About

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. But we’re not done fighting for fairness for retail workers. We are always ready to stand at your side and help you get the respect you deserve at work. Learn more [link] about the benefits of joining a union and becoming a part of the UFCW 1518 retail division below.

quote image
quote image

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.


Adelaide Wilder, Budtender at Clarity Cannabis

quote image
quote image

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.


Emma Riderelli, Cannabis consultant at Clarity Cannabis

Objectives

Fair wages


Budtenders deserve fair wages for the professionalism they put into their work. BCBUD seeks to put in place pay increases for our members and regularly scheduled raises to keep up with inflation.

Job Security

Our members are committed to the cannabis industry and to helping people. We are seeking long-term job security for our members and better recognition of seniority.

Benefits

We seek to gain more benefits like paid breaks, employee appreciation events, a cell phone fee for work-related use, and employer-provided first aid training.

Respect

Cannabis workers take their jobs seriously and they deserve respect from management. We advocate for advanced scheduling for our members, written contracts, and written changes to hours in advance.

Safety & Security

You need a safe work environment. We advocate for mandatory safety training for new employees, guaranteed security at entrances, and emergency exits in all new cannabis locations.

Education & Training

Budtenders are dedicated to professional development. We are seeking Sommelier training, yearly dispensary tours, lectures on growing and curing methods, and education on emerging cannabis trends for our members.

Myth

Management will know if I signed a union card or voted to join the union.

Fact

Management will never know who signed cards or how you voted – the process is 100% confidential. We will never tolerate retaliation against workers who are in favour of unionizing.

Myth

Union dues are expensive.

Fact

Union dues are no more than 2% of your wages and are 100% tax-deductible. You won’t pay one cent until you vote in your first collective agreement. No benefits, no dues.

Myth

I won’t be able to speak directly with management if we join a union.

Fact

This is not true. The union only steps in when a worker requests help. Union workers have a stronger voice and more respect, ensuring that their concerns are heard.

Myth

Unions just protect lazy workers.

Fact

There are no union contracts requiring an employer to keep lazy or incompetent workers. We protect workers against unjust dismissals and arbitrary discipline.

Myth

If we vote to join the union, I’ll lose the benefits that I have now.

Fact

The union will always fight to keep what you have and add the things that you care about. You will be able to negotiate for more!

Myth

Joining a union will make our work schedules less flexible.

Fact

Scheduling does not have to change if you don’t want it to. We can help negotiate a flexible schedule into a legally binding contract that will not change with new management or owners.

Myth

If we vote to join the union, we will go on strike.

Fact

Strikes are very rare. You have control over strikes through a vote – a majority of your co-workers must be in favour to launch a strike. If that happens, we will provide you with strike pay.

Myth

The company will shut down if we unionize and I’ll lose my job.

Fact

It is illegal to close a workplace because the employees decide to join a union. No successful business will shut down because the workers decide to organize.

News

View all posts
post image

Workers at Trees Cannabis Vote to Join the BC Budtenders’ Union

Read more

post image

UFCW 1518 Welcomes Cannabis Industry Workers from the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club

Read more

post image

Clarity Cannabis Budtenders Organized and Won Big

Read more

post image

Clarity Cannabis, first in BC to bring back pandemic pay

Read more

post image

Budtenders Become Essential Service Workers During COVID-19

Read more

post image

Cannabis: First unionized private dispensary workers achieve premium pay!

Read more

post image

UFCW 1518 first to unionize cannabis dispensary workers in Canada

Read more

post image

Clarity Cannabis: VOTE YES this Thursday, February 13!

Read more

FAQ

Who is UFCW 1518?

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1518 is British Columbia’s largest private-sector union with more than 26,000 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, Clarity Cannabis, and Trees Cannabis, 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.

How will a union make my job better?

Union members have the power of collective bargaining. Rather than negotiating with the employer on your own, you will have the power of the union and your co-workers behind you. Bargaining proposals around wages, benefits, scheduling, and other issues come from the membership, who decide what they will fight for together with the help of union staff.

Once you have voted in your first contract, your union helps to enforce that agreement. We will help you set up a Joint Labour-Management committee so you will have a say in how your workplace is run. We will train your Shop Stewards and Health and Safety Committee Members to solve problems in the workplace and prevent them from escalating. If necessary, we will engage our legal team to protect the integrity of your collective agreement and ensure your employer is following all labour laws.

I’m happy with the way things are now. Why do I need a union?

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.

How do I join 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:

1) 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.

2) Sign 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.

3) 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!