Labor unions emerged in the American workforce as a result of a 1768 strike among New York journeymen tailors who were protesting a wage reduction.
Unionization has several pros like mediating better wages, benefits etc., and cons such as members having to pay dues or fees and dividing a workforce into union v. nonunion.
Over the past several decades, unionization has entered a variety of industries from education to labor forces and is emerging in the marijuana industry.
The Emerging Opportunity to Unionize
With more and more states legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana, legal dispensaries are emerging in several cities. This means more laborers in the industry and a huge opportunity for unionization.
There are several additional reasons why the unionization of this industry is gaining traction, including:
- Growing concerns over employees’ health and safety at work amid COVID-19
- Increased number of states requiring labor peace agreements
- It is a growing industry, making it more attractive to unions than others that are declining
However, one of the driving forces behind the initiative to unionize the marijuana industry is coming from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). While some believe there is an opportunity for the industry and the labor force to form a peaceful partnership and coexistence, there are several potential pitfalls as well.
For example, unionization could lead to more costly workers and less company administrative flexibility with scheduling.
“The industry’s increasing legitimacy at the state level has attracted a diverse set of corporate players, union advocates, personal-use supporters and social-justice activists, reflecting the industry’s widening base even if its participants are sometimes at odds with each other.
Curaleaf, one of the country’s largest cannabis operations by revenue, hired as its lead lobbyist Edward Conklin, who formerly oversaw state and federal government affairs for McDonald’s Corp. A self-described suit-tie-and-cufflinks guy, Mr. Conklin said he raised eyebrows when he first set foot in congressional and Senate offices about four years ago.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which says it already represents more than 10,000 cannabis workers including at dispensaries and cultivation facilities, has worked labor provisions into many latest state legalization efforts.” – The Wall Street Journal
Every industry should work to achieve and maintain a healthy and safe workforce. Whether it is designing corporate wellness programs or return to work COVID-19 strategies and testing, we can help.
NMS is a global third-party administrator of employment screening and compliance services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.