On Nov. 2, cannabis workers at the Curaleaf dispensary in Mokena, Ill., joined UFCW Local 881 for a better life. These new members of our union family voted to join UFCW Local 881 by an overwhelming margin because they were concerned about insufficient wages and benefits. Curaleaf is one of the largest multi-state cannabis companies and currently operates 10 dispensaries in Illinois.
“I work for one of the one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States, yet make about the same wage as an Amazon worker,” said Patrick Vinson, who is a patient care specialist at Curaleaf Mokena. “Our CEO buys a $14 million dollar mansion in Florida, while denying his workers a living wage. This industry is new and growing and I believe it is important for us to protect the workers, the backbone of this industry, by unionizing our workplaces.”
“I can say from the bottom of my heart that I believe every dispensary, cultivation site, and processing facility should be unionizing for proper wage increases and benefits as this industry continues to boom,” Vinson added. “Today, my coworkers and I from Curaleaf Mokena came together to make sure we have just as much of a voice about our workplace as the shareholders do. Union strong!”
“Nearly a year into legalization, cannabis workers across Illinois are starting to see the underbelly of working in the industry,” said UFCW Local 881 President Steve Powell. “Dispensary workers report low wages, lack of benefits, significant scheduling issues, favoritism, and union-busting. Although the cannabis products and environment seem progressive and cutting edge, the cannabis industry business methods are direct from the old school big corporation playbook, doing all they can to make a buck, while squeezing their employees. The cannabis industry needs to be held accountable for how they treat their workers, and the best way to do that is for cannabis workers to join Local 881!”
UFCW Local 881 represents cannabis workers across Illinois, including Ascend Dispensary in Springfield, Windy City Cannabis in Chicago, Cresco Labs in Joliet, and Sunnyside cannabis dispensaries in Champaign and Lakeview.