Today, Joint Council 43 in Detroit, Mich. announced that 23 workers at three Blue Water Compassion Center locations in Michigan have organized with Teamsters Local 1038 following a successful card check campaign.
The workers Blue Water Compassion Center locations provide customer support for their customers – patients and primary caregivers – who use the business to learn about medical marijuana. The company agreed to recognize the Teamsters Union as the workers’ bargaining representative after receiving 22 signed cards.
The idea of union marijuana workers sounds like the kind of thing that could only happen in California. Not surprisingly, it has happened there. The Teamsters already represent a handful of marijuana workers in Oakland and the United Food and Commercial Workers union represents some too. There has been something of a gentleman’s agreement there wherein Teamsters organize among production workers and UFCW works with retail workers.
Of course, this leaves room for the United Farm Workers to represent the pot growers, the glass blowers union to make bongs, and the paperworkers’ union (now Steelworkers) to make rolling papers. That is, if the Teamsters and UFCW don’t bogart the members—keeping them as their own private stash.
“The Teamsters have always been into wide-scale organizing, willing to go across jurisdictional lines,” says John Beck, director of Labor Education at Michigan State University. “When they see opportunity to organize, they organize. All unions now have to be more broad-based to survive, and the Teamsters were there before anybody else was willing to be there.”