A federal review of organizing efforts at Wellness Collection is a first in the up-and-coming legal-marijuana industry, a union says.
By Kevin Miller email@example.com
Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON — Federal officials have found “reasonable cause” that Maine’s largest medical marijuana distributor violated laws protecting workers, in one of the nation’s first labor cases involving the burgeoning legal cannabis industry.
But an attorney for Wellness Connection of Maine, which operates four medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and a National Labor Relations Board official said the parties are within days of settling the claims to avoid civil proceedings against the company.
Complaints filed on behalf of former employees of the company include claims that Wellness Connection retaliated against employees who raised concerns about pesticide use, interfered with workers’ rights to unionize and solicited workers to oppose the union.
Matt LaMourie, a Portland-based attorney for Wellness Connection of Maine, said, “Based on the discussions that I have had with the NLRB, I am very confident that we are going to be able to reach a settlement agreement with the agency.”
Meanwhile, the national labor union that’s advocating for the Maine workers saw national precedent in the case.
“It is significant that the National Labor Relations Board took a look at this new industry and said, ‘Yes, these workers have the right to work collectively,’ ” said Evan Yeats, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.