There are few goals more difficult to accomplish than successfully organizing a union. The process can be long and arduous. Many workers are afraid to exercise their rights, and companies will spend six or seven-figure sums breaking a union drive as soon as they get wind of it without blinking an eye. When the Teamsters launched a national organizing campaign in the cannabis industry last year, it was a risky endeavor.
“We knew that organizing a nascent industry like cannabis would be hard, but that doesn’t bother us,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters National Food Processing Director. “Usually, the things in life that are the most worthwhile are also the most difficult.”
After only a year, cannabis organizing has proven to be an incredibly successful undertaking. Nearly 500 workers in over a dozen facilities – including dispensaries, growth operations, and distributors – have voted to join the Teamsters since May 2021, and if the past is prologue, thousands more are yet to come.
Gaining equity through union power
The cannabis industry has exploded in a very short time – ten years ago, Colorado and Washington had both just voted to become the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis. Now it’s legal recreationally in 18 states and the District of Columbia, with more on the way. Not only that, but it’s an industry worth over $25 billion annually. With all of the money being made on cannabis, the workers responsible for its success knew they needed the strongest union in North America to ensure they got a piece of the pie.
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