Tacoma-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367 is leading the nation when it comes to pleasing pot smokers who have lately been looking in vain for the union label.
Consumers can now find just such a label on cannabis processed by the Tacoma firm Perma.
Where it comes to workers being represented by a union, “This represents the first recreational cannabis processor in the country,” said Local 367 communications director Nathe Lawver on Friday.
“The workers who made this product for the most part have better wages and better benefits than other folks in the industry,” he said.
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Although Perma is the first processor to unionize, Lawver said his local is working to organize at least 15 other firms.
He said the union plans to organize workers who are involved in the industry “from seed to sale” — meaning that those working as growers, processors and retail sales personnel would all be eligible for representation.
“We’re the only local in the state to have contracts with workers in the (recreational) cannabis industry,” Lawver said.
Some workers in the medicinal cannabis industry in states beyond Washington already enjoy union representation. Other Washington locals have also begun to organize east of the Cascades, Lawver said, but no contracts have been signed.
“We are pioneers in Washington for this industry,” said UFCW Local 367 President Denise Jagielo in a blog post last year.
“The cannabis industry continues to contribute to the economic vitality of Washington with safe, living-wage jobs for their workforce. Our work is only beginning, and we look forward to providing guidance and framework for safe, prosperous work in our state,” she said.
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535