Since May 2021, nearly 500 workers at more than a dozen cannabis facilities have voted to join the Teamsters union, including workers at dispensaries, grow operations, and distributors. In a press release, the Teamsters said it launched a national organizing campaign for the industry last year.
We knew that organizing a nascent industry like cannabis would be hard, but that doesn’t bother us,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters’ national food processing director, in a statement. “Usually, the things in life that are the most worthwhile are also the most difficult.”
Finn added that as legalization spreads throughout the U.S., “restorative justice is needed.”
“For far too long, innocent people were locked up for possession of cannabis. … This justice means we ensure that cannabis revenue goes to the people who deserve it the most. We make that happen with a Teamster contract.” — Finn in a statement
The union points out that several states – including Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota – could vote to legalize cannabis during midterm elections in November and that the Teamsters plan “on expanding organizing targets and building upon the grassroots momentum of the past year.”
A Bloomberg Law report in March found that cannabis workers voted in 26 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) union representation elections last year and sided with the union in 18 of them, representing a net increase of 14 wins in 2020 and 16 wins over 2019. The wins accounted for nearly two-thirds – 62% – of the retail industry’s unionization gains from 2019 to 2020.
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