September 29, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
With Oregon on the eve of becoming the third state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 has landed its first contract with a Beaver State cannabis retailer. The three-year pact it negotiated with Stoney Brothers in Portland sets starting wages at $15 an hour for cashiers, $20 for trimmers, and up to $32 for master cultivators, and it also guarantees paid holidays and vacation days, pension contributions, and health insurance.
"I'm stoked," said shift supervisor Hannah Poole, who will be getting $17 an hour under the contract. "Mainly because of the health insurance, but also the paid holidays and a decent wage." The union has signed neutrality agreements with about 45 pot-industry employers, said Local 555 secretary-treasurer Jeff Anderson. "Our goal is to have a couple thousand [workers] organized in the next five years," he said. "We want to create middle-class jobs out of these occupations, whether in the grow, medical, or recreational dispensing or topical factories." Read More