Curaleaf Dispensary Workers Want a Voice in their Workplace!

Curaleaf Mokena workers voted to join Local 881 UFCW, the union for cannabis workers in Illinois.

Curaleaf workers from Mokena
For Immediate Release

Mokena, IL – On November 2, 2021 cannabis workers at the Curaleaf dispensary in Mokena won their union representation election and will join Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union for cannabis workers in Illinois. Curaleaf, one of the largest multi-state cannabis companies, currently operates 10 dispensaries in Illinois.

“Nearly a year into legalization, cannabis workers across Illinois are starting to see the underbelly of working in the industry. Dispensary workers report low wages, lack of benefits, significant scheduling issues, favoritism, and union-busting,” said Steve Powell, Local 881 UFCW President. “Although the cannabis products and environment seem progressive and cutting edge, the cannabis industry business methods are direct from the old school big corporation playbook, doing all they can to make a buck, while squeezing their employees. The cannabis industry needs to be held accountable for how they treat their workers, and the best way to do that is for cannabis workers to join Local 881!”

The National Labor Relations Board will certify the results of the election in seven days barring objections. Curaleaf Mokena dispensary workers voted 19-3 to join Local 881 UFCW. A wave of Curaleaf workers in Illinois are voting to join Local 881’s Cannabis Union to bring improvements to their dispensaries. Just last week on October 20th, workers at the Curaleaf in Worth, IL voted overwhelmingly to join Local 881 in their Union Representation Election. Later this month, Curaleaf workers at the dispensary in Skokie, will also have their opportunity to join Local 881.

“I work for one of the one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States yet make about the same wage as an Amazon worker. Our CEO buys a $14 million dollar mansion in Florida, while denying his workers a living wage. This industry is new and growing and I believe it is important for us to protect the workers, the backbone of this industry by unionizing our workplaces,” said Patrick Vinson, Patient Care Specialist, Curaleaf Mokena. “I can say from the bottom of my heart that I believe every dispensary, cultivation site and processing facility should be unionizing for proper wage increases and benefits as this industry continues to boom. Today my coworkers and I from Curaleaf Mokena came together to make sure we have just as much of a voice about our workplace as the shareholders do. Union Strong!”

Local 881 is proud to be the first and only Union to negotiate Cannabis contracts in Illinois with Cresco Labs in Joliet and with the Sunnyside Dispensary in Chicago (Lakeview). Local 881 has been successful in negotiating wage increases, more paid leave, increased employee product discount, a robust grievance procedure, and stronger protection language for cannabis workers. Local 881 is committed to ensuring that the cannabis industry lives up to the promises it made to the communities when it lobbied for their support for legalization.

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

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Contact: Teresa Ramirez-Gonzalez, Local 881 Director of Organizing
[email protected] | 630-254-3090

Curaleaf Workers are Showing their Strength and Worth!

Cannabis workers from Curaleaf are joining Local 881 to change the booming cannabis industry!

Curaleaf workers from Worth
For Immediate Release                

Worth, IL – On October 20, 2021 cannabis workers at the Curaleaf dispensary in Worth won their Union representation election and will join Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Union for Cannabis Workers in Illinois. Curaleaf, one of the largest multi-state cannabis companies, currently operates 10 dispensaries in Illinois.

The workers were motivated to unionize, after watching their coworkers at the Chicago Weed Street Curaleaf/Windy City Cannabis dispensary join Local 881 UFCW earlier in March. Workers at the Curaleaf Worth dispensary cited issues such as inadequate wages, scheduling problems, lack of benefits, and the need for more COVID-19 protections. As the workers began to speak up about their concerns, the company enlisted third-party anti-union consultants and HR reps to discourage the workers from unionizing.

“I’m so proud that we were able to find our power and voice through this campaign. Curaleaf is making record profits while the workers are struggling to pay bills. They offer us crumbs and tell us we should be grateful, it’s time we demand more.” explained DJ, a Patient Counselor at the Worth Curaleaf. “We are so excited to negotiate for better pay, working conditions, and dignity in the workplace.”

The National Labor Relations Board will certify the results of the election in seven days barring objections. An overwhelming majority of the 35 workers at the dispensary voted to join Local 881 UFCW. These workers voted yes to join the Union hoping to dramatically improve their working conditions. Local 881 is proud to be working with Curaleaf workers across Illinois. In the next two weeks, the Curaleaf dispensary workers from Skokie and Mokena will vote in their union representation elections. 

“Illinois welcomed the cannabis industry with open arms and the larger companies, like Curaleaf, are clearly reaping all the benefits and posting major revenue gains. Recreational cannabis legislation promised these companies would provide good jobs and benefit local communities. It’s clear now that the companies need to be held accountable for how they operate and more importantly how they treat their workers,” said Steve Powell, Local 881 UFCW President. “Local 881 has been proud to help create better careers for cannabis workers, and we look forward to negotiating the security that only a union contract can provide for the Curaleaf workers.” 

Local 881 is proud to be the first and only Union to negotiate Cannabis contracts in Illinois with Cresco Labs in Joliet and with the Sunnyside Dispensary in Chicago (Lakeview). Local 881 has been successful in negotiating wage increases, more paid leave, increased employee product discount, a robust grievance procedure, and stronger protection language for cannabis workers. Local 881 is committed to ensuring that the cannabis industry lives up to the promises it made to the communities when it lobbied for their support for legalization.

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

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Contact: Teresa Ramirez-Gonzalez, Local 881 Director of Organizing
[email protected] | 630-254-3090

More Sunnyside Workers Join 881’s Growing Cannabis Union!

The Champaign Dispensary is the third Cresco location to join Local 881, the Union for Illinois Cannabis Workers

Dispensary Workers from Sunnyside Champaign
For Immediate Release

Champaign, IL – Today workers at Sunnyside cannabis dispensary in Champaign won their Union representation election and will join Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Union for Cannabis Workers in Illinois.

Sunnyside is owned and operated by the large and profitable national cannabis company, Cresco. This is the third group of Cresco workers to join Local 881’s rapidly-growing cannabis Union.  Local 881 is proud to be the first and only Union to negotiate Cannabis contracts in Illinois with Cresco Labs in Joliet and the Sunnyside Dispensary in Chicago (Lakeview). In both of these contracts, Local 881 was successful in negotiating wage increases, more paid leave, increased employee product discount, a robust grievance procedure, and stronger protection language for the workers.

“We are so excited to move forward! Personally, I’m so proud of all my coworkers for standing together to tell the company that WE KNOW OUR VALUE!” said Ramy Akram-Ahmed, a Sunnyside Champaign Wellness Advisor. “This is not only a huge day for us but also the cannabis industry!”

An overwhelming majority of the 25 workers at the dispensary voted to join the Union. The Sunnyside Champaign workers voted yes to join Local 881 UFCW hoping to dramatically improve their working conditions. The workers have cited issues at the dispensary such as low wages, inadequate benefits, unpredictable scheduling of hours, and no proper training. The results of the election will be certified by the National Labor Relations Board in seven days barring objections from the employer.

“Illinois welcomed the cannabis industry with open arms and the larger companies are clearly reaping all the benefits. Recreational cannabis legislation promised these companies would provide good jobs and benefit local communities” said Steve Powell, Local 881 UFCW President. “We strongly believe that these big cannabis companies have the ability to do so much better for their workers. Local 881 has been proud to help create better careers for cannabis workers, and we look forward to negotiating the security that only a Union contract can provide for the Sunnyside Champaign workers.” 

“I’m so proud of what we achieved!” remarked Sarah Holder, a Sunnyside Champaign Wellness Advisor. “We were able to come together to demand better working conditions, and I hope this encourages other dispensaries across Illinois to do the same!

Cannabis workers across the state are joining with Local 881 to make meaningful change to the Cannabis industry in Illinois. Just recently two other Illinois dispensaries, Windy City Cannabis on Weed Street and Ascend in Downtown Springfield, also voted to join Local 881. Local 881 is committed to ensuring that the Cannabis industry lives up to the promises it made to the communities when it lobbied for their support for legalization. For more information about the fight to improve the Cannabis industry in Illinois, visit: ILcannabisworkersunited.org

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Local 881 Member Honored for Saving a Baby!

In the city of Alton, May 5th is now known as “Ben Mazur Day.”

Last month, Ben, a Local 881 clerk from Schnucks in Alton sprang into action to stop a runaway cart with a baby inside as it raced across the busy parking lot. During his shift, which included collecting carts in the parking lot, Ben noticed a cart rolling down the hill with an unattended toddler inside. The cart had gotten away from the child’s mother who was distracted trying to get her other children in the car. Ben’s awareness and quick response kept the child safe and out of harm’s way.

Ben who is on the Autism spectrum, is an adored employee at Schnucks through Challenge Unlimited, a program that helps people with disabilities find employment in the community. In addition to his work at Schnucks, Ben is also enrolled at Lewis & Clark Community College.

Mayor Brant Walker surprised the 24-year-old with a proclamation declaring May 5th as Ben Mazur Day. It was a special way for Ben’s family, co-workers, community members, and coaches from Challenge Unlimited to celebrate his great act of heroism and bravery. What made it even better is that May 5th also happens to be Ben’s birthday!

“People think I’m their Superman,” Mazur said. “I am just honored to have saved that baby.”

Good work, Ben!

https://fox2now.com/news/illinois/city-of-alton-honors-schnucks-employee-who-saved-toddlers-life/