Human Rights Investigator and Program Assistant

Milk with Dignity Standards Council

Human Rights Investigator and Program Assistant

The Milk with Dignity Standards Council is currently hiring for the position of Human Rights Investigator and Program Assistant.

The Milk with Dignity Program, founded and created by farmworkers of Migrant Justice, brings together farmworkers, consumers, farmers and corporate buyers to secure dignified wages and humane labor and housing conditions in the dairy industry in the Northeastern United States. The Milk with Dignity Program’s principal goal is to foster a sustainable Northeast dairy industry that advances the human rights of farmworkers, the long-term interests of farmers, and the ethical supply chain concerns of retail food companies and consumers.

The Milk with Dignity Program is a Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) initiative inspired by the groundbreaking work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and adapted from the CIW’s highly acclaimed Fair Food Program. The WSR model rests on a strong commitment to empower workers, through labor rights education and access to a protected complaint mechanism, so that they may form the first line of defense against labor abuses. The model supplements these efforts with independent audits of working and housing conditions on participating farms.

The Milk with Dignity Standards Council (MDSC) is a unique organization emerging from Migrant Justice's successful Milk with Dignity campaign to secure the human rights of dairy workers and improve the conditions under which they labor. MDSC, based in Burlington, Vermont, was established to address the Program’s need for an entity with the requisite experience and capacity to monitor and enforce its standards under the farmworker-defined Code of Conduct, which represents Vermont dairy workers’ definition of the human right to work with dignity.

MDSC investigates complaints lodged through the Program’s worker support line and conducts audits of dairy farms participating in the Program to verify their compliance with the Code of Conduct. MDSC works closely with participating farms to help them reach compliance with the Code, including through the provision and coordination of technical assistance and training, upon request. When audits or complaint investigations result in findings of Code violations, MDSC works with participating farms to create Corrective Action Plans and Complaint Resolutions designed to address identified violations.

About the Position

The MDSC is seeking to hire a Human Rights Investigator and Program Assistant. The successful candidate will play a major role in fostering the growth of a new model of agricultural cooperation between dairy workers and farmers.

Investigators conduct detailed interviews of farm workers, supervisors, and farm management. Investigators also receive and investigate complaints from workers through a 24-hour confidential support line. Working in small teams, Investigators play a key role in investigating and resolving complaints, designing Corrective Action Plans, and drafting written audit reports that clearly explain MDSC’s findings about relevant working and housing conditions.

In addition, the Human Rights Investigator and Program Assistant will assist with meeting the administrative needs of the organization, including payroll and benefits administration, banking, and financial record-keeping, in coordination with the Executive Director.

MDSC is based in Burlington, Vermont. The position involves work-related travel throughout Vermont, with the possibility of future expansion. The compensation range starts at $47,000 annually. Benefits include employer-paid health insurance, generous paid vacation and sick leave policies, twelve paid holidays per year, auto insurance reimbursement, mileage reimbursement, retirement benefits, and overtime premium pay.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Fluency in Spanish and English;

  • A demonstrated commitment to worker and social justice;

  • Strong communication and interviewing skills;

  • Excellent writing and documentation skills, including attention to detail;

  • Ability to connect facts and discern patterns;

  • Ability to interact well with people of different nationalities, genders, and professional and educational backgrounds;

  • Comfort working in rural areas, including on farms and outdoors;

  • Experience working with financial record-keeping, and a high level of organization;

  • Willingness to work some irregular hours;

  • Ability to work well as part of a team as well as independently;

  • Discipline and initiative;

  • Driver’s license and willingness to drive long distances in rural communities in all seasons; and

  • Experience working with low-income and/or immigrant communities, working for human rights, and/or facilitating difficult conversations.

Knowledge of occupational safety and health concepts are also desirable skills but are not required.

How to Apply

Applicants should send a cover letter and a resume or CV to The subject line of the email should read “MDSC Human Rights Investigator and Program Assistant.” Applications will be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled.

MDSC is an equal opportunity employer, committed to developing a workforce that reflects and can relate easily to the diverse populations involved in the Milk with Dignity Program.