Collective Identity among Vermont Migrant Workers and Self-advocacy for Basic Human Rights in the Dairy Industry
Date of Completion
College of Arts and Science Honors
migrant workers, Latinx, Vermont dairy industry, social movements, human rights, Migrant Justice
There are approximately 1200-1500 migrant workers in Vermont who help sustain the state’s dairy industry (Flores, 2017, 516). Mostly from Mexico and Central America, undocumented immigrants work about 60-80 hours a week on dairy farms and face significant challenges, such as a lack of access to health care, physical and mental health problems, poor working and living conditions, violation of basic human rights, low wages, in addition to social isolation and marginalization in these rural communities. With a visible, increasing population of Latinx farmworkers in rural Vermont, factors such as social isolation and marginalization stand in the way of migrant workers being able to access essential resources. However, through collective agency and the formation of Migrant Justice, a non-profit organization, migrant workers have come together to fight for their human rights. This study examines how the geographical, economical, and political characteristics of Vermont have caused social isolation and a lack of access to resources but how through collective identity, migrant workers have found success in advocating for their human rights. Through a close reading of scholarly articles on collective identity among migrant workers in Vermont, local news coverage of Migrant Justice protests and events, and interviews of migrant workers conducted by local journalists, I investigate the role that collective solidarity has had in fighting for the rights of dairy migrant workers. Five success indicators (supporter growth, policy changes, worker-led campaigns, legal victories, and community engagement) are used to determine the effectiveness of Migrant Justice as a social movement and the impact it has had on advocating for the rights of migrant workers.
Adjudanpor, Alexa Leah, "Collective Identity among Vermont Migrant Workers and Self-advocacy for Basic Human Rights in the Dairy Industry" (2023). UVM College of Arts and Sciences College Honors Theses. 125.