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Cannabis legalization to create “hiring boom” with unionized workers

Monday, Jun 3, 2019

* Crain’s

Expect a hiring boom from the state’s marijuana producers by the end of the year—and a likely boost in union membership.

The law that legalizes recreational marijuana use, which the General Assembly approved Friday, has two distinct features: a quick timeline and clear language that encourages union jobs. Existing players in the state’s medical-cannabis market plan to move into the bigger recreational business, resulting in a hiring surge that will dwarf the industry’s initial wave. […]

Cresco Labs will double its Illinois headcount from about 300 today, Bachtell said.

“To supply the adult use-market will require significant investment,” said Dina Rollman, GTI’s senior vice president for government and regulatory affairs, though she declined to quantify it. “There will be massive increases in headcount at production facilities and dispensaries. We’ll increase hiring at the facility level and corporate offices.” […]

Cresco and MedMen say they expect their employees eventually will be unionized. (MedMen, which is based in Los Angeles, already has workers in California and New York represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers union.)

The Illinois cannabis legislation contains multiple references to labor-peace agreements, which will be part of the selection criteria for applicants for new licenses for distribution centers. The intent of the legislation was clear: “to have good, well-paying union jobs in this industry,” Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat from Westchester, testified just before the vote May 31 in the Illinois House.

…Adding… With a hat tip to MrJM

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments
  1. - {Sigh} - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    How many of those jobs will be full time? Right now many of the dispensary jobs are part-time with no benefits.


  2. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    Unions and weed together. Couldn’t have dreamed it up better.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:38 pm:

    “A Union Bud, With a Union Bug”


  4. - Anoniphone - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    Rauner must be exploding right now.


  5. - Charlie Brown - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Rooting for Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers on this one.


  6. - Flip Yr Wig - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    Speculative hope: there will be a lot of shared culture across the cannabis industry and the microbrew industry. When the brewery workers see the benefits their weed peers receive due to unionization, they’ll push for their own labor rights.


  7. - {Sigh} - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    =However, GTI’s Rollman said it might not be automatic. “Illinois is not the only regulated (cannabis) state . . . to have that type of language in its statute. I haven’t seen other states go union across the board. . . .Just having the language on the books doesn’t instantly translate to unionization.” =

    Didn’t the cultivation centers classify their employee as agricultural workers?


  8. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    So much for freedom of association. this is what bugs me about unions. They get laws like this passed that take choice away from workers. If the union affiliation was so good you wouldn’t need to mandate it.


  9. - Anoniphone - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    Actually, isn’t the need to ‘mandate it’ due to folks like Rauner who want to take it away?

    I dunno. That’s my guess.


  10. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    Will they have to take a drug test? And if so is failing a good point or a bad point?


  11. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    “They get laws like this passed that take choice away from workers.”

    Workers can go work somewhere else. Plus, it’s not workers who complain about this but rather rich anti-union pro-corporate types, lying about caring for workers’ choices.


  12. - Nick Name - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    I remember that SNL skit! How far we’ve come.


  13. - OneMan - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    I’d like to introduce you to your shop stewards.
    The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers


  14. - Nick Name - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    ===So much for freedom of association. this is what bugs me about unions. They get laws like this passed that take choice away from workers. If the union affiliation was so good you wouldn’t need to mandate it.===

    Employees get to vote on whether to organize into a bargaining unit. It isn’t imposed by anyone. It’s the very definition of freedom of association.

    Fess up, is this Mark Janus?


  15. - DougChicago - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:22 pm:

    If unions are such a great deal that they sell themselves why do the need so much legislation protecting them?


  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    ===If unions are such a great deal that they sell themselves why do the need so much legislation protecting them?===

    Once organized labor is legislatively marginalized away… then workers will have no protections. You should probably read up on why organized labor was needed.

    Your ignorance is only greater than how oblivious you are as to why you don’t know.


  17. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    ==If the union affiliation was so good you wouldn’t need to mandate it.==

    It’s not mandated.

    A labor peace agreement means that an employer can’t use bullying, union busting tactics. The employer must be neutral (so he can’t be pro union either). The employees still have to vote to certify the union. So it’s no more “mandated” than any other democratic entity.


  18. - City Zen - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    ==”The intent of the legislation was clear: “to have good, well-paying union jobs in this industry,==

    Not if it’s UFCW.

    Cannabis worker minimum wage should be $50/hr. Target the longshoremen.


  19. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    “If unions are such a great deal that they sell themselves why do the need so much legislation protecting them?”

    If unions aren’t such a great deal why do super-rich anti-union interests spend billions to try to bust them? Rauner spent $95 million to try to bust unions.

    https://illinoissunshine.org/committees/citizens-for-rauner-inc-25185/


  20. - DougChicago - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 5:06 pm:

    ==Once organized labor is legislatively marginalized away… then workers will have no protections. You should probably read up on why organized labor was needed.==

    Oh, dear sir, you are the one who is ignorant. Unions exist and are recognized as a matter of law in this country. There has been no change in that fact in almost a century. I’m not a big fan of unions but that’s the law and in some ways probably helps keep an even playing field.

    But enshrining protections for union labor, over and above non-union labor, and making people join a union under penalty of losing their job, and making management be neutral when they do have a contrary point of view (they have to respect a decision to unionize but don’t have to pretend they like it or that non-unionization has benefits too) can only be described as special protections for unions that presumably would not be needed if unions offered all the benefits they assert.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 5:14 pm:

    ===Oh, dear sir, you are the one who is ignorant. Unions exist and are recognized as a matter of law in this country. There has been no change in that fact in almost a century. I’m not a big fan of unions but that’s the law and in some ways probably helps keep an even playing field.===

    (Enter Right to Work states)

    That’s why… Rauner wanted RTW zones, as he knew he couldn’t make Illinois a Right to Work state.

    Capiche?

    ===But enshrining protections for union labor, over and above non-union labor, and making people join a union under penalty of losing their job, and making management be neutral when they do have a contrary point of view (they have to respect a decision to unionize but don’t have to pretend they like it or that non-unionization has benefits too) can only be described as special protections for unions that presumably would not be needed if unions offered all the benefits they assert.===

    “…can only be described as special protections for unions that presumably would not be needed if unions offered all the benefits they assert.”

    No.

    It’s doing what you think you said in the first paragraph.

    You want to seem both pro-labor by being pro RTW.

    Yeah… that doesn’t compute.

    You aren’t even close to comprehending what happened with Rauner.


  22. - Truthteller - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 6:08 pm:

    I’m hoping these anti-union zealots will chill once the law takes effect.


  23. - Bavette - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 6:16 pm:

    Pretty irrelevant, unions are declining the world over. This is really insignificant in the the big picture.


  24. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 8:00 pm:

    Cant buy union made oreos, but brownies….


  25. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 8:13 pm:

    This much i know. If American consumers can buy a product 1 penny cheaper, they will purchase the cheapest product. Union built/made not withstanding. This includes union members. 13.8% and dropping.


  26. - XonXoff - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 9:34 pm:

    LOL. The street dealers must be shaking in their boots over this.


  27. - Bavette - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 11:23 pm:

    I think we are down to 10.5% union members nationally now.


  28. - MG85 - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 11:43 pm:

    ==If American consumers can buy a product 1 penny cheaper, they will purchase the cheapest product.==

    Tell that to every name brand that dwarfs their cheaper knock-offs competitors’ profit margins year after year.

    We literally make fun of Millenials for buying the latest iPhone simply because it is an Apple product. I, and many others, refuse to drink anything but a Coca-Cola (it’s the real thing don’t ya know.)

    So BlueDem, maybe you should reconsider everything you think you know and perhaps file it “Under Further Review.”


  29. - Bavette - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:20 am:

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership continues to fall. Only 6.4% of the private workforce is union.


  30. - Tim - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:26 am:

    How much tax revenue do you think you are going to raise if no one can afford the product? Probably be cheaper to continue to buy it illegally. Between taxes, licensing fees, and overpaid and benefited union labor, that might turn out to be one really expensive high.


  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:27 am:

    Is that Gilda Radner with the watering can?


  32. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:30 am:

    Slow down Tim. How can someone be overpaid for a job that won’t even start til 2020? How can a product be too expensive that isn’t even on the market yet?


  33. - Bavette - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:41 am:

    Pot is on the market now. Has been for a very long time.


  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:48 am:

    Legal pot isn’t on the market.


  35. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 8:23 am:

    =How much tax revenue do you think you are going to raise if no one can afford the product?=

    I wonder how that is working out in other states that have legalized rec weed? Oh, wait we do have some data on that and it seems to be selling quite well. Well enough to attract big money investors.


  36. - truthteller - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 8:35 am:

    blah blah anti-union talk is all so very boring, believe me if Walmart workers COULD unionize they would do it as no job you work at should be paid as little as they make. The biggest anti-union voices as always the same ones,


  37. - Birdseed - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 8:51 am:

    === - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 6:48 am:

    Legal pot isn’t on the market. ===

    Legal pot (edibles, etc.) from Colorado is in the Illinois market, and has been for quite some time.


  38. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 9:03 am:

    Not legally. Someone can buy that thru one’s illegal dealer. The experience is different which makes legal pot unique.. An McCormick Place exhibitor from Germany can’t go buy Colorado weed from some illegal dealer. How would he know where to look? If it’s legal he can find a pot shop and take a taxi and get some edibles.


  39. - LINK - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 9:22 am:

    Wolf,

    Lorraine Newman (sp?).


  40. - Techie - Tuesday, Jun 4, 19 @ 9:41 am:

    “But enshrining protections for union labor…”

    We also enshrine protections for collective capital, i.e. corporations. Corporations get all kinds of special protections and benefits that individual capitalists/investors don’t.

    That’s why labor needs special protections, as well. Capital and labor are the two primary, competing forces in the economy. If we give organized capital and capitalists special rights and protections, organized labor also needs special rights and protections.

    Otherwise organized capitalists will be at an advantage and screw over workers. Which is what happens all too often in this country, because there aren’t enough protections for organized labor.


  41. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jun 5, 19 @ 6:37 am:

    ==Legal pot (edibles, etc.) from Colorado is in the Illinois market, and has been for quite some time.==

    Are people actually doing that? Buying legal gummies in Colorado and driving to Illinois and selling them? If they are it blows the whole “illegal drugs and legal drugs cost the same so people will still use illegal drugs” argument out of the water. Because who who go to the trouble of doing that unless one was going to sell the illegal gummies for more? The trip down highway 80 is really boring.


  42. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jun 5, 19 @ 6:37 am:

    Thanks, LINK


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