Curaleaf marijuana retail employees in Phoenix return to work after 1-day strike

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Workers at a Curaleaf Holdings marijuana store in central Phoenix went on a daylong strike Friday to protest a wrongful termination and operational policies, organizers told MJBizDaily.

In conjunction with the strike, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 99 held a rally and news conference outside the store, urging the New York-based marijuana multistate operator to reinstate a fired worker and advance union contract negotiations.

Employees at Curaleaf Midtown voted in June 2022 to unionize but have yet to finalize a contract, according to a news release.

The National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private-sector employees to collectively bargain, has issued a complaint alleging that Curaleaf Midtown terminated a worker for her union activity and changed policies without negotiating with the union.

“While we believe that a direct relationship with our team members is the best route for us to work together, we respect the voices of our team members and will negotiate with union leaders in good faith,” Curaleaf said in a statement sent to MJBizDaily.

“We know our team members, our business and our patients and customers depend on a positive work environment, and we are committed to a collaborative culture that allows our team to feel heard, supported and respected.”

Workers who went on strike Friday returned to their jobs the following day, according to UFCW Local 99.

It was at least the second cannabis work stoppage of 2023, following a 13-day strike by Green Thumb Industries workers in the Chicago area in May.

Curaleaf workers have been unionizing nationwide the past few years.

In June, for example, every retail employee at Curaleaf stores in New Jersey voted to join the UFCW Local 360.

Curaleaf workers have also joined unions in Illinois and Massachusetts.

UFCW Local 99 is Arizona’s largest private sector union, representing 25,000 workers throughout the Southwest.

UFCW International counts more than 1.3 million members nationwide.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.