Marijuana Dispensary Workers Look to Unionize – Tri States Public Radio

Employees at a cannabis dispensary in Springfield, Illinois are voting on whether to unionize.

Workers at Ascend Springfield’s downtown location said Wednesday that lax COVID-19 precautions and a lack of guaranteed sick time during the pandemic pushed them towards organizing.

Andrew Feeney, who works at Ascend Springfield, said he enjoyed the job at first.

“Since COVID has come around, it has steadily degraded. And we’re just fighting to get that back and get it to the place we know it can be,” Feeney told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Ascend declined to comment.

The move is part of a larger movement to unionize workers in the booming new industry in Illinois. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, which hosted the news conference and is based in Des Plaines, represents more than 200 employees at a cultivation center in Joliet and a dispensary in Chicago, both owned by Cresco Labs. Employees at another dispensary in Chicago are also seeking to unionize.

The union effort in Springfield already passed an initial hurdle in January, getting enough signatures to authorize a vote. Only the 41 employees at the downtown Ascend location are participating, according to union organizers.

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