All of the major news outlets were on hand for the public announcement of Orange County’s first medical marijuana dispensary to unionize. South Coast Safe Access workers, under the supportive guidance of ownership, voted unanimously on February 24th to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 324.
A longtime employee told Weedmaps that the move is a tangible sign showing how much ownership values their staff. The contract reportedly includes full health benefits, pension contributions, vacation and a starting hourly pay of $13.50. California’s current minimum wage is $10.00 per hour.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 324 represents “23,000 men and women employed in the Food, Dental, Financial, Health Care, Optometry, Packinghouse, Processing, Retail Drug, and Merchandise Industries throughout Orange and southern Los Angeles Counties.” Union leaders who spoke were quick to point out the parallels between medical marijuana dispensaries and traditional retail drug stores like CVS and Rite Aid, organizations that have fought for years for worker rights while also ensuring safe access for millions of patients.
Orange County’s first fully legal marijuana shop, South Coast Safe Access is known throughout the county as a medicinal lifeline for thousands of patients. They hope their move to unionize will be viewed as a model for other cannabis industry businesses to follow throughout Santa Ana and beyond.