The following is from UFCW Local 367:
PUYALLUP (July 14, 2014) — Dutch Master’s Organic Gardens, Puyallup’s medical cannabis collective serving patients since 2011, took the first step towards joining with the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 367 in a shared commitment to find regulatory solutions for the industry. These Patient Consultants are the first in the state of Washington to organize a union, and the union continues to speak with many others who are eager to do the same.
“The UFCW works with employers to help them move into different counties and states when they need advice and workers in those areas — pensions, medical, plus all the other standard things that come along with being part of a union. Above all, having the Cannabis and Hemp Workers Union behind us gives the industry a much greater level of legitimacy,” said Dutch Master, founder of the collective.
Workers at the collective see the need for further regulatory protections for the estimated 5,000 workers in medical cannabis collectives across the state. Most notably is their genuine concern for patient access under the newly implemented I-502 regulations.
“From my experience in nursing and working with patients suffering in nursing homes to now being able to serve medical cannabis patients, we see they are happy and their diseases are getting better instead of getting worse. Joining the union is our way of bringing stability to medical dispensaries in Washington,” said Lorissa Meyer, who is a Patient Consultant and patient.
While UFCW primarily represents retail, pharmacy, food processing, manufacturing and production workers, the union has a growing membership in the medical cannabis industry across the country. Through the union’s Cannabis Workers Rising Campaign, the union brings legitimacy to the industry through collective bargaining, along with regulatory advocacy expertise.
“Any time you have an industry where jobs, people’s livelihoods, and families are dependent on the law and regulations, the union is the place where workers find their strength to bargain and have a voice in the process,” said UFCW Local 367 President Denise Jagielo.
The union’s goal is to bring stability to this blossoming industry in Washington for all cannabis workers.
Members of UFCW 367, representing retail and commercial workers, include grocery store workers, Macy’s sales clerks, pharmacy and drug store workers, barbers, bakery workers, office supply store workers, jewelry store workers, and other working families in Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. For more information, visit UFCW Local 367’s website.