The landscape of Connecticut’s cannabis industry is experiencing a significant shift towards greater worker empowerment and fair labor practices. Recent developments reveal a growing trend of employees at cannabis cultivation facilities recognizing the value of joining unions to secure their rights and voice in the workplace.
In a landmark move, workers at CTPharma, the state’s largest cannabis cultivation facility based in Rocky Hill, have joined forces with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 919. This marks the second instance of cannabis cultivation facility employees unionizing in Connecticut. Earlier, employees at Advanced Grow Labs made history by becoming the first cannabis cultivation workers in the state to form a union under the same UFCW Local 919.
Owned by Verano, a prominent cannabis company headquartered in Illinois, CTPharma’s employees are sending a strong message about their commitment to workplace equity and fair treatment. Over 70 workers at the Rocky Hill facility voted to join the union, and the subsequent contract ratification demonstrates their dedication to shaping a more equitable industry.
UFCW Director of Organizing, Emily Sabo, emphasized the significance of these unions, stating that workers seek to ensure their voices matter in an industry that’s undergoing transformative changes, including automation. The drive behind this movement is the desire to establish workplace protections, foster open conversations, and engage with employers to address the evolving dynamics of the cannabis sector.
Connecticut law mandates cannabis business licensees to establish labor peace agreements. While this doesn’t guarantee union formation, it creates an environment of neutrality and fairness, allowing workers to express their desire for unionization without disruptions. The labor peace agreement also requires unions and workers to refrain from activities such as picketing and strikes, promoting a harmonious relationship between employers and employees.
The UFCW union encompasses workers from all facets of the CTPharma facility, illustrating a collective determination to ensure every employee’s concerns and needs are addressed. This trend towards unionization within Connecticut’s cannabis industry reflects a broader movement across various sectors, highlighting the growing emphasis on worker empowerment and the pursuit of just and equitable workplaces.
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, the voices of its workers are becoming increasingly vital in shaping its future trajectory. The unionization trend seen in Connecticut not only sets a precedent for other states but also emphasizes the industry’s commitment to inclusivity, fair treatment, and a more equitable future for all stakeholders involved.