Workers at PharmaCann’s Verilife dispensary in Ottawa, Illinois voted to organize last week. Credit: Verilife

Dispensary workers and sales consultants at PharmaCann’s Verilife Romeoville and Verilife Ottawa dispensaries voted to join Teamsters Local 777 for union representation this week. Citing a need to have a voice on the job, the votes parallel other successful unionization efforts at PharmaCann’s Verilife River North and Arlington Heights locations.

“Our main reasons for wanting union representation was it was a way for us to have a direct line of communication with the corporate office, we want career and retirement options for those that have put their years into this and overall respect for the workers, said Chris Smith, a Romeoville sales consultant told Grown In Friday.  

Cannabis sales consultants and dispensing inventory specialists at PharmaCann’s Verilife dispensary in Ottawa, Ill. voted today, the second Verilife location to join the union this week and the fourth in less than two months.

According to national labor law, a vote takes place if at least 30 percent of workers sign cards or file a petition for representation with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The labor board will then call for an election or the company can also voluntarily recognize the union if a majority of the workers sign cards.

“Eligibility varies from workplace to workplace depending on various titles that employees have, but generally speaking, workers in non-management roles are eligible while managers are not. In this case, dispensary inventory specialists and cannabis sales consultants were eligible,” said Matt McQuaid, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 777.

Seven people total voted at the Romeoville location, five votes were counted and two were challenged. United Food And Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 881, another union that has been organizing cannabis facilities, was also on Wednesday’s ballot. There were 18 votes counted, at the Ottawa location with 17 in favor of Teamsters and 1 no union vote.

“We look forward to bargaining in good faith with any organized labor group that has standing to represent our employees. We have solid relationships with organized labor in several of our other markets and are confident we can build relationships of a similar nature in Illinois, as well,” read a written statement provided by PharmaCann.

Now, four of PharmaCann’s eight Verilife Illinois dispensaries have been unionized.

Local 777 is still in the process of scheduling negotiations with PharmaCann but expect to meet with them shortly after the holidays.

“We are optimistic that once we get to the table, we can reach an agreement that is beneficial to all parties involved,” said Jim Glimco, president of Local 777.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.