July 3, 2015
By Diane Cohen
New York, NY – 1199SEIU, America's largest healthcare Union, and Columbia Care LLC one of the nation's leading manufacturer and distributor of medical marijuana products and services have announced the formation of a strategic partnership in New York State and Massachusetts. The agreement opens the way for workers to form a union in an industry that is expected to employ thousands of workers across the United States.
"The mission of 1199SEIU members is always to provide the highest quality, compassionate care to our patients and advocate for good jobs for all working people. This agreement is an important first step to assuring employees in the medical marijuana industry have the right to form a union and can enjoy the protections and benefits of unionized workers," said George Gresham, the President of 1199SEIU. "Once again, Columbia Care has affirmed its position as the market leader by proactively building bridges with the labor movement and working families. Columbia Care is one of the most experienced and professional national organizations and its leadership will serve as an example for the rest of the industry to follow. Columbia Care's commitment to serving patients' medical needs is consistent with our key mission of improving and expanding the quality of patient care."
Columbia Care has applied to New York State for a license to operate one medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility and four medical marijuana dispensary facilities. If granted a license, the Company's operations across the State would create more than 470 jobs.
Columbia Care's investment in New York is contingent upon the awarding of a state medical marijuana license in accordance with the Compassionate Care Act that passed last year legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. The award of licenses is expected to be announced by New York State in late July.
Mr. Gresham has announced that 1199SEIU had given its endorsement of Columbia Care in the Company's application for a medical marijuana license in New York State. The union indicated its support in a recent letter to the State Department of Health that it is, "…placing the full weight of its resources behind Columbia Care's application."
In response to the endorsement, Columbia Care's CEO, Nicholas Vita, said: "We are honored by the trust, confidence and support that 1199SEIU is investing in us and this partnership. 1199SEIU stands out as an organization on the front line of healthcare with its members providing high quality medical services to the sick, the infirm and the elderly. We are grateful and excited to have the support of such a highly experienced, esteemed and respected partner as we work together towards our joint goal of enhancing the quality of life for large numbers of Americans and their communities."