Lawmakers Want to Unionize Washington's Weed Industry. Pot Companies Aren’t Happy About It



Seems like the Unions want in on the action and are trying to force the situation so they become the savior. Not only it is an emerging industry with ever changing standards and new things to learn the companies are not the same as McDonalds or Wendy's.

If you want to say because they are paid in cash they need protection; well that's blaming the industry for congresses inaction. that's no excuse; in fact that's really crappy.


This is a predictable reaction to a new industry with a very poor track record in terms of how employees are treated.

Take White Star in Rainier for example, they're one of the bigger producers in the state and their owner classifies his workers as temporary migrant workers and treats them worse than fast food workers. He could care less that his success is dependent on them, he literally treats them as if they're a dime a dozen.

Market forces will eventually weed out the bad players, pun intended, and unionization is just one of those market forces.


We already have labor laws. Enforce them. State sponsored extortion, nice.


@3 how is the market forces going to force out bad players? This isn't a free market where anyone can come in and start selling concentrates or flower tomorrow. Even more how many customers are going to care how the employee's are treated? they likely only care if they get high.

Regulation makes you go throught through the paces before you can start selling wholesale to pot shops so there is no easy way to weed out any bad companies.


Workers should be allowed to unionize, but does this bill unionize them against their will?


I am shocked that people who mostly came from failed tech startups or the illegal drug sector where the only way to succeed was to massively underpay everyone except top management would be anti-union.

Just do it.


I’m in favour of unionizing every worker in the entire state.


@6 Essentially yes, this bill will unionize workers -- if they want to unionize or not -- by creating such strong incentives for the employer to unionize that they'll effectively force the situation.

The employees will be forced to hand over dues to the union when the union may or may not bring them any actual improvement in their situation.

Beyond that, it's even worse, in that every time the license comes up for renewal, the point system is tallied, so the union will have all the power over the employer and by extension the employees. If the union contract isn't extended, the business won't meet the point requirements, and they will lose their license, and have to close. It'll basically make it so that the business owner will have to negotiate at gun point with the union every year with the entire business in the balance.

It is telling that you can get the full required point totals simply by unionizing -- which does very little in terms of actual benefits, when you look at what they typically require vs. what many of the better companies are already offering -- and yet if you want to meet the point total by other means you have to do five or six different things.

Lost on no one is the fact that for all the retailers, this hits especially hard, as expenses are not deductible because of Federal IRS 280E.

If this passes, you can expect prices to jump considerably, as it will take extra people to deal with all the additional regulation, plus the regulation itself will be expensive. Some companies will go under. The higher prices in stores will increase black market activity, and there'll be less revenue from the shops, less taxes for the state. In all seriousness it could create a death spiral for the entire industry.

I'm a progressive Democrat and I am pro-labor. That said, I don't think anyone should be forced to join a union, and I don't think employers should be forcing existing employees to join unions either... they were hired for a non-union job and forcing them to join a union is just wrong. Employees should have that choice, not employers.

I am unbelievably disappointed with the UCFW and their leadership. The response to the uproar has been to diddle the point system -- like that's the problem -- and try to create even more winners and losers by saying the law should only apply to companies with 20 or more employees... which is just garbage.

If this bill isn't good enough for every single company in the state, then it shouldn't be imposed on the cannabis industry. Totally unfair when cannabis is over regulated and over taxed already.


So threaten pot shops with unionization, and suddenly The Stranger is anti-union.

Too funny.


@11 beat me to it.


The Stranger: "What? The cost of my pot may go up but employees will be earning better wages and have a seat at the table? This is outrageous!"


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Suddenly anti-union when it places an obstacle between pro-union folks and their drugs.


This is unconstitutional madness wrapped in fascist tyranny.


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An amended version of the bill (SB 6393) got a do pass recommendation in the Senate Labor & Commerce committee this morning on a 5/4 vote - it is worth watching the dissent: