Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW is proud to represent several hundred men and women working in New York’s cannabis industry in a variety of different roles, including cultivation, manufacturing and processing, distribution, and retail. Local 338 members currently work at the New York facilities of Be. (Citiva), Botanist (Acreage), Curaleaf, MedMen, Sunnyside* (Cresco Labs) VeriLife (PharmaCann), and Vireo Health.
Prior to the passage of the Compassionate Care Act in 2014, representatives from Local 338 worked with industry leaders, scientists, advocates and workers from across the cannabis industry to become better educated on the needs and issues of the industry and its workforce. Our participation in the legislative process in helping to craft the Compassionate Care Act has positioned Local 338 to be the perfect working partner with New York’s cannabis workers. Our goal is to build a movement side by side with cannabis workers to ensure that the jobs created in the cannabis industry allow workers to have lifelong careers and earn their fair share of this highly profitable industry, as well as ensure that communities across the state have the opportunity to participate in this emerging field.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signing the Compassionate Care Act
Since New York’s medical cannabis program officially launched in 2015, Local 338 has been successfully engaged in organizing efforts to ensure that the jobs in this new industry set a standard for what cannabis careers can and should be, by providing family sustaining wages and benefits. Our strong collective bargaining agreements provide our members in the cannabis industry with guaranteed wage increases, full-time guarantees, paid time off, premium healthcare benefits (paid for by the employer) for workers and their families, access to retirement savings and on-the-job training, amongst other invaluable workplace protections.
Left to Right: Melanie Simon, Kelly Rutledge, Amy Pawlusik, Alexander Chu, Richard Kessier and Jonathan Cenat
Saul Guerrero (Local 338), Amore Swann (PharmaCann) and Kassan Seisay (Vireo Health) in Albany advocating for good jobs in New York's Cannabis Industry.
Samuel Garcia, Marlene Cosme and Shamel Green
Local 338 Members In the grow
Over the last several years, Local 338 has continued to partner with a variety of different advocates to work together to improve access for patients in the State’s medical cannabis program and to advocate for the full legalization of adult-use cannabis, including critical policies and programs that support social and economic justice. Local 338 members who work in the New York’s existing cannabis industry have been amongst some of the most effective advocates. Beginning in 2018, they have spent time at the State Capitol speaking directly with lawmakers from across the State, regarding the economic opportunities that will be created through cannabis legalization and the formation of a regulated marketplace, including quality careers and workforce development, as well as ensuring a robust social equity and community reinvestment fund and crucial criminal justice reforms for workers by sealing and expunging conviction histories.
On March 30, 2021 the New York State Legislature passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation (Act) and was signed into law the following day by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The MRTA includes important provisions beyond just legalizing adult-use cannabis and creating the framework for a cannabis industry in the state. It includes clear protections for workers and opportunities for communities to thrive in the industry whether they want to enter it as a worker or entrepreneur. We are proud to have been a part of this historic campaign to legalize adult-use cannabis in New York. We now look forward to working with the State to develop help craft the regulations needed to ensure the creation of thousands of quality union jobs and maximize social justice in our state. Click here to learn more about the historic passage of the MRTA.