NJ.Com Report: More N.J. cannabis workers unionizing as 4 companies negotiate contracts

Four major cannabis companies are negotiating contracts to unionize their workforce in New Jersey: Ascend, GTI, Columbia Care and Acreage to bring the total to a half dozen multi-state operators, according to the head of UFCW – Local 360. Verano and AYR, which acquired Garden State Dispensary last year, are already union.

Cannabis workers have the wind to their back as the union momentum in New Jersey is picking up.

Nearly two months after adult recreational weed sales launched statewide on April 21, two of eight major cannabis companies now selling both medical and adult weed have gone fully union.

And four more are currently in major negotiations to go the same route, which collectively, could bring 250 new workers under the union umbrella, according to Hugh Giordano, Director of Organizing for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 360, which represents the state’s cannabis workers, as well as other retail, hospital, manufacturing and public sector employees.

The multi-state operators, also known as alternative treatment centers, in deep talks with UFCW-Local 360 are Ascend, Acreage, Columbia Care and GTI.

“We hope to have all contracts, currently being negotiated, signed by Labor Day,” Giordano told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday. “That’s our goal. That way, what better way to celebrate Labor Day than with your first union contract. To me that solidifies what that day represents.”

Verano, under the Zen Leaf banner, signed a collective bargaining agreement earlier this year for its dispensaries in Lawrence and Elizabeth and all of its cultivation sites statewide.

When Garden State Dispensary opened in New Jersey to sell medical cannabis only in 2016, it debuted as a union shop at each of its dispensaries and cultivation sites. GSD was acquired by AYR Wellness last year, and on June 15 AYR dispensaries in Eatontown, Union and Woodbridge expanded to sell adult weed.



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