After receiving national attention from progressive leaders like Bernie Sanders, workers at Cresco Labs’ Joliet, Illinois facility voted to organize with the United Food and Commercial Workers on Tuesday. The decision makes them the first cannabis workers in the state to have a union.
In a press statement, the workers’ new local president, UFCW Local 881’s Steve Powell said that his organization “is proud of these workers and looks forward to standing with them to negotiate a fair and just contract that will improve their working conditions.”
The Cresco workforce voted 58-32 to join UFCW.
Cresco Labs employs 562 employees in Illinois, and has two cultivation centers in the state as well as three currently operational dispensaries. It has plans to open five more retail locations. All total, it owns 23 production centers and 22 retail locations, with 1,180 employees.
Zach Koutsky, the legislative and political director for UFCW said that the company’s success, coupled with its relatively low pay structure, convinced workers that a union would be beneficial.
“The wages for such a profitable company are low,” he told a local news publication. “They have health care provided by the company, but it’s very expensive.”
The drive attracted its