Somerset, MA– Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328 , which represents 11,000 workers in a variety of industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, announced that the hardworking team of budtenders employed at Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts, filed for their union election. On Tuesday, August 17th, workers delivered a signed letter, calling on the company to respect their wishes to organize and to voluntarily recognize their union. While the workers await a response, they have simultaneously filed for their union election with the National Labor Relations Board.
The letter, addressed to Solar Therapeutics CEO Edward Dow and CFO Robert Keller, reads:
“Mr. Dow and Mr. Keller,
We, the dedicated undersigned employees of Solar Therapeutics Somerset, MA dispensary formally request Solar Therapeutics Inc. to recognize United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 (UFCW 328) and begin the bargaining process. We are excited to be joining the thousands of cannabis workers across the country who have already joined with the UFCW to build better, more equitable workplaces within this industry. By partnering with the UFCW, we look forward to doing the same here at Solar Therapeutics.
In good faith, we seek union recognition from Solar Therapeutics Inc. to positively work with the staff that make Solar Therapeutics Inc. Somerset, MA dispensary the sustainable choice dispensary in Massachusetts. We, as a unit, have dedicated countless hours of our time and resources to expand and develop our knowledge so that we can provide our customers with consistent, honest, and trustworthy experiences that keeps our customers returning to the dispensary. We truly care about each and every employee in our company and we want to ensure that every budtender, past, present and future is treated equitably. Collectively, we feel that we embody a passionate and dedicated nature to our environment, and we wish to continue working as a united staff by becoming unionized.”
Erin Bosse, one of the 17 budtenders at the Somerset location, stated, “I am so proud of my co-workers who have now become my friends and family for sticking together and realizing what we deserve. This is for past, present and future cannabis workers everywhere. Cannabis jobs can and should be careers and we know that together, we can make positive changes not only at our workplace but across the industry.” Erin added, “We have been inspired by the victories unionized cannabis workers have secured and we encourage all other cannabis workers to organize and say Union Yes!”
Jared Botelho, another budtender at the location, added, “I am so proud of my fellow coworkers and budtenders for all their hard work and dedication to take the first steps towards our union. Creating fair and equitable jobs will help eliminate the stigma that comes along with cannabis legalization. Doing this will set a precedent for the future of our industry and show that these jobs require not just knowledge of cannabis but a culture that embodies each worker. We are excited to continue serving our customers with high quality service, education, and advocacy.”
Sam Marvin, Director of Organizing at UFCW Local 328, said, “We are proud of the amazing team at Solar for taking this empowering step together. By forming their union, they will be joining a growing movement of cannabis workers across the country, who are coming together to ensure that cannabis jobs are good jobs that can provide economic security, better benefits, important workplace protections, and a stable and secured future.”
UFCW Local 328 is a leading advocate for Massachusetts and Rhode Island cannabis workers. In April, 2021, workers at Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Rhode Island unionized, after voting to join Local 328. UFCW Local 328 currently represents cultivation workers at Ocean State Cultivation Center in Warwick, Rhode Island, who unanimously ratified their first union contract in October 2020. In June, 2021, cultivation workers at Cresco/Sunnyside in Fall River, MA, voted to approve their first union contract. In addition, Curaleaf workers in Hanover, Massachusetts, recently voted to join UFCW Local 328.
UFCW Local 328 represents over 11,000 workers in a range of industries across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. As the recreational and medical cannabis industries have become mainstream across the United States, the UFCW has represented workers in cultivation and retail operations nationwide and has fought to ensure that working families have a seat at the table to secure important workplace protections and share in the gains and success of the cannabis industry. The UFCW currently is the largest representative of cannabis workers with tens of thousands of members in the industry nationwide.