Nursing Home Workers Vote for a Voice on the Job with Local 1625

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Last week, 12 workers in the dietary department at the Woodland Grove Health and Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville, Fla., voted overwhelmingly to join UFCW Local 1625 for a voice on the job. Local 1625 represents over 100 health care facilities in Florida.

“We were tired of the favoritism when it came to raises and working conditions,” said Sha Terri Frazer, a dietary worker. “Only until we reached out to the union did management start talking to us about the problems.”

A few days before the victory at the Woodland Grove Health and Rehabilitation Center, 105 workers at Lanier Terrace, another nursing home in Jacksonville, were granted recognition to be represented by Local 1625.

“Every time a non-union nursing home chooses to be represented by Local 1625, we increase our bargaining power for the whole industry throughout Florida,” said UFCW Local 1625 President Ed Chambers. “We have been able to directly correlate union density in the health care field with improved wages, benefits, and working conditions. Over half of our unionized nursing homes are now participating in union benefit plans, including pension and medical insurance, which signifies our strength in the industry.”

UFCW Local 480 and Green Aloha Create First Hawaii Cannabis Labor Agreement

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On April 2, in a first for the state of Hawaii, UFCW Local 480 and Green Aloha, Ltd. announced an agreement giving their workers a fair process to form a union, ensuring good jobs and a highly trained workforce in the emerging medical marijuana industry.

“This is an exciting day for cannabis patients and workers in Hawaii,” said Pat Loo, president of UFCW Local 480. “This agreement guarantees that if Green Aloha is selected to operate a dispensary in Kaua’i and a majority of its workers choose to join the UFCW, the community will benefit economically from excellent working conditions and a highly skilled workforce trained with industry best practices developed from UFCW’s extensive experience across the country.”

The agreement allows workers at Green Aloha a fair way to choose a union and outlines key principles for a future contract ensuring that the pay and benefits for Kaua’i workers would meet or exceed standards for cannabis workers across the country.

“We’re deeply committed to ensuring that we operate at the highest standards possible, if we are privileged to be awarded a dispensary license,” said Justin Britt of Green Aloha. “Partnering with the UFCW enables us to do that with the most qualified, best trained workers available. We’re privileged to be able to tap into the years of experience and industry knowledge the union has developed from its work across the country.”

“We believe that medical marijuana dispensaries shouldn’t benefit just their owners,” said Loo. “We think the state should agree with us and license operators who they know will respect their workers, ensure the safety of their communities and make real, binding commitments to the people of Hawaii.”

Cannabis Workers in Santa Ana Join Local 324

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Workers at South Coast Safe Access in Santa Ana, California, recently ratified their first contract and joined UFCW Local 324. These 20 workers are the first Orange County cannabis workers to form a union, and are helping set higher standards for the California cannabis industry.

“South Coast Safe Access is a model for what can be achieved when a business owner has a sincere desire to do right by his employees and the community where he does business,” said UFCW Local 324 President Greg Conger.

The workers announced their decision at a press conference attended by Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana). “It’s time for public policy that will allow safe access for medical marijuana patients while protecting our neighborhoods,” said Sanchez. “Let’s protect workers and consumers in an industry that will continue to grow and become a larger part of California’s economy and prosperity.”

“If anybody working in a cannabis dispensary anywhere in the state believes he or she will get a fraction of that without a union, they have to be smoking something a lot stronger than pot,” said Conger, describing the newly union members as a “natural fit” for Local 324’s strong history of improving lives for both retail and healthcare workers.