply the outlet’s questions.
As per The Occasions of Israel:
The Ben & Jerry’s unbiased board tasked with defending the corporate’s “social mission,” which determined to boycott Israeli settlements, has not commented on the kid labor challenge. An organization spokesperson stated the assertion responding to the New York Occasions investigation was not attributable to the board.
The board’s chair, Anuradha Mittal, has not publicly commented, however has repeatedly shared anti-Israel content material on Twitter for the reason that little one labor challenge got here to mild. Mittal has a pro-intifada poster on her workplace wall.
Alyza Lewin, a lawyer for Ben & Jerry’s Israel in its lawsuit in opposition to the boycott, stated the kid labor allegations had uncovered the corporate’s double-standard in relation to Israel.
“This information that’s now come out about the immigrant child workers does kind of confirm the hypocrisy of the whole episode with Israel,” Lewin stated. “What you had was a board that caved to BDS pressure and it was never about trying to help Palestinians.”
“If you’re going to go out there and claim that you’re all about social justice, then where is your voice now when it comes to these poor children?” Lewin stated.
The social justice warriors on the helm of the ice cream big have an extended file of leveraging the model for his or her political activism, with the discharge of latest flavors for a variety of causes du jour from local weather change, identical intercourse marriage, Occupy Wall Avenue, and Black Lives Matter.
In an interview final yr, Cohen and Greenfield had been requested why the choice to boycott a state over its insurance policies by no means stretched to Georgia and Texas, regardless of their vocal opposition to these states’ abortion and voting rights legal guidelines.
“Why do you still sell ice cream in Georgia? Texas?” McCammond requested.
Clearly stumped, Cohen, a Bernie Sanders supporter, shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he stated, laughing.
“You ask a really good question and I think I’d have to sit down and think about it for a bit.”
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