Workers employed at three March and Ash dispensaries voted last week to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, marking the first time a union contract has been ratified by any cannabis businesses in the San Diego, California region, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The affected dispensaries are in Vista, Imperial, and San Diego.
Nearly 90% of the more than 140 workers at the dispensaries voted to approve the contract.
Union president Todd Walters described the contract as “industry-leading” and said it would “create a new model for March and Ash employees, and other members of the industry, by providing training, educational opportunities, childcare and more.”
The contract includes profit-sharing, wages up to $17 an hour, and a $30,000 annual contribution from the company for education and childcare. March and Ash already provided healthcare benefits.
Breton Peace, general counsel for March and Ash, said the company “took the time to understand what it is [March and Ash] employees need and want.
“Early on we were asked to join labor agreements that originated elsewhere. That did not interest us. This is a new industry with radically different approaches between municipalities.” – Peace to the Union-Tribune
Earlier this year, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that most cannabis industry workers couldn’t form or join unions because they qualify as agricultural workers; however, that decision doesn’t apply to retail employees, including budtenders and delivery drivers.
Workers in other California cities, such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, have voted to join UFCW unions.
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