CBD Kratom employees at 17 stores in eastern Missouri and Illinois vote to unionize with UFCW

St. Louis – Fifty employees at 17 CBD Kratom stores in eastern Missouri and Illinois have voted to unionize with UFCW.

Employees voted 23 to 6 to unionize, with 75 percent of the eligible employees participating.

St. Louis-based CBD Kratom sells kratom and hemp-derived THC products.

The employees join more than 15,000 cannabis industry workers nationwide as members of UFCW. Of the 17 locations that voted to organize, 14 are located in St. Louis and will be represented by UFCW Local 655. The remaining 3 in Illinois will be represented by UFCW Local 881.

The election outcome was expected as the company signed a neutrality agreement with the union in April.

“CBD Kratom cares about its workers and respects their legal rights to organize a union in their workplace,” Chief Operating Officer Jason Brandi said. “We look forward to working the UFCW to negotiate a union contract that meets the needs of our employees and our business.”

Garrett Farley, an organizer for Local 655, said when employees from two stores first filed the petition in December, CBD Kratom leaders responded by essentially saying that the process “doesn’t have to be so contentious, we can work together,” the Missouri Independent reported.

The agreement states the company will remain neutral as best it can, according to the Independent. It was even the company leaders’ idea to hold the election for 17 stores instead of just two.

“So, that’s how it’s been,” Farley said. “None of my workers have been harassed. They haven’t been fired. They haven’t been saying things like, ‘Oh, the union is the worst thing.’ It’s been really nice.”

It’s been a stark difference from other companies, he told the Independent. In December,  Local 655 held a massive campaign to unionize cannabis workers across eastern Missouri, which is the area the local represents. A dozen organizers visited every one of the approximate 100 marijuana dispensaries — twice.

A unionization attempt by “post-harvest workers” at BeLeaf Medical’s Sinse cultivation facility in St. Louis has been blocked by their employer’s continuous legal challenges this year. In April, BeLeaf filed an appeal with the five-member National Labor Relations Board.

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