SOMERSET, Massachusetts, October 13, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328, which represents 11,000 workers in a variety of industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, announced that the hardworking team of Budtenders at Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts, won his union election vote, 10-4, to join UFCW Local 328. Workers formed their union with a focus on getting full-time jobs, improving welfare benefits, and securing important job protection measures.
Erin Bosse, a budget tenderer at the Somerset site, said after the win: “I’m so proud of my colleagues that they stick together. We love our jobs and know that by forming our union we can build a better future for all of us here at Solar. Cannabis jobs can and should be careers and we know that if we stick together, we can create positive change not just in our workplace but across the industry. ”
Jared Botelho, another budtender on site, said: “We are absolutely amazed at the wonderful support from our Budtender colleagues and are happy to say that we won our union election. We look forward to a better and fairer future within the Solar Cannabis Co. community in association with UFCW 328.
Botelho added, “This industry has the potential to provide meaningful and medium-sized jobs to thousands of cannabis workers across the country. This goes beyond us and our own pharmacy. We hope that other pharmacies will continue the precedent to establish equity and contracts for their employees. We respect our company and look forward to our negotiations. Destigmatize, legitimize and unionize! “
Sam Marvin, UFCW Local 328 Organizer, called, “We are proud of the great team at Solar that stuck together during this election process. We look forward to taking the next steps to negotiate an initial contract that will reward the hard work and dedication they put into the job every day. “
Solar Therapeutics workers are joining a growing movement both locally and across the country of cannabis workers coming together to ensure workers in this new industry have a common voice.
On August 17, Budtenders at Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts delivered a signed letter to CEO Edward Dow and Chief Financial Officer Robert Keller urging the company to respect their decision to form a union. After Solar Therapeutics refused to voluntarily recognize their union, workers put their union election up. The company brought in a consultant from abroad and held mandatory meetings with the workers. However, workers continued to stick together throughout the election process.
On September 21st, the ballot papers were sent to the electorate and returned by October 8th. On October 12th, the National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots and confirmed the election victory with 10 to 4 votes.
UFCW Local 328 is a premier lawyer for cannabis workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In April 2021, workers at the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Rhode Island unionized after voting for Local 328. UFCW Local 328 currently represents growers at the Ocean State Cultivation Center in Warwick, RI, who unanimously ratified their first union agreement in October 2020. In June 2021, Cresco / Sunnyside growers in Fall River, Massachusetts agreed to their first union agreement. Additionally, Curaleaf workers in Hanover, Massachusetts recently voted to join UFCW Local 328.