UFCW Statement on Unilever Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Spin Off

Waterbury, VT. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 371, which represents essential workers in grocery, meatpacking, food processing, retail, and other essential industries across CT, MA and Vermont, released a statement following Unilever’s announcement that the company will spin off its Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream unit.

UFCW Local 371 President Ronald M. Petronella released the following statement:

“Now more than ever, Ben & Jerry’s workers need a voice at their workplace. As the union for food processing workers, we are here to stand with any Ben & Jerry’s workers impacted by this news.

“UFCW Local 371 remains firmly committed to working with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream workers to secure a strong union contract and protect good jobs in Vermont, no matter what the structure of Unilever’s ice cream business is.”


UFCW Local 371 is part of the UFCW International, the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.2 million workers and their families in retail, grocery, meatpacking, food processing, cannabis, healthcare and other essential industries in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.

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Local 371 Steward and Board member Lucy Sciarretto Speaks at Press Conference to Fight for Unemployment for Striking Workers.

“My husband and I both work for Stop and Shop, so our entire financial world was about to change. I had to keep strong for my employees, but this wasn’t an easy task when I was so nervous on the inside. Going on strike for two weeks, not knowing what was going to happen to us financially as a family was frightening.” These were some of the thoughts shared by Lucy Sciarretto this morning when speaking to to legislators and the press. Lucy was speaking in favor of HB 5164, a bill that would allow striking workers to collect unemployment benefits after they have been on strike for two consecutive weeks.

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Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Workers Organize with UFCW Local 371

The UFCW Local 371 is extremely proud to welcome the hard-working ice cream processors at Ben & Jerry’s Waterbury, Vermont plant to our union family. From Cherry Garcia to Chubby Hubby, Ben and Jerry’s workers at the Waterbury, Vermont plant proudly make some of the country’s most recognizable ice cream flavors. As America’s food processing union, we are thrilled at the opportunity to not only represent, but uplift, workers at such an iconic American brand and we look forward to bringing this opportunity to other Ben & Jerry’s plants across the country. These workers know better than anyone that whether it’s in a cup or cone, union victory tastes sweet.

We applaud the Ben & Jerry’s Waterbury plant employees who made their voices heard today by joining the UFCW through card check recognition. Ben & Jerry’s are well known for their progressive politics, and we held them to their word. We are glad to see Ben & Jerry’s live up to their stated values by recognizing their workers’ right to unionize instead of forcing a long and drawn out election process. Ben & Jerry’s employees work hard to make the ice cream that so many Americans know and love and we look forward to sitting down at the bargaining table to negotiate a contract that gives them the benefits that they have earned and deserve.

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Election Day is November 7th!

All elections are important, and municipal elections are the ones that have the biggest impact on the way our towns and cities are run, whether our schools are funded, whether there are activities for our children and the elderly, and if our roads are paved. Have you checked your voter registration status lately? You can check it at ufcwvotes.org/verify. When union members vote, working families have a voice.

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CT Minimum Wage To Increase to $15.69 on January 1, 2024

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz announced that the minimum wage will increase from $15.00 to $15.69 starting Jan. 1, 2024! The minimum wage law passed four years ago mandated that increases will go up each year at the rate of inflation starting in 2024. This means that minimum wage in CT will finally keep up with the rate of inflation and our lowest paid workers will no longer fall behind. We are proud of our union, Local 371, and thankful to the CT AFL-CIO, for fighting for this important legislation. Many of our newest members in retail food, grocery stores and food processing will immediately earn a higher wage. Many retail food workers are working in supermarkets to support their families, and this increased wage will have an immediate impact on their family finances.

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