Budtenders at a cannabis store in East Vancouver are the industry’s first to unionize in the region.
They’re asking for more pay, respect and benefits to reflect the high-level training for which they got hired.
Last week, the “cannaseurs” at Eggs Canna on East Hastings voted to join the BC Budtenders Union, a division of UFCW 1518.
The union’s secretary-treasurer Patrick Johnson said he sees the move as proof that workers can be heard and guide a whole industry.
“Profiteers obviously jumped to stake their claim and capitalize on this new market,” Johnson said in a statement Monday.
“But they weren’t the only ones to move quick. From the moment the first shops started opening in Victoria, frontline staff were looking for ways to improve their working conditions and to have a say in how the industry was run,” he explains.
Johnson says he sees the Eggs Canna success as an opening for more workers in the area to unionize, especially growers in large-scale private greenhouses and outdoor growing operations.
At every step along the cannabis supply chain, workers deserve a voice, he continues.
“Everyone that works with cannabis plays an integral role in its production process. From its growth to its distribution, sale, delivery, and eventually consumption, pot must serve everyday people. Workers can ensure it does by unionizing.”
In January, B.C. budtenders at The Original Farm on Hillside in Victoria unionized to address issues around staffing, turnover and job security. This is the second store under the same brand to join UFCW 1518.
The union represents workers in retail, grocery stores, food production, homecare and other weed industry workers including growers at Potanicals in Peachland.
Mugglehead reached out to Eggs Canna for comment, but didn’t hear back by publication time.