Unionized Seed & Stone budtenders ratify first agreement

Published on December 2, 2022 by oz. staff

Photo: Contributed

Budtenders and staff at three Seed & Stone have voted in favour of their first collective agreement.

UFCW Canada announced it celebrated bargaining success at Seed & Stone cannabis last month. The union says the new agreement at Seed & Stone includes workplace protections and improvements at locations are in Victoria and Delta.

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“There’s a reason that 75% of the private dispensaries in Victoria have organized with us,” says Patrick Johnson, UFCW 1518’s secretary-treasurer.

“Cannabis workers are realizing that with a union they have a voice, and the more of them that join the movement, the more power they can build.”

The agreement includes:

  • Higher starting rates (an increase of about 15%)
  • Hourly scale with guaranteed wage increases
  • Improvements to breaks and scheduling
  • A grievance process and shop-steward language

All dispensaries in Victoria with BC-Budtenders-Union representation now have collective agreements.

Labour has been busy unionizing in BC

“BC’s budtender union movement showing no signs of burning out,” says the UFCW in a news release.

The labour movement is highly active in the BC cannabis industry. There are unions in both retail and production.

Staff employed at the Seed & Stone Victoria shops joined the BC Budtenders Union – a division of the UFCW 1518 – in 2021.

“Organizing can be a bit intimidating,” Johnson admits,

“But their courage pays off, if they stay united. The Seed & Stone staff are a perfect example of how far a calculated risk can carry you. By taking the plunge and organizing, they learned what they’re capable of, then they brought that confidence to the bargaining table and won big.”

Unionized private shops in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are gaining numbers. On Nov. 25, workers at Yaletown Cannabis Store in Vancouver formed a union with the BC Budtenders division.