Green Thumb settles contract with marijuana workers in Illinois

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One of the biggest labor actions involving a U.S. marijuana company has been resolved.

Employees at three Chicago-area Green Thumb Industries-owned Rise cannabis stores organized by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the company agreed to a multiyear contract this week, union officials told MJBizDaily on Friday.

The deal follows months of negotiations that were interrupted in April by a nearly two-week-long strike by the nearly 100 workers employed at the Rise stores in Joliet and Napier.

The strike is believed to be the longest work stoppage in marijuana industry history.

“The workers fought a really long time to get a contract, but they all stuck through it because they really like this industry and they want to stay in this industry,” Jim Glimco, president of Teamsters Local 777, told MJBizDaily.

“They like this company, too, but they want it to be better,” he added.

“They wanted it to be a place to stay for a long time. That’s why they fought so hard.”

A spokesperson for Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, a major cannabis multistate operator, did not immediately respond to an MJBizDaily request for comment.

The contract includes a 12.5% raise in its first year followed by annual 3% raises, Glimco said – enough to bring wages at the Rise stores in line with other Chicago-area retailers.

Teamsters 777 represents workers at about 18 marijuana stores in the Chicagoland region.

Separate negotiations with at five Sunnyside locations owned by Chicago-headquartered MSO Cresco Labs are ongoing, Glimco said.

The Green Thumb-Rise contract settlement is part of a wave of labor activity in the marijuana industry, where many state laws include worker-friendly licensing requirements.