Drivers and budtenders at Ascend Cannabis Provisions in Michigan have overwhelmingly ratified their first contract with Teamsters Local 406.
It is the second collective bargaining agreement in the Michigan cannabis industry that the Teamsters have ratified, and the first in the Western part of the state.
The agreement features significant improvements, including an immediate raise with a three percent wage increase for all workers each following year, guaranteed gratuities and increased transparency around the way they are distributed, guaranteed discounts, seniority, protections from unjust termination and discipline, enhanced safety for drivers, and more paid time off.
“Michigan is the frontline of the labor movement, and this contract is proof that workers are sharp, energetic, tenacious in the organizing of new industries,” said Ellis Wood, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 406. “These young men and women took on a multi-state operator with billions of dollars and won. They are a critical component of a nationwide fight for a better tomorrow in this craft.”
“I have total faith that the profit-generating workers in cannabis — the ones who sell, harvest, and deliver the product — have what it takes to seize what they deserve. They will make cannabis a prosperous, middle-class career,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Food Processing Division Director. “Critical victories like this one keep happening throughout the country. This contract is the gust of wind before the tornado of new organizing in the state.”
“Conditions can be so much better for everybody if we all just show some solidarity,” said Adam Mosher, an Ascend delivery driver who served a critical role on the bargaining committee. “There’s such an opportunity in cannabis, especially in Michigan, to gain ground in the labor movement before the industry gets out of control. Before the massive CEO to worker pay gaps. I think we have some momentum, and we have the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot to take back what’s ours. Now is the time.”
Founded in 1933, Teamsters Local 406 represents over 7,000 members at over 200 locations in Michigan, from the Greater Grand Rapids area to Saginaw and north to the Upper Peninsula.
Late last month labor unions in Illinois and New Jersey declared victories in contract disputes that impacted dozens of employees. Earlier that month dozens of workers in California and Missouri’s legal marijuana industry voted to unionize for the first time.