Union organizing in the marijuana industry has been on the upswing in the past year amid the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in new and emerging adult-use markets such as Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Several Factors are in play, according to union officials and labor experts:
Unions are now being more aggressive in focusing on the cannabis that are nascent as they see membership decline in other economic sectors.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is by far the most union that is dominant in the cannabis industry.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also appointed a UFCW official to your state’s brand new Cannabis Regulatory Commission, underscoring the union’s part into the state’s marijuana that is soon-to-launch adult-use.
The UFCW started a effort that is formal 2013 called Cannabis Workers Increasing to arrange workers into the cannabis and hemp companies, that offer greater development opportunities versus traditional organizations such as for example grocery chains and stores.
“Unions view cannabis as a opportunity that is huge” Boston labor attorney Jonathan Keselenko recently told Marijuana Business Magazine.
“They have been making sort of a press that is full-court obtain the industry arranged.”
Hugh Giordano, a union representative/organizer for regional 152 regarding the UFCW in nj-new jersey, stated it could seem corny but he thinks the cannabis industry provides a opportunity that is“historic industry and labor” to forge a partnership that ensures fair wages and benefits and helps in recruiting and retaining highly skilled workers.
But company officials and experts that are legal as Keselenko state you will find prospective drawbacks too.
They say that unionized workplaces are far more expensive and minimize a company flexibility that is’s such as the ability to shift employees to other work assignments based on current needs.
They also warn companies about being careful when labor that is signing conditions and never exceed what’s required to meet up with the requirement.
Some appropriate professionals argue that work comfort conditions are unneeded completely as the worker that is same are provided under federal labor laws.
While many marijuana operators such as Minneapolis-based Vireo Health and the recently sold Seattle-based Have a Heart have been open to unionization, there also is evidence of conflict between companies and union organizers.
The UFCW, for example, has butted heads with Massachusetts-based Curaleaf, one of the country’s marijuana companies that are largest, in Arizona, Massachusetts and nyc, in accordance with National work Relations Board (NLRB) filings.
A mail-in union election presently is underway at Curaleaf’s Windy City dispensary in Chicago.
Curaleaf Declined to comment for this whole story.
Union presence felt in Northeast, Midwest
On its website that is national UFCW states it represents “tens of 1000s of cannabis workers” across multiple states.Those figures couldn’t be confirmed, plus the nationwide UFCW hasn’t taken care of immediately Marijuana Business constant
queries looking for certain cannabis-industry data.
But the experience happens to be quick into the previous 12 months.
The chart above – drawn from news releases and news reports – is not a whole directory of most of the union task which includes gone on into the cannabis sector into the year.
But that is past it offers a snapshot of the UFCW’s efforts that are organizing
Union task is more pronounced in states where work typically has already established a presence that is large such as California, the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.
Edmund DeVeaux, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, said the UFCW is a member of the trade association.
“As far as the UFCW to our relationship, DeVeaux stated, our company is on a single web page” with regards to advocating for a safe workplace that delivers reasonable wages and advantages, financial parity, possibilities and training.
“It’s maybe not that a nonunion shop could achieve it, n’t but that’s something they (UFCW) embrace,” he added.
“Why would we not support it?”
The COVID-19 pandemic is one reason the UFCW has made inroads in the year.“It that is past woke up the worker part,” Giordano stated of UFCW Local employee that is 152.
An the Curaleaf dispensary in Hanover, Massachusetts, told
Marijuana Business Daily
last spring that workers had previously thought about unionizing but efforts became serious as COVID-19 became widespread.
The employee said at the time that schedules remained essentially the same with little recognition of the risks that are elevated. The employees desired more input and recognition into company decisions.
Curaleaf requested an indefinite postponement of a union election at the Hanover dispensary because of the pandemic, but the NLRB ordered a election that is mail-in in accordance with an NLRB ruling last might.
The answers are nevertheless uncertain, especially due to a dispute within the ballots of six Curaleaf employees who have been temporarily used in Hanover during Massachusetts’ shutdown of adult-use product sales in and May 2020.
A april NLRB officer that is hearing using the UFCW that people ballots against unionizing shouldn’t be counted, in accordance with a union official.
Curaleaf appealed to the NLRB that is regional, who ruled in UFCW’s favor. Curaleaf has now appealed to the NLRB in Washington DC.
The UFCW hasn’t been successful in all of its activities that are organizing
In some situations, petitions for union elections had been withdrawn.
In Massachusetts, employees at a fresh England Treatment Access (NETA) dispensary in Brookline soundly rejected the union by a 30-9 vote. However the employees were said by the UFCW were coerced and has appealed to the NLRB.Labor peace can lead to unionizationLabor peace requirements are another factor in the increase in marijuana unionization.
California enacted a stricter labor peace provision in 2019 requiring applicants with 20 or more employees to provide a statement that is notarized they are going to enter and adhere to the regards to a labor comfort contract.
Jim Araby, manager of strategic promotions for UFCW Local 5 in Northern Ca, stated conformity is inconsistent.
“I would state many major stores and distribution operators are complying,” Araby had written in a message to
. “Less so into the testing, manufacturing and cultivation sectors.”
Labor comfort conditions are most likely as more states that are northeast adult-use marijuana.
New Jersey’s new adult-use marijuana law requires labor peace agreements, except in the case of microbusinesses.
The UFCW has urged other Northeast governors to put labor peace pacts into adult-use cannabis bills.[email protected]“If you’re going to talk about social equity, you need to talk about workers,” Giordano said.
“We know New Jersey is going to be a powerhouse when it comes to cannabis. So why wouldn’t we want the best and brightest, and the only way to attract the best and brightest is to have good wages and benefits.”
Giordano said many marijuana companies are open to the possibility of unionization.(*)“But, Like any industry, there are those that fight nail and tooth.”(*)Jeff Smith could be reached at (*).(*)Omar Sacirbey contributed for this report.(*)