Thus far the cannabis industry has had relatively amicable relations with organized labor, especially in California.
Two recent developments suggest that may be changing:
- Representatives from three unions sent a letter to Sacramento’s Democratic Lawmakers asking them to shut the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) out of future political negotiations “for the time being.”
- The letter was triggered by a CCIA white paper which advised its business members that unionizing employees can lead to “decreased flexibility and increased costs.”
- The unions — a branch of the United Food and Commercial Workers, two Teamster locals and the California Labor Federation — called it “a piece of anti-union literature.”
- CCIA executive director Lindsay Robinson said the paper was not supposed to be anti-union. “We retract any statements that may have been misleading,” she said in a statement. “This document does not reflect priorities in our legislative platform, nor our guiding policies.”
- While it’s not yet clear if the fallout will be substantial, Adam Spiker, executive director of industry group Southern California Coalition, called it an “unforced error” by CCIA. “Labor has been a partner with local and state government much longer than regulated cannabis,” he added
Separately, The Daily Beast reports on a group called ProTech Local 33 which calls itself a union but “looks like a front group for bosses.”
Reporter Chris Roberts writes:
- “Privately, labor officials have suggested … ProTech, is a business-friendly front meant to help companies meet state labor requirements without ever intending to allow workers to organize. Indeed, ProTech appeared to dance very close to the definition of “a company union”—ersatz worker organizations set up by management to crush organizing efforts before they can begin—which have been banned under federal labor law since the 1930s.”
- “This union has never ever been found guilty of anything,” the group’s head said.
- Business Insider is tallying layoffs — now about 2,000 total — across the industry.