In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, Robin Abcarian reported on the leadership role of cannabis workers in professionalizing the cannabis industry through their union, the United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW).
As California leaders come closer to solidifying a regulatory path for recreational cannabis under Prop. 64, the Times’ story underscores how a professional workforce with core union worker protections are crucial to a safe, competitive marketplace for consumers and good jobs for communities.
- Training: The UFCW’s apprenticeship program provides budtenders “training — on safety, packaging, patient verification and best business practices.”
- Diversity: “apprenticeships will help level the playing field for the folks who have been penalized the most by the failed war on drugs. ‘This will be an opportunity for people of color to really thrive, because it’s the skills that will get you there, not your gender or color,’” UFCW’s Jeff Ferro told the times.
- Good jobs: “I reached out to the union because I wanted to solidify my staff wages and benefits,” dispensary owner David Spradling said. Spralding’s “employees start at $13 an hour and get bumped to $15 after 90 days. They receive health benefits, and will eventually participate in the UFCW’s pension plan as well.”
*photo: Shayna Schonauer, 27, is California’s first-ever state-certified cannabis pharmacy technician. (Robin Abcarian / Los Angeles Times)