Workers at a Phoenix, Arizona cannabis dispensary went on strike last week after the company, Curaleaf Midtown, failed to negotiate a contract despite the workers voting to join the UFCW Local 99 in June 2022, FOX 10 Phoenix reports. The strike marks the first time cannabis industry employees have gone on strike in Arizona.
The workers are demanding better pay and benefits, better working conditions, and safety. They are also demanding that Curaleaf Midtown reinstate a recently fired worker and start advancing union contract negotiations. According to the union, citing a complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the worker was fired for her union activity.
Nickolas Fredrickson, who works as a budtender at Curaleaf Midtown, said workers are “demanding that Curaleaf come to the table, and negotiate with us like they were supposed to do when the NLRB ordered them to recognize us.”
“We’ve been fighting for almost two years now, and we aren’t anywhere close to a contract.” — Fredrickson to FOX 10
In a statement, Curaleaf said it “respects the rights of team members who have chosen to be represented by a union.”
“Where team members have chosen such representation, the company will pursue an honest, business-like approach in working with those representatives. While we believe that a direct relationship with our team members is the best route for us to work together, we respect the voices of our team members and will negotiate with union leaders in good faith,” the company said in a statement. “We know our team members, our business and our patients and customers depend on a positive work environment, and we are committed to a collaborative culture that allows our team to feel heard, supported and respected.”
The strike by Curaleaf employees echoes sentiments from unions around the U.S. Amid high inflation, stagnant wages, and the rapid spread of technology that could impact jobs for many sectors, union members in several industries have voted to strike this year, from writers and actors in the film and television industries, to auto industry workers in Detroit’s manufacturing facilities, to health care workers and flight attendants.
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