Zen Leaf Highland Park Workers Ratify First Union Contract!

Workers Vote UNION YES

Congratulations to the Zen Leaf cannabis workers on winning their first Union contract. They have set the precedence for their fellow workers to have protected rights and fair working conditions.  On December 18th, workers from the Highland Park dispensary voted UNANIMOUSLY to ratify their first Union contract.  

Zen Leaf workers in Highland Park reached out to Local 881 at the end of 2021 out of frustration with many workplace issues at the dispensary. The company’s lack of respect for the workers and their knowledge of cannabis was a driving factor in the organizing campaign.

The dispensary workers faced issues like inconsistent discipline, no communication or accountability, and a lack of confidence in their job security. The workers organized for safety and protection of bargaining unit work.

After their successful vote to join Local 881 in February 2022, Local 881 and the rank-and-file bargaining committee members got to work on negotiating with the company.

Negotiating a First Contract is a Long Road

The Zen Leaf workers faced a rather tough bargaining experience. Off the bat, multiple employees were wrongfully laid off. Local 881 filed NLRB charges and after many months, we were able to successfully reach settlements (which included retro pay) on behalf of the membership. This delayed bargaining, but the negotiation committee was patient and saw it through to the end.

What the Zen Leaf Highland Park workers Won in their contract:

• Guaranteed annual wage increases
• 401k for all employees
• Seniority rights and bargaining unit work protections
• Defined language around working hours and conditions
• A strong grievance procedure to dispute discipline and safety issues
• And much more!

“Standing up for your rights against the unfair working conditions is hard work,” said Steve Powell, Local 881 President. “We are proud to have such strong, dedicated cannabis workers fighting with us for a better future!”

Unionizing provides you with a voice, rights, and safety. Workers in the Cannabis industry deserve a better future. To foster careers for its workers and for growth under fair circumstances. For over a decade, Local 881 has been fighting to ensure that the cannabis industry lives up to the promises it made to our communities. Cannabis workers are joining with Local 881 to make meaningful change to the cannabis industry in Illinois. Local 881 has successfully negotiated for wage increases, paid leave, employee discounts, a robust grievance procedure, and stronger contractual protections for cannabis workers.  

The growing list of Local 881 ratified Cannabis contracts include: Ascend, Cresco, MedMen, Sunnyside, and Windy City Cannabis.