Missouri sees first dispensary strike to start the year

Missouri sees first dispensary strike to start the year

Updated: January 3, 2023

In July of 2022, workers at the O’Fallon Bloom Medicinals location voted to unionize.

The worker vote made Bloom the second dispensary in the state at the time to vote to unionize. In the nearly six months since the vote the dispensary leadership and representatives of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 655, the union organization behind the campaigns at the bulk of Missouri’s dispensary facilities, have not come to an agreement on a contract.

On Friday, UFCW Local 655 announced the walkout in a release.

Sean Shannon speaks to a crowd including dispensary employees outside of Bloom Medicinals

On Monday, dispensary workers at Bloom Medicinals staged the state’s first strike in the cannabis industry. Workers at the O’Fallon dispensary walked out, then gathered outside with signs and picketed the lot of the facility.

    

“In this industry, these workers have close relationships with their patients. A large number of these patients chose not to cross the picket line today after showing up and finding out that these workers were on strike,” Collin Reischman, Director of Communications, UFCW Local 655 told Greenway.

While labor organization has become an increasing part of the cannabis industry in other states in recent years, few Missouri dispensary employees have opted to unionize. Of the more than 195 dispensaries currently approved to operate in Missouri less than 2.5% of dispensaries in the state have elected to unionize.

Greenway obtained a copy of the demand letter sent by dispensary employees to Bloom leadership:

“Dear Mr. Turco,
The employees of Bloom Medicinals in O’Fallon, Mo. have formed a Union to ensure dignity and respect on the job and to improve wages and benefits. Together, the employees have generated a list of demands which include:
 Negotiate a fair Union Collective Bargaining Agreement for Bloom employees.
 UFCW 655 staff have been banned from the Bloom O’Fallon premises. The employees demand that the ban be lifted.
 Raise wages to $25.00/hr.
 Bloom provides proper training on HIPPA and safety precautions to employees as required by Mo. law.
 Salaried employees pay be increased to $65,000/yr.
 Bloom maintains a fair and clear accrued occurrence absentee policy that is administered equally for all employees.
 Bloom maintains a fair and clear standard of progressive discipline that is administered equally for all employees.
 Increase Paid Time-Off
 Bereavement Leave
 Increase Sick Days
The employees at Bloom Dispensary in O’Fallon, Mo. will be on a one-day strike on Monday, January 2, 2023 beginning at 11:30am and will remain on strike until their next scheduled shift beginning on Tuesday, January 3rd . We, sincerely, hope you will respect our decision to invoke our Federally protected right to strike without repercussion.
Sincerely,
The Employees of Bloom Medicinals, O’Fallon, MO.”