Ben & Jerry's Workers Announce Plan to Unionize in Vermont

Shop employees say they want a voice in decisions over salaries, health care and other issues.

Ben Jerry's ice cream shop in Burlington, Vt., April 17, 2023.
Ben Jerry's ice cream shop in Burlington, Vt., April 17, 2023.
AP Photo/Wilson Ring

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) β€” About 40 workers at the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop in the Vermont city where the company was founded announced Monday that they plan 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 management.

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

"I think of this union as a sign of respect for Ben & Jerry's," said Rebeka Mendelsohn, a shift manager and catering lead, in a statement. "We're a company that stands for social justice rights and equity, and I want to ensure that this message is translated to all levels of employment."

Ben & Jerry's, now owned by consumer goods giant Unilever, said organizers just presented the plan to the company Sunday night.

It's "an important issue to us, we're aware of it, and we're actively working on it," Ben & Jerry's spokesman Sean Greenwood wrote in an email.

The shop employees' letter to management says they want a voice in key decisions over issues such as salaries and health care costs.

"We are taught from the beginning of our employment that equality and justice are integral rights of ours as people. But what happens when Vermont's Finest are continuously left out of these conversations?"

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