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Canadian WeedMD Employees Look To Unionize In An Industry First

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Canadian WeedMD Employees Look To Unionize In An Industry First

In the last three weeks, WeedMD (OTC: WDDMF) employees have been signing union cards with the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

The UFCW, which stands behind 250,000 Canadian workers, is eager to initiate contract discussions with the Health Canada-licensed producer.

“We’re hoping that with enough public attention, the people who are consuming cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, are looking for an ethical employer,” national representative Kevin Shimmin said Wednesday, according to The London Free Press.

“We’re hoping that enough public pressure will come to bear on this company and they will sit down and start bargaining.”

It is estimated that more than 10,000 people in Canada are working in the cannabis sector.

Ian Dawkins, a Vancouver-based cannabis consultant, said there's a need for organization. 

“This is a long time coming," Dawkins said. "The needs of workers and the strains on them are going to continue to worsen, until we figure out formal way of dealing with (the problems) like we do in other industries.”

Shimmin said the organizing began when workers started to urge the UFCW to begin documenting employee complaints regarding health and safety, such as allegations of high carbon monoxide levels, pesticide use and overcrowding of workspaces. 

WeedMD spokesperson Marianella delaBarrera said the company backs its employees’ right to unionize, but disagrees with the complaints.

“We’ve reviewed some of the allegations that they’re making and these allegations are baseless, without merit,” delaBarrera said. “While we cannot comment on specific internal employee matters, we can say that we take the health and safety of our employees very seriously.”

WeedMD was nominated by its workers for a local business magazine’s 2020 best employer award and won.

Shimmin said he hopes this union move at WeedMD will inspire other workers in the industry to do the same.

Photo courtesy of WeedMD.

 

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