Unionizing is still a new concept for the cannabis industry, but it makes a lot of sense with the way things are being run so far. Since the new industry is grassroots and mom-and-pop, it follows that collectives and other organizations also want to respect worker’s rights. South Coast Safe Access just became the first collective in Orange County to unionize, and is paving the way for many more to do the same.
According to a recent article for the Los Angeles Times, South Coast Safe Access is now a part of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 324 (UFCW 324). All 20 employees of the Santa Ana store will now have union membership under the new agreement.
The new regulations outline that all employees must be paid at least $13.50 an hour, and that all employees will receive medical benefits and have the option of opening up a 401K.
“Employees interact with the patients in determining their needs and working on a sensible prescription for what their needs are,” Rick Eiden, executive vice president of UFCW 324, told the Los Angeles Times. “[Unionizing] really coincides with the work we’ve done in the retail drug industry.”
Eiden also explained that he is talking to other dispensaries about unionizing, and feels that by doing so, organizations that choose to join unions are helping to make the industry appear more legitimate. So far, 26 dispensaries in L.A. have chosen to unionize. In addition to helping the cannabis industry, the unions will get a boost from having added members.
“Here in California, we’ve maintained our numbers in the labor movement,” Eiden added. “But we haven’t seen large numbers of growth in decades.”
This new trend is bound to benefit everyone involved, and will hopefully catch on across the nation as more legal businesses get interested in taking their stores even further.