Ascend Dispensary Workers Celebrate 4/20 by Voting Union Yes

Ascend Workers in Springfield join the growing Union movement to change the Illinois cannabis industry!

Members of Ascend - Springfield, IL
For Immediate Release

Springfield, IL – Today workers at the Ascend Dispensary in downtown Springfield won their Union representation election and will join Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Union for Cannabis Workers in Illinois. “I hope that this win can be a positive step forward for everybody. This victory will provide workers a voice in the workplace and a future in this industry,” said Eric Craddock, an Ascend Dispensary Agent.

Ascend Wellness Holdings, which owns the Springfield dispensary, was established in 2018, and describes itself as “one of the largest privately-held U.S. multistate operators in the cannabis industry.” It owns at least 15 dispensaries, including six in Illinois, and has more on the way.

“Illinois cannabis sales topped $1 Billion in 2020. These companies can afford to respect their workers! Respect and decency are not expensive business practices. This industry should be creating stable careers, not operating cannabis sweatshops,” said Steve Powell, Local 881 UFCW President. “We look forward to beginning negotiations and we are proud to stand with these brave workers from Ascend as they voice their concerns while working on the front lines!”

Today, on 4/20, the National Labor Relations Board counted the mail-in ballots over zoom for the Springfield dispensary employees. The results of the election will be certified in seven days barring objections from the employer. An overwhelming majority of the counted ballots voted to join the Union. These workers voted yes to join Local 881 UFCW hoping to dramatically improve the dispensary by negotiating for better wages, benefits, increased Covid-19 protections, and a voice in their workplace. April 20th has become an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. 4/20 is synonymous with calls to action within the cannabis community. It’s a fitting day for the Ascend workers to celebrate their Union victory! 

Local 881 is among the largest affiliates of the UFCW, which is proud to represent tens of thousands of cannabis workers across multiple states. UFCW members in the legal cannabis industry work in cultivation, manufacturing, processing, laboratories, and dispensaries. Ascend Springfield is the fourth group of cannabis workers to join Local 881 since 2020. Windy City Weed Street workers, recently won their Union Election and the workers at Cresco (Joliet) and Sunnyside (Lakeview) have both recently ratified their Union Contracts negotiated by Local 881 UFCW.


For more information about the fight to improve the Cannabis industry in Illinois, visit: