California has made it easy for weed workers to join labor unions after Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed into law a bill that requires all cannabis stores that have 20 employees or more to enter into labor peace agreements.
California is the second state (after New York) to issue a requirement for licensed weed shops to enter into a peace deal with the labor union whereby they promise not to stop their employees from joining a union. This agreement will discourage workers from organizing labor strikes against the company.
In recent years, there has been an increased number of states decriminalizing marijuana, and this has prompted labor unions to push for these agreements. The labor union goal is to make sure that the 6 billion dollar industry does not take advantage of their workers who, instead of being paid proper wages, are paid below the minimum wage.
According to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the push for the agreements is a way for workers to form a labor union and boost their membership. When the cannabis workers are unionized, they can negotiate for better pay, annual pay rises, and health insurance coverage. UFCW is responsible for organizing marijuana workers in the U.S since 2011.
After voters approved the ballot measure for the legalization of recreational marijuana sales in 2016, California issued a requirement for all weed shops to sign the labor peace deal. However, the downside to this requirement was that the law did not include how the agreement would be enforced, nor the deadline for signing the contract by the marijuana businesses.
According to the new law signed on Friday, businesses are given a maximum of 60 days to sign the labor peace deal; if not, the employee can file a complaint with the state’s labor regulators.
A California Assembly member, Reggie Jones-Sawyer said that the signed law would help employees with clear information on when the employer is not complying with the law and when they should file a complaint.
The labor strategy being used by the emerging marijuana industry was once used to organize shipyard workers and casino employees.
Each labor deal varies from company to company, but the similarities are; the managers agree not to stop workers from joining unions, provide contact information of labor organizers to employees and give unions access to the workplace to meet with the employees. Meanwhile, the unions agree not to incite employees to go on a strike and not to say negative things about the employers to the workers.
When a marijuana company advertises the unionizing of its employees, it means that the business is a legal entity. Experts think this development in California will be welcomed by industry actors, such as Chemistree Technology Inc. (CSE: CHM) (OTCQB: CHMJF) and Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF), since it puts marijuana industry workers at par with employees in other industries.
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