Executive Director

The Milk with Dignity Standards Council (MDSC) is currently hiring for the position of Executive Director. 

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 principal goal of the Milk with Dignity (MD) Program 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 MD 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. Above all, 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 abuse, and to supplement these efforts with independent audits of Participating Farmers’ operations.

The 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.  Based in Burlington Vermont, the MDSC was established by Migrant Justice 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. The Code represents dairy worker’s definition of the human right to work with dignity. The MDSC is solely dedicated to its responsibilities in the Program.

The MDSC works closely with Participating Farms to help them reach compliance with the Code, including provision and coordination of technical assistance and training, upon request.  The organization is responsible for conducting audits of dairy farms participating in the Program to verify their compliance with the Code of Conduct. In addition, the MDSC conducts investigations of complaints lodged through the program’s worker complaint line. When MDSC audits or complaint investigations result in findings of Code violations, MDSC works with farms to create Corrective Action Plans and Complaint Resolutions designed to address all identified violations. The MDSC issues public annual reports documenting the current status of the Program, including general progress and challenges to date.
 

About the Position

The MDSC is seeking to hire an Executive Director, who will be answerable to a Board of Directors composed of worker, human rights, and agricultural representatives. Directing a small staff of investigators and analysts, the Director will play a major role in advancing the mission and strategy of the MDSC and furthering the implementation of this exciting model of worker-driven human rights enforcement in the dairy industry.


Specific responsibilities include:

  • Lead organizational development and planning, including the maintenance of financial, programmatic and internal governance infrastructure

  • Oversee the hiring and day-to-day management and supervision of MDSC staff, including the development of collaborative processes to achieve goals 

  • Direct external communications strategies, including participation in presentations and the writing of public reports

  • Coordinate fundraising strategies to ensure the ongoing financial stability of the MDSC

  • Design strategies and engage with organizational partners to strengthen implementation of the Program and expand the worker-driven social responsibility model 

  • Review complaint investigations and resolutions

  • Support staff during farm audits; review and finalize audit reports generated by MDSC staff

  • Engage with Participating Farmers regarding Complaint Resolutions, Corrective Action Plans, and more

  • Manage relationships with Participating Buyer(s), ensuring mutual compliance with terms of agreement(s)

  • Explore and, if viable, at some future point develop, implement and market an MD certification program


Qualifications/Experience:

  • At least 5 years leadership experience in human rights, workers’ rights or some other field of social change that provides demonstrable evidence of a commitment to the principles underlying the Milk with Dignity Program

  • At least five years of management experience, and ten years of relevant program experience preferred

  • Experience working with immigrant populations in the United States or rural/agricultural populations elsewhere 

  • Demonstrated fundraising experience 

  • Familiarity with negotiating and enforcing contracts is highly desirable

  • Significant public speaking experience

  • Conflict mediation and resolution experience


Knowledge:

  • Familiarity with human rights or other relevant social justice issues

  • Familiarity with codes of conduct and the world of corporate social responsibility

  • Proficiency in English and Spanish 


Skills/Abilities:

  • Excellent management skills

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  • Strong writing and editing skills

  • Strong networking and coalition-building skills

  • Ability to work across broad array of constituencies, including immigrant workers, farmers, Fortune 500 companies, and other organizations in the field

  • Ability to set priorities and undertake a wide range of responsibilities

  • Ability to work collaboratively as well as independently

  • Ability to communicate the vision and goals of the organization effectively to a wide range of audiences

Salary range starts at $68,000 and can increase commensurate with skills and experience. Benefits include employer-paid health insurance, generous paid vacation and sick leave policies, twelve paid holidays per year, auto insurance reimbursement, and mileage reimbursement. Candidates moving to Vermont from out of state for the position may be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement: https://thinkvermont.com/relocation-incentives/.

 

How to Apply

Applicants should send a resume or CV and a cover letter indicating interest in the position by email to careers@milkwithdignity.org. The subject line of the email should read MDSC Executive Director. Applications will be received and reviewed immediately and until the position is filled.

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