WE'RE YOUR CANNABIS UNION
A socially just cannabis industry is possible. We're here to make it happen.
About BC BUD
In 2020, a group of cannabis budtenders working in the Victoria area came together to confront low wages, poor treatment, and a lack of benefits, training and educational opportunities. These budtenders were passionate about helping people, but wanted more fairness in the workplace and safer working conditions. That’s how BCBUD was born, as an avenue for cannabis workers to fight back!
After the budtenders joined UFCW 1518 in February of 2019, they became the first dispensary workers in Canada to unionize and BCBUD became a division of 1518. Now with the power of the largest private sector union in BC behind it, BCBUD seeks to bring industry-wide protections to help grow opportunities and security for budtenders and other cannabis processing professionals like farmers, bakers, and edibles producers.
I work in this industry because I care about my customers’ health and happiness. While I am passionate about helping people find the right product and cannabis strains to meet their needs, at the same time, I need a decent wage and some security to keep me going. That is why I started organizing with my co-workers to build the first private sector Budtenders Union in BC."
Legal cannabis is a game changer for recreational users struggling with health conditions and working in a cannabis retail store is one way I can combine my love of cannabis with my desire to help people. Unfortunately, the pay is just not there and educational opportunities are few and far between. I joined the union to help grow protections and benefits for workers looking to build a future doing what they love.
- Grow Opportunity: Op-ed – Why we unionized
- Mugglehead: Victoria private cannabis workers first to unionize in Canada
- Toronto Star: Victoria pot dispensary workers hope a union can help them get recognized as ‘sommeliers’
- Clarity Cannabis Budtenders Organized and Won Big
- Cann Central: Union grows ranks in cannabis industry of B.C.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1518 is British Columbia’s largest private-sector union with more than 24,000 members in British Columbia and the Yukon. UFCW 1518 has offices located in New Westminster, Kelowna and Victoria and represents workers in Retail, Food Processing, Healthcare and Professional Services. We represent workers at Save-On-Foods, Safeway, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Cineplex, Rogers Foods, Community Connections, just to name a few.
In February of 2020, UFCW 1518 became the first union in Canada to unionize dispensary workers. The formation of BC Bud as a division of UFCW 1518 is part of our initiative to bring fairness to the cannabis industry and build worker power.
Union members get to decide what changes they want to make to their workplace. As your union, UFCW 1518 will negotiate with your employer on your behalf based on contract proposals that you come up with democratically. Here are some of the benefits that we have been negotiating for budtenders at other cannabis retail stores:
- Better Wages – A union can negotiate a fair wage scale that provides workers with regular pre-approved wage increases! No need to ask for a raise anymore, they are guaranteed.
- Education – Being a budtender is a skilled job that requires certification and ongoing education. A union will bring your proposals to the bargaining table to have your employer financially support education and training initiatives like Budtender Sommelier courses and government certification programs.
- Scheduling and Consistency – With a union, you will have a contract that will set out required notice periods for scheduling. The number of hours of work can be negotiated through bargaining and put into the collective agreement to ensure that there is consistency of hours and advanced warning for schedule changes.
- Uniforms – A union can work to negotiate uniform standards that are consistent and fair for everyone.
- Professional advocacy and support – With a union, workers are not left on their own to deal with management. Union members have access to union representatives, labour lawyers, and Workers Compensation lawyers, as well as any other consultation your union determines is needed to help you solve your issues at work.
- Enforceable Employment Contact – All unionized workplaces have a mutually agreed upon employment contract known as a collective agreement. This collective agreement will secure the working conditions workers have today as well as all the improvement made during negotiation. Your employer is legally obligated to negotiate with your union in “good faith.”
- Fair treatment – The fight for fairness starts with workers gaining the power to change their working environment. Coming together with your fellow budtenders will give you all the power to make your jobs better for you and those who come after you. We are stronger together!
Securing what you have today into a legally binding contract ensures that what you like about your job stays that way even if there is a change of management and even ownership. Belonging to a union also creates a support network: stewards, union representatives, negotiators and lawyers will be there to ensure you get fair treatment at work.
No. It is illegal to fire workers for supporting a union. However, in the unlikely event that a supporter is unfairly terminated because of their support for joining UFCW 1518, we will hire a lawyer to represent supporters at no cost to them. We will not tolerate any employer violating workers’ rights to form a union.
Every British Columbian has the right to join a union. The unionizing process is designed by the government to be 100% confidential. Here's what you need to do to join UFCW 1518:
- Connect with Us Confidentially
Use our contact form or call us at 1-888-581-1518.
We will get back to you as soon as possible to answer your questions about joining a union.
Know that once you start the process of unionizing, your job is protected by the BC Labour Relations Board.
- Union Support Cards
Working with staff from our union, you and the majority of your co-workers (45%) sign a support card indicating you would like the BC Labour Relations Board to hold a unionization vote at your workplace.
This process is confidential. Your employer will never have the right to know who did or did not sign. Your employer cannot legally take action against anyone for signing a card.
- Secret Ballot Vote
When a majority of your co-workers have signed a union card, the BC Labour Relations Board will hold a secret ballot vote to form a union at your workplace.
Vote “Yes” to join the union!
There is no cost to join until your first collective agreement is voted in. Once you start benefiting from it, your dues will be no more than 2% of your earnings. Since unions are non-profit organizations, your dues are 100% tax deductible. The higher wages, rights and benefits that come with unionization are well worth the small cost associated with participating!
GET IN TOUCH
Have more questions about BCBUD? Need support at work? Send us a message! Any information you share with us is kept 100% confidential.
GET IN TOUCH: