* Hannah Meisel…
Organized labor helped push the bill to legalize recreational marijuana across the finish line in the closing days of the spring legislative session last month, but unions’ involvement in the marijuana industry is likely only just budding. […]
Hundreds, if not thousands of jobs could be created in the emerging industry, sponsors and proponents of legalization have said repeatedly. Unions like the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 and Service Employees International Union Local 1 had been at the negotiating table for months working on the marijuana legalization bill. […]
“They missed opportunities to really fix some wrongs,” [Beniamino Capellupo, the executive director of SEIU Local 1] said of other states. “The sort of failed war on drugs. Who’s that affected? We got into this with the understanding that this bill needed to come from a social equity and expungement point of view first and foremost. If that wasn’t included in the bill, we would not have been a supporter of it.”
SEIU Local 1, which represents more than 50,000 service workers like custodians and security officers in states all over the Midwest, also stands to represent future workers in the recreational marijuana industry. Already, Local 1 represents approximately 8,000 security officers in the Chicagoland area, according to the union’s communications director Izabela Miltko. […]
(U)nionized security officers also offer an added benefit to recreational cannabis dispensaries, Miltko said, in the form of less employee turnover.
“If security officers are allowed to join in unions, not only are they fighting for better wages, healthcare and benefits, they’re able to really lift the industry standard,” she said.
* Accompanying graphic…
[Hat tip: Jake]
I want one of those.
Organized labor will have strong opportunities for organizing those workers under the licensing requirements laid out in H.B. 1438, Koutsky said. Companies seeking operating licenses would be given credit for adhering to “labor peace agreements,” by which the licensee couldn’t interfere with a union’s efforts to organize and represent workers’ interests.
“You have seen this emerging as a standard approach in the states where this is happening,” said Koutsky, who worked with lawmakers drafting the bill. “So Illinois is in line with what’s happening elsewhere, but this is a significant step that Illinois is taking because it is the first state where this happened through a legislative process rather than a rulemaking or administrative approach.”
Koutsky said the UFCW would take a lead role organizing Illinois workers engaged in the cultivation, testing, and sales of cannabis products. That effort meshes with the UFCW’s national goals under its Cannabis Workers Rising campaign, which has organized more than 10,000 cannabis workers in states with medical and recreational marijuana programs.
As a jurisdictional matter, Koutsky said the SEIU would likely have authority to try to represent security personnel hired in cannabis facilities. The Teamsters would have jurisdiction for workers transporting cannabis products and driving armored trucks, he said.
* Other stuff…
* Marijuana legalization poses real questions for employers
* New book a radical retelling of labor movement collapse
* Illinois governor could soon consider watered-down corporate diversity bill