Rhode Island Cannabis Workers Go Union

Cannabis workers in Rhode Island voted to unionize and joined the local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 328 union, which represents 11,000 workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The staff at the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth were the first unionized cannabis pharmacy workers in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is currently only legal for medical cannabis.

Greenleaf Cannabis Workers in Portsmouth issued a joint statement saying, “We hope that by demonstrating our continued commitment to the organization as workers, we can create a form of sustainable change within Greenleaf that gives us better job security and more space actually be heard. We are proud to be part of the greater momentum workers are seeing in union formation in the cannabis industry. “

Photo by FatCamera / Getty Images

The newly unionized Rhode Island Greenleaf cannabis workers include budget tenders, key holders, online team members, and delivery people. The union said in a statement that despite the company’s attempts to combat union formation, such as hiring union advisors outside of the state, Greenleaf workers still voted to form a union. The group gave several reasons why they decided to vote for a union.

Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • Greenleaf’s sudden abolition of the employee incentive program

  • Significant reduction in employee benefits

  • Lack of decision-making authority on the part of the employee

  • Management’s failure to listen to employees’ concerns has been captured

  • The goal of a just future in the fast growing cannabis industry in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island cannabis industry is projected to generate tax revenue of $ 1.7 million in fiscal 2022 and tax revenue of $ 16.9 million in 2023.

Sam Marvin, UFCW Local 328 Organizational Director: “We’re so proud of the incredible team at Greenleaf that is sticking together. Every day, they add value to their patients and our communities. We look forward to working with them to build the brighter future they all deserve. “

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Reclaim RI issued the following statement: “Reclaim RI believes that worker equity should be at the heart of the legalization process. The right of workers to organize and bargain collectively is a key element of this vision. We support Greenleaf workers in their organizational efforts and urge them to vote yes for union representation and a voice at work! “

Greenleaf is now the second unionized cannabis company in Rhode Island and the first compassion center. UFCW Local 328 currently represents cultivation workers at the Ocean State Cultivation Center in Warwick, Rhode Island, who unanimously ratified their first union agreement in October 2020. Rhode Island will add six new compassionate centers to its medical marijuana program in legalizing adult recreational use, the efforts of Greenleaf staff and UFCW Local 328 should serve as an example of how to guarantee justice and opportunity to workers in this area.

This article originally appeared in the Green Market Report and was republished with permission.

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