Sanders praises shop workers, Ben & Jerry’s on union effort

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Workers seeking to unionize at a Ben & Jerry’s retail shop in Burlington, Vermont, the city where the ice cream brand was founded announced Friday that the company has signed the fair election principles.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who has been a vocal supporter of Starbucks labor organizers, congratulated the Ben & Jerry’s workers at a press conference in his home city.

“I’m very proud of the work that these workers have done in coming together to form a union and I’m very proud that we have here in Vermont a company like Ben & Jerry’s that has long stood for progressive principles, today saying they’re willing to sit down and negotiate a good contract with their workers,” Sanders said.

Ben & Jerry’s said last week that it supported a plan to unionize by about 40 workers at the retail shop in downtown Burlington.

It said in a statement that it shares “the goal of advancing justice, both inside and outside our company.” The ice cream manufacturer was founded in a former gas station a short distance from the downtown shop.

“That’s why we recognize and support the rights of all workers to unionize and collectively bargain,” the company said. “Ben & Jerry’s is committed to the goal of operating our company in a way that is fair, inclusive, and equitable, while being a dynamic and fun place for all workers.”