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.