Missouri Dispensary Agrees to $145k Settlement With Union

Shangri-La will have to reinstate five employees and pay severance to another five.

Missouri marijuana shop Shangri-La has agreed to a $145,000 settlement with a labor union that represents 10 workers fired earlier this year, allegedly in retaliation for attempting to unionize.

The deal between Point Management – the registered name of Shangri-La – and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 calls for the reinstatement of five terminated employees and severance pay for five others who chose not to return to the store, according to a statement from the National Labor Relations Board.

The deal follows a picket line at the shop in May when several employees walked in protest in front of Shangri-La. That followed an organizing drive in March, which was the root cause of several employees being terminated, according to the NLRB release, though Shangri-La owners denied earlier this year that any employees were fired for attempting to unionize.

The UFCW filed 15 unfair labor practice complaints with the NLRB, a move that is becoming increasingly more common in the cannabis industry during business-labor disputes. That ultimately led to the settlement just days before a scheduled trial at the end of October.

Under the NLRB-approved settlement, Shangr-La must:

  • Provide back pay to all 10 terminated employees.
  • Reinstate five employees and pay severance to the other five.
  • Pay damages to an employee who took out a high interest loan as a result of being terminated.
  • Alter the employee handbook, read remedial notices during employee shifts, and share other notices with employees via WhatsApp.
  • Recognize and bargain with the UFCW.

The settlement is a “historic win,” UFCW Local 655 President Dave Cook told ABC 17 News. Cook said it’s rare that such settlements reach the size of this one, with the terminated employees each expected to receive between $6,000 and $18,000.

The five employees who chose not to return to work will each get an added $5,000, ABC 17 News reported.

The settlement is another indicator of organized labor’s growing presence in the cannabis industry. Aside from the picket line at Shangri-La, multistate operators, such as Green Thumb Industries, Curaleaf, and Trulieve, have been targeted by either the UFCW or the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in various unfair labor practice complaints. Some also have had strikes at dispensaries or grows.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.

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