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Cannabis agricultural workers at Cultivate in Leicester vote to unionize – masslive.com

Workers at Cultivate Holdings’ cultivation facility in Leicester have voted to unionize.

The workers at the facility – one of the first two recreational marijuana stores to open for adult-use sales on the East Coast – will join United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445, according to a news release.

“This is just not a victory for cannabis workers at Cultivate, but for all cannabis workers. We’ve set a precedent by working collectively that enables us not only to survive but to thrive,” said Craig Chaplin, a Cultivate employee.

Only the agricultural employees at Cultivate voted to unionize, officials said, but there is an ongoing campaign to organize retail workers.

Cultivate employees were motivated to unionize and improve working conditions through collective bargaining, to achieve standardization of their relationship with management and access to adequate health coverage, according to the news release.

“I’m very happy about this union because it feels good to believe in this job as a long-term career, especially now that the industry has been classified as essential. I want to grow in my job while we grow in the field,” said Cultivate employee, Amy Hopkinson.

Local 1445 is among the largest affiliates of the UFCW in Massachusetts, which represents tens of thousands of workers in the state.

Tuesday’s vote by Cultivate workers is the first to organize Massachusetts cannabis agricultural workers.

“The UFCW applauds Cultivate for its commitment to [agricultural] workers and is justifiably encouraged by their inclusion as part of those workers who will benefit from organizing this emerging industry,” said UFCW Local 1445 Secretary-Treasurer Fabricio DaSilva.

In July, about 60 members of NETA’s cultivation facility in Franklin voted to join UFCW Local 1445, the union previously announced.

Employees at Mayflower Medicinals in Holliston joined UFCW Local 1445 in early July, the union said.

More than 100 workers at Sira Naturals in Milford, Needham and Somerville in 2019 became the first in Massachusetts’ cannabis industry to unionize, joining UFCW Local 1445.

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