Local 338 - Ensuring That Cannabis Jobs are Good Jobs
New York’s Cannabis Workers Join Local 338 RWDSU
Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW is proud to represent workers across New York State who work across the cannabis industry’s entire supply chain, including cultivation, manufacturing and processing, distribution, and in dispensaries. Local 338 cannabis members work at Be., The Botanist, Sunnyside, Curaleaf, Rise Cannabis, MedMen, Verilife, and Vireo Health. Our members are proud to work in the cannabis industry and are incredibly passionate about their work – putting patients and consumers at the forefront from seed to sale.
Since New York’s medical cannabis program officially launched in 2015, Local 338 has been successfully engaged in organizing efforts to ensure that the jobs in this new industry set a standard for what cannabis careers can and should be, by providing family sustaining wages and benefits. We have negotiated union contracts that provide our members in the cannabis industry with guaranteed wage increases, full-time guarantees, paid time off, premium healthcare benefits (paid for by the employer) for workers and their families, access to retirement savings and on-the-job training, amongst other invaluable workplace protections.
We recognize that most New Yorkers who will be entering the cannabis industry – both medical and recreational – as workers and that’s why we believe in good cannabis jobs and careers. It is essential that union contracts and the high road employment that we’ve helped to create are open and accessible to all, particularly to communities most impacted by the prohibition of cannabis.
Check out this recent report by the Economic Policy Institute highlighting the union difference in the cannabis industry for workers:
Our History Advocating for New York’s Cannabis Laws
In order to better understand the needs and issues of the cannabis industry and its workforce, representatives from Local 338 have been working with leaders, scientists, advocates and workers from across the cannabis industry since before the passage of the Compassionate Care Act in 2014. We helped craft and advocate for the Compassionate Care Act to serve New York’s cannabis patients and their families, and along the way have positioned ourselves as a partner for New York’s cannabis workers.
Local 338 spent the years following the passage of the Compassionate Care Act advocating to expand patient access to the medical cannabis program and pushing for the full legalization of adult-use cannabis, including critical policies and programs that support social and economic justice. With the help of our member activists working in the cannabis industry, who spent time in Albany speaking directly with lawmakers about the opportunities cannabis legalization would bring to New Yorkers, the New York State Legislature passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation (Act) (MRTA) on March 30, 2021. We now look forward to working with New York State and the Office of Cannabis Management to develop the regulations needed to ensure the creation of thousands of quality union cannabis jobs and maximize social equity programs in our state.
Vireo Health | Rebeca Calkins
Vireo Health Local 338
Members In the grow
CuraLeaf | Katie Serdula
The MRTA – New York’s cannabis law - created the framework for New York’s cannabis industry and includes clear protections for working people, with opportunities for communities to thrive whether they want to enter it as a worker or entrepreneur. When we fought for this legislation, we knew that it had to serve all communities across New York, which is why we helped secure a social equity and community reinvestment fund and criminal justice reforms for workers by sealing and expunging conviction histories. New York’s cannabis industry is one that will benefit all working people, regardless of their background.
In addition to advocating for the legalization of adult-use cannabis and creating equity through job opportunities, we have been focusing on workforce development in the cannabis industry. Our goal is to ensure new workers in the industry are well-trained and first-time cannabis business owners have the resources they need to succeed and grow.
MedMen | Murugan Naidu
Are you a cannabis worker? Interested in becoming a UNION cannabis worker?
Local 338 has played a key part in setting the standard for jobs in this emerging industry for what cannabis careers can and should be. Our collective bargaining agreements provide our members with family-sustaining wages and benefits, guaranteed wage increases, full-time guarantees, paid time off, premium healthcare benefits (which are paid for by the employer) for workers and their families, access to retirement savings and on-the-job training, amongst other invaluable workplace protections.
All workers in New York’s cannabis industry should be given the same benefits and protections as the ones we secure in our contracts—however, it is not guaranteed in nonunion workplaces. When you have a union in your workplace, you have people who will support you and fight to make sure you receive basic protections such as paid time off, health insurance and guaranteed wage increases.
MedMen | Jessica Nosowicz
Vireo Health | Ethan Hayes
PharmaCann | Sara Liles
Vireo Health | Alon Tov
MedMen | Suzanne Kuczka & Jamie Levergood
CuraLeaf | Zeion Porter
Are You Applying for a License or Need Information on Labor Peace Agreements?
Labor peace agreements (LPAs) were included in the statute of the MRTA as a requirement when applying for all of the cannabis licenses regardless of the size of the business/how many workers will be employed and are also an ongoing condition of licensure after it has been awarded. A labor peace agreement (LPA) is a written and mutually agreed-upon document between a labor union and an employer, typically one that is licensed to operate in a regulated industry by a state or local government. LPAs do the following:
• Labor peace agreements strengthen business stability and support a healthy workplace
• Unions and their members agree to refrain from engaging in strikes, boycotts, picketing and any other interference in the employer’s business.
• Employers, in return, agree to not interfere with efforts by the labor union to communicate with, and attempt to organize and represent, the employer’s workers.
• These agreements generally require the employer, including management and supervisory staff, to agree to remain neutral regarding unions and their representation of the workforce.
CuraLeaf | Devin Friedland
PharmaCann | Karly Shanahan
Vireo Health | Brian Fredericks
Citiva | Cassandra Reustle
Vireo Health | Dominique Alexandre
There are several myths about LPAs, what they’re not, and how they impact potential businesses:
• Labor peace agreements do not equate to mandatory unionization and do not impose a union contract. In fact, union organizing must still take place at the worksite. And negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the business only begin after a majority of workers elect to join the union. Ultimately, labor peace agreements provide an additional safeguard for workers and strengthen the businesses that agree to them.
• Labor peace agreements do not impose hiring standards or requirements. Companies have sole discretion as to who they chose to employ.
• LPAs and unions will not have a negative impact on small businesses and social equity licensees. Local 338 has a strong history of representing the workers employed by New York-based small businesses in a variety of different industries. We currently have union contracts with two dozen entities that employ less than 20 workers and include owners who are women and people of color. A majority of these businesses have also been under a union contract for over 20 years. Local 338 also represents workers at businesses that opened with only a handful of workers at one or two locations and have expanded both the number of worksites that they own and operate, as well as the number of people they employ - all with a union contract in place. We recognize the valuable role that small businesses play in our communities. As a result, while discussions around collective bargaining agreements prioritize improving wages, benefits and working conditions for workers, we also take into account that these businesses must remain sustainable long term, regardless of what industry they’re in.