Providence, RI – The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 (UFCW) and management from the Ocean State Cultivation Center (OSCC) signed a labor peace agreement on Thursday, September 12 that guarantees a union-friendly environment at the local medical marijuana supplier and sets an important precedent as the cannabis industry is set to expand in the Ocean State. While other states have taken this important step to prioritize cannabis businesses that pledge to support union labor, this agreement is the first of its kind in Rhode Island.
The labor peace agreement allows OSCC employees to freely pursue representation and lays the groundwork for open dialogue and transparency with management.
It is also an important symbolic step that will bring local organized labor closer with Rhode Island’s medical marijuana industry as the state is set to increase the number of medical marijuana compassion centers. As the industry expands in scope and profitability in the state, a pro-union environment will ensure that workers are seeing their fair share of the gains in pay, benefits and working conditions.
“Local 328 is very pleased to be representing the workers at Warwick Cultivation Center,” said UFCW Local 328 President Timothy Melia. “By having a union contract, these workers will now have a voice in their workplace, as well as a contract that addresses safety, livable wages, and a secure future for all workers in this evolving industry.”
“As the cannabis industry grows, we look forward to joining the UFCW union family,” said Matthew Baryshyan, who works in cultivation at OSCC. “We love our jobs and we’re excited for the opportunity to build and secure a better future that will benefit our families, our company and the patients we provide for”
“I am really excited for the opportunity to work with UFCW Local 328,” said David Spradlin, CEO of OSCC and Magnolia Rhode Island. “United Food and Commercial Workers have been incredible partners for us and our workforce nationwide in support of our rapidly expanding family of Magnolia dispensaries. We are pleased that they will be partnering with us in the Ocean State to further develop sustainable and well-paying jobs in this young and booming industry. Our goal is to offer professional career opportunities around which people can build a life and a family. We are excited to be able to bring our successful and proven partnership model with the UFCW and Magnolia to New England.”
UFCW Local 328 represents over 11,000 workers in a range of industries across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Local 328 has deep roots in the region and has been advocating for workers since the 1930s. As the recreational and medical cannabis industries have become mainstream across the United States, UFCW has represented workers in cultivation and retail operations nationwide and has fought to ensure that organized labor has a seat at the table as states ponder full legalization and medical expansion.
The OSCC, located in Warwick, was one of the first licensed cultivation operations in the state. OSCC provides cannabis products for compassion centers currently operating in Providence, Warwick and Portsmouth that serve over 18,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program has allowed these patients to find relief for a range of debilitating illnesses and conditions.