Unions want to organize Illinois' marijuana industryPosted by On

Workers at the Cresco Labs marijuana grow facility in Joliet, Ill., voted Tuesday on whether to unionize, two weeks after recreational weed sales started in Illinois.

One hundred of the roughly 130 workers at the facility are eligible to vote on whether to be represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers union, said Zach Koutsky, legislative and political director for Local 881 UFCW.

The workers want higher wages, lower health care costs, more respect on the job and other requests, Koutsky said. Results were expected by Tuesday evening, but were not available by deadline.

Some experts have long predicted that Illinois’ marijuana industry could become one of the largest in the country, and unlike in other industries, there are reasons why marijuana company owners might more easily accept unionized employees.

The state concluded its first round of applications earlier this month for 75 new dispensary licenses. More than 700 applicants submitted applications for those licenses, which are set to be awarded in May.

The state scores the applications, awarding points for a number of criteria, including their labor and employment practices. Applicants can get credit by entering into a labor peace agreement, in which a company agrees not to disrupt union efforts and a union agrees not to disrupt business.

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