Vireo agrees to milestone medical cannabis labor pact in Pennsylvania

Minnesota-based Vireo Health, a multistate marijuana operator, signed the first vertically integrated medical cannabis labor agreement in Pennsylvania, a deal that is being touted as a win for both the employees and the company.

The three-year pact is between Vireo’s Pennsylvania Medical Solutions subsidiary and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776.

The agreement will cover Vireo employees at its Scranton cultivation and processing facility, as well as at dispensaries planned for Scranton, Bethlehem and Stroudsburg, Vireo and UFCW said in a joint news release.

The agreement includes several provisions that will benefit Vireo employees, the company and the union said:

  • Competitive starting wages.
  • Access to affordable health care.
  • Guaranteed annual wage increases.
  • A generous paid-time-off program.
  • Employer-funded retirement plan.

The contract also includes comprehensive safety provisions and anti-discrimination language and establishes procedures for grievance and arbitration matters.

Minneapolis-based Vireo is known for supporting unionization.

The company signed the first MMJ labor contract in New York in 2016 and its Minnesota employees are unionized.

“This is a fantastic contract for our members and a great win for the future of all workers in the cannabis industry,” UFCW 1776KS President Wendell Young IV said in the release.

“As a socially responsible business, Vireo is deeply committed to its employees and is proud to be a union employer,” Kyle Kingsley, CEO of Vireo Health, also said in the news release.

“We believe that a unionized workforce is key to our company’s success and look forward to partnering with UFCW to support legislation, such as legalizing adult-use cannabis … .”

The union worked closely with Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers to help pass medical cannabis legislation in Pennsylvania in 2016.

Jeff Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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