UFCW secures its first union contract for cannabis workers in Oregon
Oregon’s first unionized cannabis dispensary had its grand opening July 15 in a newly-renovated storefront at 7827 SE Powell Boulevard in Portland. A three-year contract between United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 and Stoney Brothers LLC spells out wages that start at $15 an hour for cashiers, $20 an hour for trimmers, and up to $32 an hour for master cannabis cultivators. The contract also provides paid holidays and vacation days, pension contributions of 75 cents an hour, and employer-paid health insurance offered through the union’s multi-employer trust.
“I’m really hoping this spreads to other dispensaries all over Oregon,” said Stoney Brothers employee Kyle Maestas.
The union contract covers just three employees now, but Stoney Brothers has expansion plans. Company president Trevor Reed says a second location is slated to open within a few months at 193 Marine Drive in Astoria. And grow, processing, extract and wholesale operations will follow.
Reed owns a similar vertically integrated cannabis company in New Mexico — Natural Rx — which is also UFCW-represented. Natural Rx has medical marijuana dispensaries in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, plus a grow and processing operation. In Oregon, Reed says he’s one of 10 partners in Stoney Brothers LLC, along with New Mexico’s former Republican governor Gary Johnson, CEO of Nevada-based Cannabis Sativa Inc.
Reed, once a member of Iron Workers Local 495 in Albuquerque, said he views the relationship with UFCW as a partnership. It was Reed who contacted the union, at the suggestion of a friend. UFCW has been part of efforts to legalize marijuana in Oregon and elsewhere, and the union has a new division devoted to marijuana and hemp workers known as Cannabis Workers Rising.
Stoney Brothers displays union signage, and offers a 10 percent discount to union members. Currently, customers must have a medical marijuana card, but starting Oct. 1, Oregon’s licensed medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to sell to any adult 21 and over.