March and Ash Assists Cannabis Workers In Ratifying First Union Contract

Employees of March and Ash ratify collective bargaining agreement between UFCW Local 135 and March and Ash.

On May 12, 2021, cannabis employees at March and Ash retailers throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties voted to ratify their first union contract.

The first cannabis sector union contract to originate in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Collective Bargaining concluded after two years of organizing and bargaining between UFCW Local 135 and the March and Ash ownership group.

Image courtesy of UFCW Local 135

Although the epidemic created delays and roadblocks, the parties decided late last year to continue working diligently to construct a framework that worked for local industry and its people.

UFCW Local 135 appreciates March and Ash’s good faith negotiations and pledges in establishing this cooperation and the Collective Bargaining Agreement that benefits both UFCW members and March and Ash employees.

This open and cooperative approach between labor and industry adds value to all sides, resulting in a result that is in the employees’ best interests.

“This contract will create career jobs and promote an industry setting standard that is needed to ensure that cannabis workers are accepted and valued. This industry leading contract will create a new model for March and Ash employees, and other workers in the industry, by providing training, educational opportunities, childcare and more. We are proud of the work put in and are honored to have delivered a contract worthy of these cannabis workers.” ­– Todd Walters, President UFCW Local 135

UFCW Local 135 appreciates the contract’s high standards and looks forward to working with March and Ash to ensure that the contract’s promises are kept.

Though the process was lengthy, they believe the end result is well worth the wait for the workers.

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Image courtesy of UFCW Local 135

With the unionization of three March and Ash locations, UFCW Local 135 now has three cannabis enterprises under its authority, totaling six sites.

As the business grows, UFCW Local 135 will continue to educate cannabis employees about their right to organize in order to improve their living and working conditions.

“Early on we were asked to join labor agreements that originated elsewhere. That did not interest us. This is a new industry with radically different approaches between municipalities, and we are closely held. Our partners live in San Diego and Imperial Counties. We are not a publicly listed company in Canada or an online delivery service seeking to extract upside from the local economy. It was important to us that we broke apart old models and crafted something that worked for our company, its workers, and the communities we serve; proving that we can improve the places we live by delivering a contract that is rooted in our workforce and local economy. We took the time to understand what it is our employees need and want. Healthcare benefits, subsidized childcare in an industry with many young single or co-parent arrangements, and worker participation in the upside so this can be a career. That is what we found to be most important to our employees. We then worked with our partners at the UFCW to do the hard work of delivering that fairly. The willingness of UFCW Local 135 to take that risk of doing something different and new, I think that was an extraordinary act of good faith, and it makes me personally happy that we did that here in San Diego. We approach how we operate on the basis of respecting the benefits and the risks of cannabis. The March and Ash responsible adult use model is rooted in respect for the community including the people who did not vote to legalize cannabis. We’re well aware that we can only deliver on that promise through our employees.” – Breton Peace, General Counsel March and Ash

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Image courtesy of UFCW Local 135

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135, has a membership of approximately 13,000 workers and nearly 7000 retirees throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. They consist of workers in various fields including grocery & retail, health, pharmacy & dental, meat & sugar processing, casino, and cannabis.

Contact: Brent E. Beltrán 

Communications Director

UFCW Local 135