May the Odds Be Ever in Favor of Cannabis Workers!

Dispensary workers at Curaleaf Skokie choose Local 881, hoping to improve their ‘Hunger Games’ working environment.

Workers from Curaleaf Skokie celebrate with Local 881 Organizers after their Union election victory!
For Immediate Release

Skokie, IL – On November 18, 2021 cannabis workers at the Curaleaf dispensary in Skokie overwhelmingly 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.

Curaleaf Skokie dispensary workers voted 27-5 to join Local 881 UFCW. This is the third Curaleaf dispensary to join Local 881 in just a few short weeks. Dispensary workers from the Curaleaf locations in Mokena and Worth also voted overwhelmingly to join Local 881 hoping to bring much needed improvements to their dispensaries.

Workers at the Skokie location have reported disturbing practices and trends, including:

    • Toilets that do not flush and other facility and equipment issues
    • Hours being cut
    • Lack of benefits or job security
    • Schedules being posted with little or no advance notice
    • A ‘Hunger Games’ approach to promotions and raises
    • Corporate culture that enables disrespect of workers by management

“We keep waiting for things to get better. All we hear are false promises. Some of our coworkers were promoted, but then were pitted against each other to battle for who would get a raise in pay. It was like being in the Hunger Games! In the end, all the workers got was more responsibility and NO ONE got an increase! said Grace Baffoe, Product Specialist at Curaleaf Skokie.

“We believe Local 881 can help us, because they helped push through the legalization law in Illinois. I know that, unlike my corporate bosses, Local 881 has respect for both the plant and for the people working in the cannabis industry. We think a Union contract is our best chance to change this industry for the better and get the respect we deserve.”

“The money keeps rolling in for these large multi-state cannabis corporations. The workers are clearly not benefiting or being treated as they deserve. The communities that supported cannabis legislation and welcomed these companies are not benefiting either,” said Steve Powell, Local 881 UFCW President.

“When a worker describes corporate tactics comparable to a post-apocalyptic totalitarian society, you have to wonder, what will it take to hold the cannabis industry accountable for its actions towards workers? We are incredibly proud of these brave workers who are standing up for positive and meaningful change in this industry.”

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:


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