In recent years, the legalization of marijuana has led to the opening of many dispensaries across the United States. Chicago is no exception, with a growing number of dispensaries opening their doors to customers. However, the rise of dispensaries has also led to some labor disputes, including a recent strike by dispensary workers who are members of the Teamsters union.
The strike began on May 23, 2021, when workers at the Rise dispensary in Niles, Illinois walked off the job. The workers, who are members of Teamsters Local 777, were protesting what they claimed were unfair labor practices by the dispensary’s management. The workers alleged that they were being denied fair wages, benefits, and working conditions, and that the dispensary was engaging in union-busting tactics.
The strike quickly spread to other Rise dispensaries in the Chicago area, with workers at several locations joining the picket lines. The workers were supported by other labor unions, as well as by local politicians and community activists who spoke out in support of their cause.
The Rise dispensary chain is owned by Green Thumb Industries (GTI), one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States. GTI has been accused of union-busting in the past, and the Teamsters have been working to organize workers at the company’s dispensaries for several years.
The strike lasted for several weeks, with workers picketing outside the dispensaries and calling for a boycott of GTI’s products. The company responded by hiring replacement workers and claiming that the strike was illegal, but the workers remained steadfast in their demands for fair treatment.
In the end, the strike was settled when GTI agreed to recognize the workers’ union and negotiate a contract with them. The workers returned to their jobs with improved wages, benefits, and working conditions, and the strike was hailed as a victory for labor rights in the cannabis industry.
The Rise dispensary teamsters strike highlights the challenges facing workers in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. As more dispensaries open across the country, it is important that workers are able to organize and demand fair treatment from their employers. The success of the Teamsters’ strike shows that when workers stand together and fight for their rights, they can achieve meaningful change.