At Columbia Care, Inc. and The Botanist, employees took different routes to the same result: unionizing with the United Food and Commercial Workers union
NEW JERSEY: The United Food and Commercial Workers union, Local 360, announces that, within the last week, employees at Columbia Care, Inc.’s Cannabist retail location and at The Botanist have voted to organize through the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Employees at Columbia Care’s Cannabist dispensary in Deptford submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that ultimately led to the recent successful vote to organize. In contrast, The Botanist, which had signed on to a state-required Labor Peace Agreement, allowed employees to organize directly with the UFCW and maintained a neutral position throughout the organizing and voting process.
Workers at both companies made the decision to organize to ensure their rights are protected and acknowledged as their fast-growing industry continues to evolve and expand. Union membership also gives employees an important voice in setting and maintaining operating and management standards.
“Across the cannabis industry, a new generation of workers is discovering that labor unions play a critical role in properly balancing the needs of employees, local communities and employers,” said Sam Ferraino, Jr., UFCW Local 360 president. “These votes are a declaration of confidence in what is still a young industry. Workers are telling employers that they are committed to high operating standards, long-term growth and success, and a diverse and skilled workforce supported by good working conditions.”
Columbia Care’s Cannabist dispensary in Deptford is the company’s first U.S. location to unionize. Columbia Care is currently licensed in 18 U.S. jurisdictions and bills itself as one of the largest and most experienced cultivators, manufacturers and providers of cannabis products and services in the nation. In March 2022, it announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by Cresco Labs before the end of the year.
The Botanist, a brand of Acreage Holdings, operates dispensaries for both the Medical Patient and Adult-Use markets. It has 17 dispensary locations spread across five states, including its New Jersey sites in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City and Williamstown. The Botanist describes itself as providing “an immersive, educational hub for people who aspire to live a balanced and socially responsible lifestyle … Our retail locations set the gold standard for cannabis dispensaries nationwide.”
“Wherever cannabis is legalized, UFCW is committed to building a successful, responsible industry,” said Hugh Giordano, UFCW Local 360’s director of organizing. “Every vote to unionize represents workers saying they want to be part of something special and they are here for the long-haul. The most successful employers will hear this message and embrace its implications.”
From seed to sale, UFCW is a recognized leader in organizing cannabis industry employees and is the official AFL-CIO designated cannabis labor union. Representing tens of thousands of cannabis workers in dispensaries, labs, delivery, manufacturing, processing, grow facilities and more, UFCW works with employees and business owners to achieve the shared goal of a regulated cannabis industry that delivers family-sustaining jobs and is focused on social equity.
About United Food and Commercial Workers: The UFCW International Union represents over 1.3 million hardworking families across the U.S. and Canada. These members work in essential industries such as Retail, Warehousing, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Transportation, the Public Sector and Cannabis.