A group of budtenders who voted in October to organize at the Solar Therapeutics cannabis dispensary in Somerset, Mass., unanimously ratified their first union contract March 21.
The contract comes roughly five months after the cannabis retail workers voted, 10-4, to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 328, which represents roughly 11,000 workers in a variety of industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The ratified contract includes a three-year agreement with a focus on gaining full-time opportunities, improving benefits, raising wages and securing workplace protections.
Andrea Areias Nooth, a budtender at the Somerset location, served as a member of the worker negotiating committee.
“I am truly proud of my co-workers for working together to get this done as we help shape the future of the cannabis industry,” Nooth said in a Local 328 press release. “The work put in to get to this point was definitely worth it, and I know this momentum will continue with other dispensaries around the country as this industry grows. Never be afraid to stand up for what you deserve.”
According to Local 328, the three-year deal includes:
- Guaranteed wage increases
- Higher starting rates
- Improvements in paid sick leave and paid vacations
- Pathway to full-time employment
- Robust grievance procedure and workplace protections
- Improvement in paid breaks
- Improvement in paid holidays
- Protected time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays
- Clothing allowance
- Newly established 401(k) plan
- Improvement in employee discounts
UFCW Local 328 Director of Organizing Sam Marvin congratulated the Solar Therapeutics team members on approving an agreement he said secures important gains and strengthens their futures at the company.
“By standing together, they were able to achieve this victory,” he said in the Local 328 release. “Additionally, we recognize Solar Therapeutics for negotiating in good faith, listening to their employees and reaching an equitable agreement in a short timeframe.”
Local 328 also has worked alongside cannabis workers and their organization efforts at the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth, R.I., Ocean State Cultivation Center in Warwick, R.I., Cresco Labs’ Sunnyside dispensary in Fall River, Mass., and Curaleaf’s medical cannabis dispensary in Hanover, Mass.