Green Thumb cannabis store workers go on strike ahead of 4/20

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(This story and headline have been updated to reflect that the workers began their strike.)

More than 100 workers at three Chicago-area adult-use cannabis stores owned by multistate operator Green Thumb Industries (GTI) went on strike at 4:20 p.m. CT Wednesday, a day before the industry’s 4/20 celebration.

The labor action at the Rise dispensaries is believed to be the first time in Illinois that three stores under the same corporate umbrella have gone on strike simultaneously, according to a news release from Teamsters Local 777, which organized the three retail outlets and 14 others in the area.

It’s not clear how long the work stoppage could last or whether it will have an impact on 4/20, considered to be one of the busiest sales days of the year.

In a statement to the Chicago Tribune, GTI said it has “made accommodations to continue our store operations to ensure our patients and customers can access the products they rely on for their well-being.”

The strike is “open-ended,” the Tribune reported.

The three Rise dispensaries include two in Joliet and another in Niles.

Workers at one of the Joliet stores voted to unionize last summer but have yet to secure a contract.

GTI and its workers remain “far apart on wages and retirement” negotiations, Teamsters spokesperson Matt McQuaid told the Tribune.

The company’s wage offer is “less than what our members under contract already receive,” McQuaid told MJBizDaily.

The strike follows an unfair labor practices complaint filed after management told workers to remove their Teamster buttons while negotiating, McQuaid added.

Rise is a subsidiary of Chicago-headquartered Green Thumb Industries, one of the country’s biggest multistate operators.