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Westword: Don’t Hold Your Breath for Marijuana Workers Union

How the Move to Unionize Cannabis Workers Stalled in Colorado

BY JOEL WARNER OF DENVER WESTWORD

April 4, 2016, was a big day for Matt Hobson — and it was very nearly a big day for Colorado’s cannabis industry.

That was the day that 29-year-old Hobson and other employees at Pueblo West Organics, a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary in Pueblo West, a municipal district just outside of Pueblo, presented their manager with a request for collective bargaining at their morning staff meeting.

Hobson and his colleagues were upset that wages were capped at forty hours a week, with no overtime pay. They were frustrated that management had begun taking the store’s tip-jar money without posting the public notice required of Colorado employers who collect gratuities.

According to Hobson, he hadn’t been given a vacation day or any other employment benefits since he’d started working at the business nearly a year earlier. “I was there for maybe a month before I started thinking this was an industry that needed a union,” Hobson recalls.

In March 2016, Hobson had finally contacted UFCW Local 7, the Colorado and Wyoming-based chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which he’d heard was trying to organize cannabis workers. With the help of a union organizer, Hobson persuaded seven of the shop’s ten employees to sign a collective-bargaining petition, the first step in organizing a company’s workers. The next step, he hoped, would be an employee election officially recognizing the union. Organizers believed that if it all worked out, Pueblo West Organics would be the first unionized marijuana business in Colorado.

Instead, everything fell apart.

Read the full article How the Move to Unionize Cannabis Workers Stalled in Colorado by clicking here.

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