June 6, 2014
Agreement Sets New Standards, Raises Floor for Cannabis Industry Workers
Oakland,CA –Workers at Bhang Chocolate, a cannabis chocolate company in Oakland, Calif., voted overwhelmingly yesterday to ratify their first union contract, becoming members of the 33,000 member-strong United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5, which is based in San Jose, Calif.
“We’re working towards a better future and this new contract is just the beginning,” said Beny Valencio, a chocolatier who has worked at Bhang Chocolate for more than two years.
Among other significant gains and protections for workers in the cannabis industry, the newly ratified contract provides for wage increases, employer health care contributions, paid sick leave and vacation benefits.
UFCW Local 5 members work primarily in retail grocery and meat processing with growing numbers employed in department stores, retail drug stores, candy stores, jewelry stores, agriculture and food processing, wholesale meat, seafood processing, financial services, education and the cannabis industry among others.
“This union contract means everyone at Bhang Chocolate has a voice and everyone will be heard,” said Becky Strider who has worked as a packer at Bhang Chocolate for the past four years.
In the United States and Canada, UFCW is the union for workers in the cannabis and hemp industries. UFCW members in the cannabis industry work predominantly in dispensaries, coffee shops, bakeries, patient identification centers, hydroponics stores, and growing and training facilities.
Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., Bhang Chocolate, an award-winning cannabis chocolate company, is the premier medically infused chocolate company.
UFCW Local 5 is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. Visit cannabisworkers.org or Facebook.com/CannabisWorkers to learn more about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights in the cannabis and hemp industries.