Medical cannabis workers’ new contract reflects industry growth

ufcw1189merge2smallWorkers at Minnesota Medical Solutions, one of two companies authorized by the state to produce medical cannabis, voted unanimously Jan. 12 to ratify a new union contract that reflects – and anticipates – growth in the industry.

The three-year pact includes annual wage increases, provides premium pay for lead positions and time spent training other workers, and expands the unit’s wage scale to provide more entry-level opportunities. Workers also won more holidays and paid time off, reimbursements for mileage and travel time, and affordable health-insurance coverage.

“We are proud and appreciate being able to provide exceptional medical cannabis to our patients in Minnesota,” union steward Nathan Noel said.

The new contract currently covers 11 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, who work as pharmacy technicians, growers, packagers and security receptionists. The bargaining unit has grown since Local 1189 organized the company’s three workers (and negotiated a first contract) in February 2015, and it will expand soon to include two more workers, Local 1189 President Jennifer Christensen said.

“What is really important is the employer’s commitment to full-time, living-wage, union jobs,” Christensen said. “Part-time jobs do exist, but as business expands and hours become available, those jobs are transformed into full-time.

“Minnesota Medical Solutions is leading the way nationally, and it shows in the quality of products and services that our members provide for the people of Minnesota.”

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