In these bleak days for organized labor, it's a pleasant surprise whenever a union comes up with a creative way to grow its membership rolls. It's doubly pleasant if the idea has some hope of success, however tenuous.
Take the United Food and Commercial Workers' recent efforts to break into the cannabis business. According to Reuters, the union has already organized three medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and has pending deals with 49 more. It claims that 3,000 of its 1.3 million members work in the pot industry today, but believes it could add hundreds of thousands more as the sector grows.
The UFCW, which counts grocery store workers, truck drivers, warehouse hands, and meat packers among its members, has been putting its political muscle behind marijuana legalization efforts nationally. For instance, it assisted get-out-the-vote efforts that helped pass Colorado's successful ballot initiative to start regulating Marijuana like alcohol. It's also helped dispensaries lobby local politicians in California.