Nanaimo workers help create B.C.’s first fully unionized private cannabis store chain

Cannabis purchased from Trees Cannabis in Nanaimo will now come from a unionized workplace. (Stock photo)

Workers at the two Trees Cannabis locations in Nanaimo have joined United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518, creating the first wall-to-wall unionization for a B.C. cannabis chain.

The workers will be part of the of Local 1518’s B.C. Budtenders Union, which was formed in 2020 in Victoria.

Eva Prkachin, a representative with Local 1518, said that in each location, workers approached the union and requested to join.

READ MORE: Victoria budtenders become first private cannabis workers to unionize in Canada

“We do get pretty good uptick from cannabis workers who are interested in improving their working conditions, building a better place for themselves in this industry that is often under a lot of flux and changes,” Prkachin said. “For these folks it’s been about building up their place in the cannabis industry. They’re extremely specialized workers. They know cannabis so well, they know their customers really well.”

In the past four years since the union’s inception, it has been involved in everything from negotiating for cannabis workers to have a say over their uniform design, to employer-paid cannabis sommelier training, Prkachin said.

READ MORE: Cannabis shop unionizes on Lower Mainland

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