The BC Budtender Union is growing fast as workers at Seed & Stone and the Original FARM vote to join.
A division of UFCW 1518, the BC Budtender Union now represents cannabis workers at seven locations across British Columbia. UFCW 1518 has organized workers at Clarity Cannabis, Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club (VCBC), Burnside Buds, and Trees Cannabis. Cannabis growing operation, Potanicals Green Growers in Peachland, BC, is also a part of the union.
Budtenders have been reaching out to UFCW 1518 since 2020 seeking to build more power and respect at work. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, more and more workers have been feeling left behind. Cannabis dispensaries have sprung up across BC since weed was legalized in 2018. However, the workers—essential frontline employees in the COVID-19 pandemic—have not seen an equal share of the profits.
“I’m really glad that I’m not alone in the eyes of the corporation I’m working for now,” said Seed & Stone Budtender Zach Wedderburn. “When you’re an employee it’s a lot more beneficial to be part of a union because there’s a lot more equality and equity.”
BUDTENDERS LOOKING FORWARD TO CONTRACT BARGAINING
With these two new workplaces, the BC Budtender Union will continue growing and building worker power in the cannabis sector. BC Bud members have already gained significant improvements in their jobs, negotiating first contracts that include:
- Cannabis sommelier training paid for by the employer
- Industry-leading wages and regularly-scheduled raises
- Employer-paid certification and licensing
- Weed tasting and store discounts of up to 30% off
- And more: read about the first contract at Clarity Cannabis to learn more
Workers at Seed & Stone and Farm are looking forward to beginning the bargaining process and making improvements at their workplaces. “In bargaining, a living wage is one of our top priorities,” said Wedderburn, “but we’re also looking forward to improved communication and more smoothness in day-to-day operations. We all care about this business running well, but we’re looking for our employer to meet us halfway.”
In addition to organizing cannabis retail locations and fighting for wage increases, UFCW 1518 has also fought back against unfair firings in the cannabis industry. In November, the union took the case of an illegally fired budtender to the Labour Relations Board, helping the worker get his job back.
Budtenders looking to learn more about the benefits of joining a union can learn more at ufcw1518.com/cannabis.