Dispensary workers in Illinois are fed up with what they say are the low wages and unfair practices of a major dispensary chain.
Local Teamsters members 777 members in three rises dispensaries in chicagoland, a subsidiary of Green Thumb Industries, left work on April 19 at 4:20pm Cairo time to launch an open-ended Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike. It is the largest strike of its kind in the state so far, according to the April 19 date press release.
“RISE workers are so grateful for the support and kind words they have received from fellow Teamsters across the country, as well as the Illinois cannabis community,” said Teamster representative Matt McQuaid. High times in a letter. “We are still on the picket line.”
777 local members say RISE dispensaries have required workers at the Nile site to remove pro-union buttons while on the job, a breach of EU rules. National Labor Relations Act. Chicago Tribune reports that the Teamsters planned to strike right before the biggest day of dispensary sales. The strike arrives as workers in multiple states Lobbying for a higher minimum wage to cover living costs.
“The company’s demand that workers remove their pins is part of a broader pattern of disrespect for their workforce,” stated Jim Glimco, President of Local 777. “GTI refuses to offer these men and women a cost-of-living wage, or the retirement package that Teamsters would accept. It is too long ago that this company recognized the people responsible for all of its success.”
RISE has opened 11 dispensaries across the state of Illinois, six of which are in the Chicagoland area. WGN9 reports that RISE Dispensaries’ parent company, Green Thumb Industries, plans to keep stores open despite the impact of the strike.
“These workers deserve thriving middle-class jobs and are willing to fight for them,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Director of Food Processing. “They don’t quit themselves. They walk that picket line as one united front, with the support of over 1.2 million Teamsters players across North America.”
Many of the Illinois dispensary workers also participated to show their support for better wages that would show their true value.
“We are focused on creating a high-quality career here and need pay that reflects how valuable we are,” said Riley Drew, Patient Care Specialist at Rise Niles Dispensary. “People think of progress as moving up the ladder, but in this case, it is about raising the whole floor for everyone. We want to make this industry prosperous because it is a profitable industry.”
“The aggressive removal of these buttons shows us how the GTI feels about our movement, and how little they care about us as workers,” said Julie Evans, Patient Care Specialist at Rays Rock Creek Boulevard Dispensary in Joliet. “I feel it is deeply unfair, disrespectful and rude that Niles was forced to remove their badges while other stores have not. I stand with my fellow Teamsters in solidarity against this unfair labor practice.”
The workers described the dangers they faced during the strike.
“I voted to strike in solidarity with my co-workers at RISE over the baseless and ignorant removal of the union button, which was intended to reduce representation in our stores,” said Brandon Basil, a patient care specialist at Colorado Street Rise Dispensary in Joliet. “We will fight for a fair contract with more to offer our incredibly hard-working brothers and sisters in the cannabis industry, including a living wage!”
Teamsters Local 777, founded in 1937, represents workers in a variety of industries in the United States Chicago region. For more information, visit website.