Budtenders and Supervisors at the Trees Cannabis retail locations in Victoria, BC (Lekwungen Territory) have voted to join the BC Budtenders’ Union, and UFCW Local 1518.
As the cannabis industry adapts to legalization, and the business model changes, this is a critical time to shape how the industry will look for workers. Trees Cannabis has been at the forefront of change in this industry, and we know that improvements that we make to working conditions here will have a ripple effect on Victoria’s other cannabis retail businesses that have always followed close behind.
As budtenders, we want to be compensated for the skilled labour we provide. The costs of living in this city have skyrocketed, and it is becoming unreasonable to afford to live in Victoria. At the same time, there is a worry that as new business interests enter BC’s cannabis industry, they will push down wages and working conditions.
“We are required to have a deep understanding of the cannabis plant, and must provide compassionate customer service,” Kate, a Trees Cannabis supervisor, explained. “Working as a budtender is skilled and professional work. All budtenders should be paid a living wage, receive ongoing education, and have the collective bargaining power to shape how our work is done.”
Many of us were a part of this industry during the legacy market eras. We feel a strong connection to this work and the industry that was built from our labour. The cannabis sector has been largely represented by marginalized communities who risked criminal records in exchange for higher-wage work. Now that we see the legalization of the industry, it is incredibly important to us that budtending is safe for all workers, including the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities that make up the workforce, and properly accommodates and includes workers with various accessibility requirements.
At Trees Cannabis, budtenders and supervisors spent weeks having conversations amongst each other about the benefits of joining a union and voted in favour on June 18th, 2021. Trees Cannabis workers are looking forward to legally protected job security, access to education and benefits, and earning living wages so that there is a future in this industry that we can look forward to.
– Approved by the Trees Workers’ Organizing Committee
More and more budtenders are joining the BC Bud Union. Budtenders and cannabis-industry workers interested in winning improvements at their workplace can learn more and join at ufcw1518.com/cannabis.