California marijuana delivery drivers authorize 4/20 strike

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More than 500 marijuana delivery workers in California could observe 4/20 by going on strike.

Drivers and depot workers employed at Eaze Technologies and the company’s plant-touching subsidiary, Stachs, have voted to authorize a strike as contract negotiations stall, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) labor union.

According to a UFCW news release, points of dispute include:

  • The rate at which Eaze and Stachs reimburse drivers’ mileage – currently 45 cents per mile.
  • An increase in drivers’ hourly wages.
  • A minimum number of guaranteed weekly hours.

Workers at Locals 5, 135, 324 and 770 rejected the company’s “last, best, and final” contract proposal on March 19, the union said in the release.

Those four UFCW chapters are based in Hayward, San Diego, Buena Park and Los Angeles, respectively.

Eaze CEO Cory Azzalino noted in an emailed statement to MJBizDaily that drivers are paid ‘”fair wages averaging over $25 per hour plus tips” plus benefits and that the current contract offer includes an 88% increase in base wages.

“Eaze has not earned a profit in its history, so this is not the case of old industry hoarding profits,” Azzalino told MJBizDaily.

“We have and will continue to bargain in good faith and respect our employees rights to unionize.”

Workers would strike unless the company changes its offer, though it’s still not clear when the strike would begin or how long it might last.

If there is a strike, San Francisco-based Eaze is prepared to “maintain operations,” Azzalino said.

The UFCW also filed two National Labor Relations Board complaints against the company, according to public records.

There’s precedent for an effective labor stoppage timed with 4/20, the cannabis industry’s unofficial holiday and generally one of the busiest times of the year for marijuana retailers.

Employees at Green Thumb Industries adult-stores in the Chicago area began a nearly two-week strike on April 19, 2023 – the longest work stoppage in the U.S. marijuana industry to date.

The workers, represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, ended up getting a nearly 50% wage increase.

Meanwhile, Eaze drivers in Sacramento recently voted unanimously to join the Teamsters’ Local 150.

According to the union, Ease of Sacramento is the third California marijuana delivery company to sign on with the Teamsters, following Nabis and Amuse.