Cresco Labs Workers Opt Out of Union Amid Dispute Over Wages and Dues

Reports reveal that employees at Cresco Labs, one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies, have chosen to depart from their union amidst disagreements over pay and union fees.

According to MJBizDaily, workers at a Cresco Labs facility in Fall River, Massachusetts, voted to de-unionize earlier this month. This development marks what is believed to be the first instance in the U.S. cannabis industry of a regulated workplace exiting organized labor. These employees, who joined the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 328 in November 2020, opted out of the union as their initial contract neared expiration in June. The decision stemmed from dissatisfaction with wage increases that failed to match inflation and perceived inferior benefits compared to nonunion colleagues.

Wyatt Brissette, a Cresco employee, highlighted that the union’s offerings did not align with their needs, leading them to discontinue their membership. The departure underscores a broader challenge within unionized sectors, particularly emerging ones like cannabis, where bridging the gap between union efforts and member expectations remains elusive.

The move prompts a critical reevaluation of union strategies across industries, urging unions to adapt to the evolving demands of workers in non-traditional fields like cannabis. For Cresco Labs, addressing employee concerns directly may necessitate updates to human resource policies and engagement strategies.

Cresco Labs, touted as one of the largest publicly traded cannabis companies in the U.S., has seen fluctuations in its stock prices and business strategies. Last year, the company called off a planned $2 billion merger with Columbia Care, citing strategic considerations amid industry dynamics.

Charles Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, emphasized the company’s commitment to enhancing competitiveness and driving efficiencies amid challenging market conditions. Similarly, Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care, expressed confidence in the companies’ separate trajectories, highlighting strategic initiatives to bolster profitability and resilience.

Additionally, the termination of agreements to divest assets in certain states signifies a strategic shift for both companies, signaling their intent to focus on internal growth and operational optimization.

As Cresco Labs and Columbia Care navigate industry shifts and internal restructuring, the cannabis landscape continues to evolve, posing new challenges and opportunities for industry players.


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