Clarity Cannabis Budtenders Organized and Won Big

Budtenders at Clarity Cannabis ratified their first collective agreement on February 25 that will usher in major wage and workplace improvements.

Clarity Cannabis budtenders became the first private dispensary workers in Canada to unionize when they joined UFCW 1518 in 2019. These workers came together to confront low wages, poor treatment, and a lack of benefits, training, and educational opportunities in the cannabis industry, forming the BCBUD division last year.

An overwhelming 85% of members voted in favour of the improvements. These workers negotiated their contract throughout the COVID-19 crisis and were the first private dispensary to earn Pandemic Pay for their essential work. They continually demonstrated unity and solidarity throughout the organizing and bargaining process to arrive at their new contract.

“I joined the union to help grow protections and benefits for workers looking to build a future doing what they love,” said budtender Emma Riderelli. With this newly ratified contract, workers at Clarity Cannabis have a bright future to look forward to in an industry they care about.

The Clarity Cannabis collective agreement features significant improvements and will secure more power for the workers. Some highlights of the contract include:

  • Wage Increases: All employees will receive a wage increase between $1.25 (7.8%) and $2.50 (16.6%) per hour.
  • Scheduled raises: New budtenders will start at $17.00 per hour and receive regular $0.25 pay increases up to $19.25. New supervisors will start at $17.50 with a top rate of $19.75.
    *As of ratification, no employee at unionized Clarity Cannabis locations will be making less than $17.25 per hour.
  • Lump Sums: A one-time, retroactive lump sum bonus that is estimated to be between $700-$2700.
  • Cannabis Sommelier Training: All employees who pass their probationary period and who work an average of 16 hours per week will be entitled to enroll in cannabis sommelier training to be paid for by the employer (up to $300). Workers will receive their regular hourly pay for all hours in the training program.
  • Tasting and Store Discount: Budtenders will be eligible to purchase up to 30 grams of non-medical cannabis per day at Liquor Distribution Branch prices (approximately 30% less than retail) for all new product strains that are on weekly special.
  • Benefits: All benefits will be restored for unionized Clarity Cannabis employees.
  • Paid Sick Days: For the first time, up to 5 paid sick days per year with no requirement to provide a doctor’s note.
  • Paid breaks:paid 30-minute meal break after 4 hours of work and a paid 15-minute break for shifts over 6 hours.
  • Certification and Licensing: Guaranteed, employer-paid reimbursement for all licensing and certification required for the selling of non-medical cannabis including Selling it Right and Worker Security Verification.
  • Increased Vacation:1-week increase in paid vacation for any employee with over 4 years of experience.
  • Uniforms: All unionized employees will be paid $0.07 per hour to help cover the costs of doing laundry. Budtenders will now have a say in any new uniform design!
  • Designated Days Off: Consecutive days off wherever possible including at least one weekend day.
  • First Joint Labour Management: For the first time, a committee of union members from the stores will be elected to meet with the employer regularly to address issues and to work together to make Clarity Cannabis a better place to work.
  • Guaranteed Scheduling and Close/Opens: Schedules at least 21 days before the first day of the workweek The employer has also agreed to eliminate scheduling employees to close and open the next day wherever possible.

This first collective agreement will remain in effect for one year following the date of ratification. UFCW 1518 can give notice to bargain four months from the end of the contract, enabling Clarity Cannabis budtenders to begin negotiating even more improvements as early as October 2021.

Budtenders and cannabis-industry workers interested in winning improvements at their workplace can join the BCBUD division of UFCW 1518 and learn more at ufcw1518.com/cannabis.

Cartems Workers Ratify their First Collective Agreement after Organizing for Better Conditions

Workers at Cartems Donuts in Vancouver voted in their first collective agreement on Friday. The contract will bring in exiting improvements to working conditions at the well-loved donut shops and build worker power at the stores.

Cartems workers joined UFCW 1518 in June 2020, after starting a worker-led organizing drive and participating in Canada’s first-ever online union certification vote. They worked together through an organizing and bargaining process that took place almost entirely online. The new contract is a testament to their solidarity and strength and demonstrates what workers can accomplish when they stand together.

The new contract features many strong improvements, including:

  • Scheduling three (3) weeks in advance
  • A written tip policy
  • Benefits with a set hours qualification
  • Establishment of seniority
  • A set probation period
  • Vacation language with time off and single day vacation selection
  • A mandatory 10-hour minimum rest period between shifts
  • Severance pay
  • And much more!

“These workers demonstrated the incredible power of organizing,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “By standing up together and demanding better, they have legally enshrined their rights in their contract and can continue to build on what they have negotiated today.”

If you are interested in learning how you can join a union and fight for better working conditions, go to ufcw1518.com/join-us.

Save On Foods Members Vote YES For New Contract!

Thousands of UFCW 1518 members at Save-On-Foods across BC voted overwhelmingly YES to ratify their new contract, bringing in many important improvements for thousands of workers.

“Our members have told us that these wage increases are life-changing,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “With this new contract, Save-On-Foods members are helping to set a new standard for the grocery industry in British Columbia, bringing thousands of workers closer to a living wage. And these increases are here to stay – they are not temporary through the pandemic.”

The wage increases that the new contract ushers in will put newly hired Save-On-Foods workers far ahead of BC’s minimum wage, with starting rates beginning in June 2021 at $16.20 per hour.

Union members already making the top rate at Save-On-Foods will receive lump-sum payments as high as $2,750 by April 2021 and will receive a wage increase next year before the contract expires in 2023.

The Save-On-Foods Bargaining Committee also negotiated improvements to mobility between stores, more vacation entitlement for long-term members, birth control coverage for staff and their eligible dependents, and increased job security.

Save-On-Foods members can see the full terms of their new contract here.

Member Engagement Leads to Contract Wins

The new contract was negotiated by a Bargaining Committee made up of Save-On-Foods members from various stores across the province and senior UFCW 1518 negotiators. Union members submitted more than 3,500 bargaining proposals through an online portal and engaged with the process through regular town-hall check-ins throughout the negotiations.

“The members really drove this agreement,” said Bargaining Committee member Erica Jones. “We consistently heard that broad wage increases for the lowest-paid Save-On-Foods members were the top priority, so that is what we fought for at the bargaining table.”

Record Voter Turnout as Thousands of Members Vote

Save-On-Foods members ratified the new contract in the highest voter turnout in the union’s history.

“Worker power is growing across North America, and this contract shows that engaged union members can accomplish incredible things,” said Novak. “Workers are standing up and fighting for better working conditions at places like Amazon warehouses, in precarious and gig employment, and in the tech sector, and they know that joining a union can help them accomplish their goals.”

If you are interested in joining a union or speaking to a union organizer, please contact us at ufcw1518.com/join-us.