Illinois cannabis company workers try to unionize before legalization begins

Illinois cannabis company workers try to unionize before legalization begins

Recreational cannabis is becoming legal in Illinois on January 1, but before that happens, a group of cannabis workers in Rock Island, Illinois are trying to unionize. Workers at Green Thumb Industries have gone through the process to unionize, but they’re now saying that the company hasn’t recognized their union, and continues to enforce unfair labor practices like lost benefits, not delivering on promised raises, and mandatory overtime. There are also complaints filed that the company wrongly polled and questioned its employees around the union effort.

So the employees decided to try and take their fight up a notch — they invaded a city council meeting in Rock Island to try and keep the city from providing tax breaks and other incentives to the company. Green Thumb has reportedly gotten an incentive package of over $800k, and the employees are asking the city to cut the incentives until the company recognizes their union.

Unfortunately, the city representatives (including the mayor) say that the company has delivered on its promises, and that “it’s not the city’s role to intervene in a private business like that.” So unfortunately, the city may not be able to apply the pressure that the unionizing workers want. Hopefully the issue can be settled in favor of the union — the cannabis industry will be better served when its employees are unionized and protected, and there have already been some good precedents set around unionizing in the emerging industry. Hopefully the workers at Green Thumb will find some way to get their union recognized and respected by their employers.

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