In September, 40 workers in Oakland, California, joined the Teamsters union. The new members are gardeners, trimmers, and cloners at Marjyn Investments LLC, a business that grows pot for medical marijuana patients. The newly unionized workers successfully negotiated for increased pay, pension plans, paid vacations, and health insurance.
Federal labor laws don’t apply to an industry that remains illegal by federal standards, and the union probably can’t count on the National Labor Relations Board to play its traditional role if there is a conflict between the union and management. But unionization is another step in legitimizing California’s medical marijuana industry.
One reason the organizing process went smoothly at Marjyn is that the firm’s managers hope unionization will give them an advantage in the city’s upcoming permitting process for large-scale growing operations. Because of Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, the payoff for California growers who can ramp up production could be big.