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Rhode Island Cannabis Workers Ratify First Contract

August 31, 2022

On August 18, members of UFCW Local 328 who work for Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth, R.I., ratified a first union contract that improves wages and benefits. The workers, who ratified the contract unanimously, are employed as budtenders, keyholders, online team members and delivery drivers at the cannabis dispensary.

The two-year contract includes:

  • Immediate wage increases for all employees, including up to 22 percent for employees with one year or more of service
  • Additional wage increases in the second year
  • Immediate improvement in starting rates for all classifications by over $2.00 an hour with an additional increase in the second year
  • Paid vacations and improved paid sick time
  • Protection of bargaining unit work
  • A clothing allowance
  • Additional paid holidays
  • Protected time and a half on Sunday
  • Robust grievance procedure and workplace protections
  • Newly secured opportunity to earn tips
  • A ratification bonus of $1,000

“This contract sets a tremendous precedent for cannabis workers in Rhode Island at a time where the industry is undergoing massive changes in preparation for the introduction of recreational sales,” said Nicholas Ventetuolo, a delivery driver at Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center and a member of the negotiating committee. “Our contract is a powerful statement on the collective power of a united workforce. The workers at Greenleaf would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to UFCW Local 328 for their unwavering support throughout this entire process.”

“It is our hope that the other compassion centers in our state will take notice of our victory and use it as a motivating factor to begin their own fight for better wages, benefits, and working conditions,” Ventetuolo added. “We will be ready to stand with them.”

“This was a hard fought victory for Greenleaf workers,” said UFCW Local 328 Director of Organizing Sam Marvin. “Together, they prevailed both at the labor board and at the bargaining table. By speaking up and standing together, they have raised the standards here in Rhode Island for cannabis workers. We applaud the workers at Greenleaf for their dedication and commitment to securing this historic victory.”

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