Cannabis Industry Seen as a Target for Union Expansion

The cannabis industry recognizes the need for unions as more workers are hired and more states legalize.there is It has increased Unions are taking an interest as workers demand better conditions, wages and benefits.

Cannabis continues to bring more money to the US economy. In 2020, the industry brought in a total of $17.5 billion to $21.3 billion and provided 240,000 to 321,000 full-time jobs. It is projected to reach $41 billion by 2026. Those numbers could get even higher as more states legalize.

And already there is a movement towards unionization. Chicago’s modern cannabis dispensary will be unionized in 2021, and many other businesses in the city have done the same. Chicago’s first cannabis union contract was ratified in March 2022.

Alex Suarez, who works at Modern Cannabis, said, “We’re trying to build these careers for the long term, not just establish turnover.” “Right now, the rise of organizations in this country is amazing, and I think we need to keep going beyond that energy.”

Tonya Townshend, who worked at Green Thumb Industries’ cannabis facility in Rock Creek, Illinois, when Green Thumb Industries pioneered unionization in 2018 and 2019, spoke out against the movement. saw They failed to organize as the vote missed her by a margin of 26 to 30.

“There were a lot of union busters. They hired the top union avoidance company in the country,” she says. “We took them on for about a year. There was a lot. It was mental, physical, verbal, daily abuse. These workers are reaching out to us for help.” We used to look for them, now they’re coming to us, our phones are better protected from these companies, higher wages, more money. It’s a constant ringing from workers demanding good benefits and accountability.”

Labor unions are also on the rise overall. The retail business has been profitable in recent years as his 18 of his 26 union elections in 2021 were successful. Most cannabis unions are members of The United Food and Commercial Workers and Teamsters groups, leading more union campaigns as more legal states and businesses come online.

“A lot of people have to choose between cooking their own meals or putting gas in their car and going to work. That’s it,” says Maddi, who used to work for Ayr. Wellness in Massachusetts in 2018 before union formation. She is currently the host of UFCW Local 1445 in Massachusetts.

At the moment, six states There are laws that require or encourage labor peace agreements for licensed medical or recreational cannabis businesses.

The age of recreational cannabis legalized In February 2021, in New Jersey, the law include An agreement to protect trade union organizing activities. UFCW represents most of the cannabis workers.

Hugh Giordano, organizational director of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 360 in New Jersey, said: “We want to achieve 100% union density before the adult conditional license goes live.”

From 2021, 500 workers In the cannabis industry, he unionized with Teamster.

“As more states legalize recreational marijuana, we can’t simply create more minimum wage jobs,” said Teamsters president Sean O’Brien. “We want a career backed and protected by a Teamster contract.”

Today, the industry is literally growing, and with this growth comes increased union activity, which means more unions will emerge in the future.

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