Have a Heart, UFCW 21 Forge Washington State’s First Adult-Use Cannabis Union Contract

WASHINGTON: Have a Heart and the UFCW 21 today signed Washington state’s first collective bargaining agreement between the union and an adult-use cannabis retailer.

“This relationship is quite unusual, in a very positive sense,” said Todd Crosby, UFCW 21 President. “It’s rare for an employer and their employees to reach a first contract so quickly and one that is so promising for current and future employees. These partnerships strengthen individuals, families and communities – and lead to superior service for customers.”

Screenshot 2018-08-26 08.27.35

Ryan Kunkel, CEO of Have a Heart, said his company is proud that its agreements with UFCW 21 emphasize equal pay and fair treatment in the workplace regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or cultural background.

“At Have a Heart, we believe in ‘doing good,’” Kunkel said. “We consistently strive to have a positive impact in the neighborhoods where we do business, and we see our partnership with UFCW 21 as part of our commitment to creating a safe and empowering workplace.”

Under this agreement, 134 current – and countless future – Have a Heart employees will receive above-average compensation for the industry, comprehensive health and welfare coverage and other benefits, including trainings, mentoring programs and staff-development opportunities. As a fast-growing part of Washington’s burgeoning cannabis industry, Have a Heart expects to generate even more family-wage jobs, along with other economic and health advantages.

Last year, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) found that more than 10,000 people were employed by legal cannabis businesses in 2016, and legal cannabis businesses paid almost $300 million in wages during the industry’s first two and a half years.

Lawyers Afraid To Defend New Jersey Medical Marijuana Dispensary

NEW JERSEY:   The co-founder of the medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township will appear in court Wednesday to dispute claims he blocked his employees’ attempts to join a union in a case that is being watched across the nation. 

And this isn’t even David Knowlton’s biggest problem.

Knowlton, board chairman of the nonprofit Compassionate Care Foundation dispensary, is not a lawyer, and he can’t find one to represent him before the National Labor Relations Board. State law created a medicinal marijuana program, but to the federal government, growing and possessing marijuana remain illegal activities. Rules of professional conduct say attorneys cannot advise or assist their clients engage in “conduct a lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent.”

Growing Pains: Labor Strife At S. Jersey Medical Marijuana Clinic

NEW JERSEY:  All is not well at South Jersey’s only medical marijuana dispensary, a business outside Atlantic City that has experienced a wave of setbacks.

The workers who nurture and sell Cherry Berry, Pineapple Chunk, and other cannabis strains at the Compassionate Care Foundation facility are preparing for a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board, after a majority said their attempt to join a union was blocked by their employer.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152 says a majority of the 11 growers and dispensary employees who work at the facility in Egg Harbor Township also filed unfair labor practices charges last month with the NLRB, saying Compassionate Care retaliated by lowering their wages and altering their hours. They earn between $12 and $25 an hour, said Local 152, which represents 14,000 South Jersey workers and is based in Mays Landing.

Brian String, president of Local 152, said the dispensary has used “tricks from the usual antiunion play book” to deny the workers the right to organize, and reclassified employees as “agricultural workers” or “supervisors” who are exempt from the National Labor Relations Act.

 

 

Union Gripe Brings Federal Labor Agency Into Marijuana Debate For First Time

MAINE:  The federal government’s latest mixed signal on pot stems from Maine, where a medical marijuana dispensary has settled charges alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act and the rights of its employees.

The National Labor Relations Board agreed to hear claims of union-busting at the Wellness Connection of Maine, and although the case was settled first, the board’s willingness to hear it was yet another tacit acknowledgement of the industry’s legitimacy. Although the federal government considers pot illegal, whether for recreational or medical use, new state laws legalizing it have forced federal authorities to address a variety of conflicts. Notably, the Justice Department has agreed to help banks — barred by money laundering statutes from working with drug dealers — find a way to do business with marijuana merchants in Colorado and Washington. [Read more…]