US (NY): Cannabis workers at Orange County-based cultivation and processing facility ratify new union contract

Local 338 Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union (RWDSU)/United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced that workers at PharmaCann, which operates as Verilife in New York, have ratified a new three-year union contract. The bargaining unit covers approximately sixty workers who work at the company’s cultivation and processing facility in Orange County.

“I’ve worked for PharmaCann for over three years. Joining Local 338 has been beneficial for me, as well as my coworkers. There are awesome perks and benefits such as ratification bonuses, zero cost to members healthcare, and annual raises. While the cannabis industry is rapidly growing in New York, our union has kept us growing in the company and personally,” said Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member Alycesyn Siler, a production tech at PharmaCann.

“We have competitive starting rates, raises for established employees, bonuses, and a more flexible PTO system with more days. The addition of the 401k match gives us a great tool to help us invest for retirement,” said Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member Kevin Gilmartin, who has worked at PharmaCann for two years as a cultivation tech.

“Our members are dedicated to ensuring that New York’s medical cannabis patients are able to access safe and quality products. They work hard for PharmaCann and proved that to the company at the negotiating table. With strong starting salaries for new hires, wage increases for current workers, and improved benefits for workers and their families, this contract continues to set a standard for not just careers at PharmaCann, but also what we should be creating in New York’s emerging cannabis industry.” said Joseph Fontano, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW.

The PharmaCann contract was ratified by the members of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW after months of negotiations. The contract will be in effect for three years and includes critical wage and benefits enhancements, including:

  • Annual wage increases and milestone bonuses over the term of the contract. The hourly rate of pay for members will increase an $1.25 per hour in the first year and 3.75% in the second and third year of the agreement.  
  • The union secured language in the contract that significantly increases the minimum starting rate for all new hires.
  • Workers will receive additional paid time off and two new paid holidays.
  • The company will provide workers with an increase to their annuity benefit, as well as a new 401K matching program to ensure access to retirement security. 

Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW represents approximately 500 workers at seven medical cannabis companies in New York State who are employed across the industry’s supply chain. The union will be entering into contract negotiations with PharmaCann on behalf of the workers at the company’s four dispensaries next month. PharmaCann is a multi-state cannabis company currently licensed to operate in seven states.


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