On May 2nd cannabis workers at CBN Holdings walked off the job to demand Union recognition with UFCW Local 555 as their representative. Workers at CBN Holdings want to form a union to address unsafe working conditions, however their employer has yet to respond to recognize the Union and agree to bargain a Union Contract. 

“CBN Holdings’ “response” to learning of a Unionization drive was to fire four employees who are actively trying to form a Union. As CBN Holdings is a grow operation, these workers have no government agency to appeal these unlawful terminations or to demand a fair election process. These workers have no choice but to refuse to work until their concerns are addressed,” commented Miles Eshaia, Communications Coordinator at UFCW 555. 

Recreational cannabis use and possession was legalized in the state of Oregon in July of 2016 for people over the age of 21. However, while Measure 91 made consuming cannabis legal in Oregon, workers at grow locations are left in legal limbo with no agency assigned to it to protect the workers involved.

“Oregon passed laws bringing cannabis operators in from the dark, providing rules and regulations to help to legitimize the industry. Oregon cannabis employees have been left without a legal process allowing them to address unsafe working conditions, insufficient pay, and lack of access to healthcare,” said Sandy Humphrey, Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 555, “Oregon’s cannabis growers also deserve a safe path to a better life.”

Additionally, UFCW Local 555 has called on cannabis dispensaries to boycott the sale of CBN Holdings’s products, sold as Cannabis Nation products throughout Oregon, until it recognizes its workers’ call for a union.

“Workers at CBN Holdings deserve not only recognition, but a fair contract that addresses concerns for their safety, retirement, health, and general welfare. CBN Holdings needs to agree to negotiate a fair contract for these agricultural workers who create product for one of Oregon’s fastest growing industries,” said Dan Clay, President of UFCW Local 555, “Unionization of the cannabis industry not only creates a better environment for workers and their families, but further pushes its need for federal recognition and legalization as a high priority. The right to form a union is more important now than ever before, and why UFCW 555 is calling for a boycott of CBN Holding’s products.”

This post originally appeared on UFCW 555’s blog.