Curaleaf’s Mokena, Illinois dispensary, formerly branded as Greenhouse. Credit: Google Streetview

Labor leaders are celebrating another organized Illinois dispensary, as employees at Curaleaf’s Mokena dispensary voted 19-3 to join United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 881. Just two weeks ago workers at Curaleaf’s Worth, Illinois dispensary voted to join the same union.

As with other union votes in Illinois, unionizing workers complained about inconsistent work schedules, favoritism in pay for those close to managers and a lack of benefits.

“Listen to them [employees]. They have multimillion dollar dispensaries all over. And you can’t even listen to the employees. You need them for customers to come back. [The workers] are loyal. Even if you schedule them for more than eight hours they still show up to work,” said Teresa Ramirez-Gonzalez, Local 881’s Director of Organizing.

“While we believe that a direct relationship with our team members is the best route for us to work together, we respect the voices of our Mokena team members and will negotiate with UFCW in good faith. We know our business and our patients and customers depend on a positive work environment, and we are committed to a collaborative culture that allows our team to feel heard, supported and respected,” said a statement provided by Curaleaf.

This is the third Illinois Curaleaf dispensary to organize with UFCW 881. Another, in Skokie, has a union vote planned later this month.

Illinois has seen a wave of union activity in 2021, split between UFCW and the Teamsters, who have organized not only Curaleaf facilities, but also ones operated by PharmaCann, Cresco Labs, Ascend Wellness, and Green Thumb Industries, according to the National Labor Relations Board. This month, Teamsters Local 777 has filed to organize three Illinois PharmaCann Verilife dispensaries in Ottawa, Romeoville, and Rosemont.


Editor Mike is a co-founder and the editor of Grown In, a U.S. national cannabis industry newsletter and training company. His career has taken him from Capitol Hill to Chicago City Hall, from...