Cannabis Workers Unionization Train Is Speeding Up As Ascend Dispensary In Boston Joins Teamsters

Cannabis Workers Unionization Train Is Speeding Up As Ascend Dispensary In Boston Joins Teamsters

Workers at Ascend Wellness Holdings AAWH in Boston voted overwhelmingly this week to join Teamsters Local 25, becoming the first cannabis dispensary in New England to organize with the union.

The marijuana unionization train seems to be speeding up, as only a week has passed since workers at Verano VRNOF Zen Leaf Dispensary in the neighborhood of Pilsen have voted to join Teamsters Local 777. They voted in favor of unionization in spite of the fact that the company fired union supporters during the campaign. Other unionizations (and attempts) include Columbia Care CCHWF and Acreage Holdings' ACRHF workers in New Jersey voting in April to unionize, followed by Ascend Wellness Holdings, and GTI entering into negotiations with The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360 union.

Ascend dispensary associates at the Boston facility voted by mail-in ballot, with election certification Aug. 23. The win marks a major victory in the Teamsters' continued effort to raise wages and benefits in the cannabis industry across the country.

"This is a huge win for workers at Ascend and for the labor movement in New England," stated Teamsters general president Sean M. O'Brien. "Right now, the cannabis industry is one of the most lucrative industries out there, with companies pocketing billions of dollars. Cannabis workers in Boston and across the nation deserve fair wages, to be treated with respect, and to have a voice on the job."

Local 25 president Tom Mari echoed O'Brien's call for dignity on the job at Ascend. The win in Boston is the latest victory for the Teamsters amid of wave cannabis workers organizing with the 1.2-million-member union.

"The Teamsters are the strongest and most well-positioned union to protect cannabis workers, in Boston and beyond," Mari stated. "We're tough, militant, and dedicated to standing with workers at Ascend to get them strong contracts like the Teamsters have in so many industries. This will mark the first cannabis contract in Boston, but it is far from the last."

Peter Finn, Teamsters western region vice president and director of the Teamsters food processing division, said the union will continue to advocate for those in the industry.

"Our goal is to ensure cannabis jobs turn into careers," Finn stated. "This is a great organizing victory Boston, but our fight doesn't end there. We are welcoming new members in the cannabis industry nationwide, and we're ready to safeguard these workers and their families.

Photo: Courtesy of Teamsters Local 25

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