This past month, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) took a big step forward in its efforts to unionize cannabis employees.

On May 25, 2021, UFCW announced an agreement to unionize the entire workforce of Union Harvest and Nature’s Root Labs.  Nature’s Root Labs is the manufacturer for Union Harvest.  This agreement encompasses workers in production, packaging, purchasing, sales and worker/customer education. It spans two states, covering workers in Colorado and Florida, which UFCW trumpeted as the “first-ever national agreement” unionizing cannabis workers.

This agreement could pave the way for cannabis workers in companies with multiple locations in multiple states to unionize; a unionization strategy that could particularly affect CBD companies because CBD is legal nationwide.

Far from an isolated success, this is only one in a number of successful unionization efforts by UFCW in recent months.

  • On April 20th, cannabis workers for Ascend Dispensary in Springfield, Illinois voted to unionize. They are the fourth group of cannabis workers in Illinois to unionize.
  • In early May, workers in three dispensaries in the San Diego cannabis chain March and Ash voted to approve a union contract. This result occurred after 2 years of organizing by UFCW.  It encompasses more than 140 workers and the San Diego Union Tribune reported that the vote was over 90% in favor of unionization.
  • And on June 3rd, UFCW announced that cannabis workers at Green Farmers LLC in Pueblo, Colorado voted to join UFCW Local 7.

After fits and starts in UFCW’s initial unionization efforts, it is clear that momentum is on their side.  As we previously wrote, the cannabis industry had less union participation than other industries, and seemed poised to see an increase in its unionization rate.  It appears this is already coming to fruition.