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Green Thumb Industries Embroiled In Union Dispute At Illinois Facility

Nina Zdinjak

Vertically integrated cannabis company Green Thumb Industries (CSE: GTII) (OTC: GTBIF) is refusing to recognize the Teamsters union at its Rock Island, Illinois cultivation facility, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

The company said it refused to recognize the union because an election was not held among GTI employees. 

“GTI respects the rights of our employees,” the company told Marijuana Business Daily in a statement.

"One of these fundamental labor rights is the right to freedom of association. The right to freedom of association, however, leaves it to employees to decide whether they wish to be unionized, not an employer or a union (to decide for them)." 

The union sent a demand-for-recognition letter two weeks ago demanding that GTI recognize the union without an election, the company said. 

Some employees at GTI's Rock Island facility have joined the Teamsters because of unfair labor practices such as unlawful intimidation, harassment and retaliation, according to the Quad-City Times.

“For months, my coworkers and I listened to complaining from managers, supervisors and coworkers about losing benefits, having promised raises unfulfilled and a general lack of organization, and that’s when we decided to form a union,” GTI employee Kyle Meyer said at a Rock Island City Council meeting, the newspaper reported. 

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“We ran a clean campaign and we did everything that we were supposed to. We had majority status and we asked for recognition from GTI on Oct. 10, but GTI refused to even get back to us, despite having multiple notices sent to them.”

In December 2018, the City Council allowed a $775,000 incentive package to support GTI’s expansion in Rock Island, providing an extra $60,000 in August for the same cause. The expansion should double the size of the facility to 66,000 square feet, and the company aims to employ approximately 100 workers.

Illinois is expected to legalize recreational marijuana Jan. 1. 

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