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Workers demand better wages, retirement security

Cannabis Teamsters strike three dispensaries on eve of 4/20

Workers at three Rise dispensaries (a subsidiary of Green Thumb Industries) in Chicagoland left the job yesterday at 4:20 p.m. CT to begin an open-ended unfair labor practice (ULP) strike.

The strike was precipitated by the company demanding that workers at the Niles location remove pro-union buttons while they were on the job, a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

"The company's demand that the workers remove their pins is part of a broader pattern of disrespect to their workforce," said Jim Glimco, Local 777 President. "GTI is refusing to offer these men and women wages commensurate with the cost of living or retirement package that is acceptable for Teamsters. It's far past time this company recognizes the people responsible for all of the success it's had."

This is the first time in the history of Illinois – and one of the first times in American history – that three cannabis dispensaries under the same company umbrella have gone on strike at the same time.

"These workers deserve prosperous, middle-class careers, and they're willing to fight for it," said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Food Processing Division Director. "They aren't walking off the job by themselves. They're walking onto that picket line as one unified front, with the backing of more than 1.2 million Teamsters throughout North America."

"We're focused on creating a high-quality career here, and we need a wage that reflects how valuable we are," said Reilly Drew, a patient care specialist at the Rise Niles dispensary. "People think of advancing as moving up the ladder, but in this situation, it's about raising the whole floor up for everyone. We want to make this a prosperous industry because it's a profitable industry."

"The forceful removal of these buttons shows us how GTI feels about our movement and how little they care about us as workers," said Julie Evans, a patient care specialist at the Rise Rock Creek Boulevard dispensary in Joliet. "I feel that it is extremely unfair, disrespectful, and rude that Niles was forced to remove their insignias while other stores were not. I stand with my fellow Teamsters in solidarity against this unfair labor practice."

"I voted to strike in solidarity with my Rise coworkers over the baseless and uninformed removal of the union button, which was intended to reduce representation in our stores," said Brandon Basil, a patient care specialist at the Colorado Street Rise dispensary in Joliet. "We'll fight for a fair contract with more to offer for our incredibly hardworking brothers and sisters in the cannabis industry, including a living wage!"

The ULP strike will continue through today and until further notice.

For more information:
Teamsters Local 777 

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