Marijuana Production Workers Join Growing Cannabis Union

A marijuana flower bud drying room. Forty employees at a cannabis production facility in Holliston had voted to join UFCW Local 1445. Photo: Shutterstock

BOSTON – UFCW Local 1445 has added another marijuana dispensary to its roster, with the union announcing on Wednesday that 40 employees at the Mayflower Medicinals production facility in Holliston had voted to join the union.

The facility, which is owned by iAnthus Capital Holdings, joins the 60 employees at New England Treatment Access’s Franklin cultivation facility, which voted to join the union on July 1.

According to a release, the union claimed employees wanted to unionize given a lack of adequate health coverage, slow responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and a lack of consistent treatment from management.

“The entire process has tested everyone’s resolve, but we came through in the end and are ecstatic with the result,” said Dave Schermerhorn, a Mayflower employee, in a release.

An iAnthus spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

United Food and Commercial Workers, which bills itself as the largest U.S. private-sector union, represents 1.3 million people who work in marijuana shops, grocery stores, retail, and meatpacking and food-processing facilities.

The union said in a statement that it is looking forward to negotiating its first contract for the employees.

“More Massachusetts cannabis workers will have an opportunity to ensure the beginnings of this industry, and the working conditions in all these facilities are equitable and standardized,” Local 1445 Secretary Treasurer and Organizing Director, Fabricio DaSilva, said in a statement.

UFCW Local 1445 has filed petitions with the state to represent workers at Cultivate in Leicester. Local 328 won an election at a Curaleaf dispensary in Hanover.

In November 2019, Sira Naturals became the first Massachusetts marijuana company with unionized employees. Roughly 115 employees are covered under an agreement between Sira Naturals and UFCW Local 114, according to MassLive.