Unions Make Cannabis Industry Gains in Illinois, Utah

The unions show no signs of slowing recruitment efforts in the cannabis industry.

Organized labor announced yet more unionization victories this week at marijuana businesses in Illinois and Utah.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 777 secured tentative employee contracts at five Chicago-area Sunnyside-branded dispensaries run by multistate operator Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) (OTC: CRLBF), and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99 won an employee election at Dragonfly Wellness Cannabis in Salt Lake City, according to press releases.

The Teamsters negotiated employment contracts for workers at Sunnyside dispensaries in Buffalo Grove, Elmwood Park, Rockford, South Beloit, and Schaumburg, which include, among other things:

  • An end to at-will employment
  • The right to representation during disciplinary matters
  • Seniority-based scheduling
  • Paid meal and rest breaks
  • Paid time off
  • Paid holidays
  • 15% wage increases

“Two years ago, we didn’t have any cannabis workers under a collective bargaining agreement. Including these agreements, we have more than 15 contracts throughout the industry,” Jim Glimco, Teamsters Local 777 president, said in a statement.

The UFCW, meanwhile, celebrated its latest recruits in Salt Lake City, where the election was won by a 19-4 vote, according to a union spokesman. The dispensary is the first cannabis business in Utah to unionize, the spokesman said.

In a press release, Dragonfly employee Kimberly Mason remarked, “We look forward to our next fight for a union contract that actually reflects the hard work and value we bring to the job every day. We formed this union to ensure workers get the wages, benefits, and respect on the job that we deserve.”

Both unions have been organizing across the national marijuana industry for years, and have made significant inroads with workers, with no signs of letting up the furious pace of recruiting.

The UFCW and Teamsters also both repeatedly butted heads with large multistate operators such as Curaleaf and Green Thumb Industries, which both saw union-led strikes this year at some of their facilities.

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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