Workers at the Cresco Labs marijuana grow facility in Joliet voted Tuesday to unionize, two weeks after recreational weed sales started in Illinois.
Workers at the facility voted 58 to 32 to be represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers union, said Zach Koutsky, legislative and political director for Local 881 UFCW.
“These workers made history tonight. This is precedent setting,” Koutsky said. “A lot of people were watching how this would go with a company of this size.”
The workers want higher wages, lower health care costs, more respect on the job and other requests, Koutsky said.
Some experts have long predicted that Illinois’ marijuana industry could become one of the largest in the country, and unlike in other industries, there are reasons why marijuana company owners might more easily accept unionized employees.
The state concluded its first round of applications earlier this month for 75 new dispensary licenses. More than 700 applicants submitted applications for those licenses, which are set to be awarded in May.
The state scores the applications, awarding points for a number of criteria, including their labor and employment practices. Applicants can get credit by entering into a labor peace agreement, in which a company agrees not to disrupt union efforts and a union agrees not to disrupt business. [Read More @ Chicago Tribune]