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November 25, 2019

UFCW: Consumer and Worker Protections Must Be Top Priority for Northeast Governors in Cannabis Framework

Union Representing Cannabis Workers Calls for Regional Framework to Prioritize Labor Peace Agreements that Support Good Jobs, Consumer Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union is calling for consumer and worker protections to be a top priority for Governors Andrew Cuomo (New York), Ned Lamont (Connecticut), Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), and Charlie Baker (Massachusetts) in their states’ new joint framework on cannabis.

In a letter to these governors, UFCW called the agreement an important first step to strengthen the cannabis industry and support good jobs, but also emphasized the need to invest in high standards that put consumers and workers first. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s cannabis industry has the power to create thousands of good jobs that support hardworking families and the communities they serve. But we can only achieve this with strong labor peace agreements that set high standards that reward responsible businesses, strengthen worker voices, and put consumer safety first. We urge these governors to make this a centerpiece of their cannabis framework as they continue to invest in the future of our economy.”

BACKGROUND

In the letter to Northeast governors, UFCW emphasized the importance of labor peace agreements. A labor peace agreement is a written and mutually agreed-upon document between a labor union and an employer, typically one that is licensed to operate in a regulated industry by a state or local government.

  • Labor peace agreements strengthen business stability and support a healthy workplace
  • Unions and their members typically agree to refrain from engaging in strikes, boycotts, picketing and any other interference in the employer’s business.
  • Employers, in return, agree to not interfere with efforts by the labor union to communicate with, and attempt to organize and represent, the employer’s workers.
  • These agreements generally require the employer, including management and supervisory staff, to agree to remain neutral regarding unions and their representation of the workforce.

Labor peace agreements do not equate to mandatory unionization and do not impose a union contract. In fact, union organizing must still take place at the worksite. And negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the business only begin after a majority of workers elect to join the union. Ultimately, labor peace agreements provide an additional safeguard for workers and strengthen the businesses that agree to them.

Both New York and New Jersey already have labor peace agreements in place for medical cannabis businesses.

This week’s letter is signed by the following labor leaders:

  • UFCW International President Marc Perrone – Washington, D.C.
  • Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum – New York, NY
  • UFCW International Vice President and Region 1 Director David Young – Little Falls, NJ
  • UFCW Local 152 President Brian String – Egg Harbor Township, NJ
  • UFCW Local 328 President Timothy Melia – Providence, RI
  • RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 President Jon Durso – Mineola, NY
  • UFCW Local 360 President Salvatore “Sam” Ferraino – West Berlin, NJ
  • UFCW Local 371 President Thomas Wilkinson – Westport, CT
  • UFCW Local 919 President Mark Espinosa – Farmington, CT
  • UFCW Local 1445 President Jeffrey Bollen – Dedham, MA
  • UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey – Springfield, MA
  • UFCW Local 1776KS President Wendell Young – Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • RWDSU New York City Director Dave Mertz – New York, NY

Since 2010, the UFCW has been a leader in the cannabis industry and currently represents thousands of cannabis workers in 12 states around the country. The UFCW represents more than 300,000 workers across a wide range of industries in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org