ANALYSIS: Cannabis Workers Make Retail Sector a New Union Haven

Unions trying to arrange retail-marketplace workplaces gained more elections in 2021 than they have in almost 20 many years. And they owe that stunning achievement mostly to cannabis workers.

The Countrywide Labor Relations Board’s 12 months-stop election figures show that retail is the only industry group where by unions are organizing employees a lot much more effectively than they did right before the pandemic started. Retail unions prevailed in 60 illustration elections overseen by the NLRB very last 12 months, up from 37 in 2020 and 34 in 2019.

The proliferation of cannabis growers and dispensaries has built this craze probable, buoyed by condition marijuana regulations that contain baked-in protections for unions trying to get to arrange there.

A look for of Bloomberg Law’s NLRB elections tracker shows that cannabis personnel voted in 26 NLRB illustration elections in 2021 and sided with the union in 18 of them. Which is a web enhance of 14 wins around 2020 and 16 wins in excess of 2019, accounting for almost two-thirds (62{194d821e0dc8d10be69d2d4a52551aeafc2dee4011c6c9faa8f16ae7103581f6}) of the retail industry’s unionization gains during this two-calendar year interval.

Unions like the UFCW and the Teamsters are significantly focusing on these workplaces, offering a reminder to labor legal professionals that new-economy businesses can nonetheless supply fertile floor for organizing campaigns, even amid decades of decline in union membership nationwide.

Illinois, which instituted a labor peace prerequisite when it legalized leisure cannabis in 2020, is where most of 2021’s arranging action took put: 13 of unions’ 18 cannabis-sector wins happened in that newly altered condition.

Manufacturing and design ended up the only other industries to see similar (despite the fact that substantially scaled-down) gains from 2019 to 2021. Unions elsewhere have but to get back their pre-pandemic footing.

Over-all, the NLRB figures exhibit that labor’s arranging activity is even now lagging powering its pre-pandemic speed. The 759 complete union wins at the NLRB in 2021, though a phase up from 2020’s mark of 655, remains much beneath 2019’s total of 940, making past yr the 2nd-slowest organizing year considering that Bloomberg Legislation started off monitoring NLRB elections in 1990.

Full facts of the NLRB’s 2021 figures, with 5-12 months comparisons, are obtainable in Bloomberg Law’s NLRB Election Studies report. Subscribers can analysis election information specifically with the NLRB Elections Tracker on Labor Plus.

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