Workers at Cresco Labs in Joliet voted in an election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, to be represented by Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). The overwhelming majority of the employees made history by becoming the first Cannabis workers to win an election in Illinois and will join with the 34,000 other Local 881 members across the state.
“Congratulations to the new Local 881 members at Cresco in Joliet who have set a positive example ‒ for the entire state of Illinois and the cannabis industry at large ‒ of what can happen when workers come together to improve their working conditions,” said Steve Powell Local 881 President and UFCW International Vice President. “It takes strong resolve on the part of workers to stand up and demand a real voice on the job. Our Union is proud of these workers and looks forward to standing with them to negotiate and demand a fair and just contract that will improve their working conditions.”
This election is precedent setting for the entire Illinois Cannabis industry. With only two weeks into the legalization of cannabis in Illinois, the Cresco workers are sending a message that the cannabis industry lives up to the promises it made to the communities when it lobbied for their support. The intent of the Illinois recreational legislation was clear; to have good, well-paying Union jobs in the industry. With a Union contract. cannabis jobs can be family and community supporting careers with good wages, pensions, healthcare coverage, and dignity in the workplace.
The workers were supported throughout the organizing campaign by both Congressmen Foster and Kelly, numerous local legislators and religious, labor, and community organizations. The workers were specifically encouraged by a supportive tweet from Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. As comments of solidarity from supporters around the country flowed in, the workers resolve increased. “Unions give us a way to be represented as a collective, to give everyone a voice. They help us to be heard by the big wigs of corporations. Every employee is treated fairly, and you don’t have to 'know someone' to get ahead,” said Jaclyn Taylor, a Cresco employee and Union supporter.
“Our commitment to the Cresco workers in Joliet is unwavering and we are here to fight to ensure that their rights and dignity are respected in the workplace,” said Moises Zavala, Local 881 UFCW’s Director of Organizing. “We want to see the standards and expectations of jobs in the Illinois cannabis industry raised and the working conditions improved for all cannabis workers.”
For more information:
Local 881 UFCW
1350 E. Touhy Avenue, Suite 300E
Des Plaines, IL 60018