Workers at a medical and recreational cannabis cultivation facility in Connecticut recently voted to unionize.
Earlier this year, workers at CTPharma’s, Connecticut’s largest cannabis growing facility, voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 919 (1). According to UFCW, this is the third time workers at a cannabis facility joined the union in 2023–the first occurred in May when 48 workers at Advanced Grow Labs joined, and the second occurred in June when 12 workers at Caring Nature Dispensary joined (2,3,4). On June 13, more than 70 workers at CTPharma joined UFCW (2).
According to UFCW, the workers at CTPharma who joined the union came from all areas of the facility and were reportedly mainly interested in higher wages and job protections (1).
“Workers are concerned that this is a new industry in Connecticut, and they want to make sure that they have a voice that matters at work and that this industry is equitable for the workers, too,” said Emily Sabo, the Director of Organizing at UFCW (1).
The CTPharma workers joined through the Labor Peace Agreement Process, a requirement in the state of Connecticut in order for a cannabis facility to obtain full licensure (1,2). “A labor peace agreement means that an operator will remain neutral and fair if workers want to form a union,” explained Sabo (1). “In return, the union agrees and the workers are agreeing not to picket, no work stoppages, strikes, etc., in exchange for the neutrality.”
According to their website, UFCW represents thousands of cannabis workers in dispensaries, laboratories, and more across the US and Canada (5). Last week it announced that Las Vegas dispensary MedMen became the first dispensary in Nevada to join the union (6).
“We look forward to working with the bargaining committee at CTPharma to secure a great first-time contract that will give these workers the respect and job protections they deserve,” stated UFCW President Mark Espinosa in an August UFCW press release (2).