Cannabis dispensary employees in Manistee, Mich., a Lake Michigan coast city in the northwest part of the state, unionized earlier this month with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 876.
The organized workers at the Authentic 231 retail facility in Manistee operate under vertically integrated cannabis company Left Coast Holdings (Heritage Farms), which owns multiple dispensaries throughout the state.
Left Coast ownership initiated the unionization, according to a UFCW press release.
Local 876 President Dan Pedersen said the Authentic 231 workers represent the first cannabis dispensary in the state to organize.
“UFCW 876 looks forward to building a strong relationship with both owners and workers of Authentic 231, in providing job guarantees and protections to this rapidly growing industry,” Pedersen said in the release. “It is UFCW 876’s goal this effort serves as a model for sustaining unionizing efforts, by building stronger communities with stronger jobs.”
Left Coast ownership served as the facilitator in seeking a union for its employees, as well as the development of a Labor Peace Agreement to extend the upcoming bargaining agreement for all locations, according to UFCW.
“We as an ownership group share a lot of the same values as UFCW 876, so it was a natural decision to promote the unionization of our retail assets,” Left Coast CEO William McKenzie said in the press release. “It’s an exciting time to be in the cannabis industry, and we’re excited to help the UFCW expand their fight for workers’ rights into this burgeoning space. We see our pro-union stance as a great benefit in a state like Michigan.”
There are more than 42,000 UFCW members in Michigan and over 1.3 million UFCW members nationwide.