Negotiations

News

The Union Bargaining Committee members working for Minnesota’s largest cannabis employer Vireo (Formerly Minnesota Medical Solutions, now operating as Green Goods) unanimously recommended rejecting the last, best and final offer from their employer. The Union has maintained that the employer’s wage proposal is unjust. Workers who were hired with the expectation that there were annual wage progressions are seeing those taken from them. Workers are being frozen at their current levels; progressions and step increases are eliminated. The Employer proposal lowers new hire rates, barely above living wage, while offering those at the top greater increases. The Union’s proposal for fair just wage progressions fell on deaf ears, with so much “Minnesota nice” talk about caring for the Team and concern about the relationship with the Union.

What does the loss of progression steps in a contract do? It creates injustice. It keeps one group behind – always.

What do these new lower hiring scales do? They keep new people even further behind. Including those folks currently underrepresented in the industry.

The employer’s proposal will NEVER allow for equal pay for equal work – no one can “catch-up” with this proposal.

We don’t easily forget that the employer’s attorney told the committee that they were having trouble stomaching giving the workers raises – not once but twice. And while management stated that it wasn’t their view, no one apologized and clearly, based on the removal of the wage step, they weren’t really sorry.

And it isn’t just the devastating loss of wage progression that Vireo wants the members to suck-down, it is the arbitrary removal of chairs from the worksite – from a healthcare site, without regard to the workers who may have disabilities. It is the refusal to negotiate language to ensure healthy ergonomic workplaces. While many people stand without issue, many in the medical cannabis industry are drawn to the work because they too have chronic pain or limb injuries. Vireo management only willing to talk about talking about it later, but not willing to put those solutions in writing.

The Union will be filing several unfair labor practice charges for the employer’s failure to bargain over proposals it sprung on the Union in the last day – where it made a last best and final offer and demanded we vote it without giving the Union the opportunity to respond. That is not legal.

We will be filing charges for their direct dealing and failure to provide requested information.

Adding to the further assault on the workers, the employer’s unilateral changing of a policy (how it is implemented) resulted in an unjust firing.

Does the committee recommend this offer? HELL NO.

 

 

Employer's Last Best and Final Offer - (Union Recommends Voting "HELL NO" To Reject)

PDF icon VIREO LBFO.pdf

 

Additional Info: 

Read the employer's "Spin" on their offer to remove wage progressions and disguise it as an increase without even noting that this is actually a roll-back for the vast majority of workers over previous contract rates.  Memo to employees VIREO SPIN.pdf  

Vireo has stated "It projects an operating profit before interest, taxes and depreciation next year of up to $55 million on revenue that could more than double to $180 million." https://www.startribune.com/st-anthony-doctor-and-friends-built-minnesotas-most-valuable-cannabis-company/600067508/

 

The Union met with the Employer on Friday April 30, 2021 with the hope of getting an agreement prior to experation of the current contract which was extended through the end of April, but no agreement had been reached and we remain quite far apart. The parties agreed and are using the services of FMCS (federal mediation) in an attempt to bridge the gap. Updates have been sent directly to the membership; if you are a union member working for Vireo and have not recieved your update, please email jchristensen@ufcw1189.org and provide your personal email (not work email) to receive your update. The Union and the Employer have agreed to meet on May 13.

After requesting to postpone Tuesday’s negotiations to give time to prepare a complete economic proposal to the Union Negotiating team, (and agreeing to pay the day for the committee who had already be taken off of the schedule), Vireo presented an offer today (4/22/2021) that rolled back wages and progressions for future employees – permanently (as new people rarely catch up in a system such as one that was proposed). See proposals here: PDF icon VHMN Economic Proposal to UFCW 4-22-21.pdf

To be clear, this Union has no interest in such unjust proposals that inherently lead to increasing the social and economic injustice in our society, our state, our communities.

The Union provided a counteroffer – amending our original proposal – asking instead for 3% increases across the board for all wages, scales, employees for each of the three years.  Rather than creating substandard jobs for new classifications, the Union proposed adding new jobs to current pay classes. See proposal here: PDF icon Vireo Union Proposals amended 04212120-redline.pdf

The Employer asked to end early, and we resume on Monday 4/26/2021.  

For reference, the current contract is under extension until 5/1/2021.

Read the contract with the Extension Agreement: PDF icon MN Medical 2017-2019_EXT_050121.pdf

PDF icon MN Medical 2017-2019_EXT_050121.pdf

A tentative agreement has been reached with Sauer for the service-maintenance and LPN UFCW 1189 members.  Ratification vote will take place on Monday, April 5, 2021 in the community room in the basement of the facility from 5:30-7:00 a.m. and 1:30-3:00 p.m.  Click on the links below to view the tentative agreement details:

PDF icon LPN proposals 3.24.21 #2.pdf

PDF icon SM proposals 3.18.21 #4.pdf

 

(updated) Workers at Green Goods (Minnesota Medical Solutions) Retail Locations and Cultivation/Production facility began negotiations with their Employer, Vireo Health, last week, on March 18,2021.  Workers submitted proposals to the Union for changes and improvements that they would like to see. Based on the results of the surveys, the Union submitted the following proposal to the management team. The following are the Union's initial proposals and are not the ones workers will be voting. PDF icon Vireo Union Proposals 03182021.pdf

The Union's proposal contains a proposed annual cost of living increases - something that has not been happening with the recent extension of the contract where bonuses were given in lieu of raising the scales. The Union's proposal maintains the current structure of increases through the scales on the employee's anniversary date - or the anniversary of any promotion. Union members also expressed the importance of maintaining their insurance benefits and this is reflected in the proposal.

Union members are seeking increased opportunities for promotion through the creation of more lead positions. This is a critical proposal for our members as the Employer expands and increases its locations. It is also in the proposal for increased pay for positions that require degrees.

Other issues include scheduling improvements, and discussions on communication and equipment.

The Bargaining parties met for their second session on Tuesday, March 23.  The employer presented proposals for changes to language in the agreement but did not present any economic proposals (wages or benefits) nor did they respond to the Union's proposals, except for updating the Union committee on progress made on issues brought up under the discussion points (equipment). The Employer's initial proposal on non-economic issues: PDF icon 2021 03 23 Employer Proposal #1.pdf

The Union provided a counter to the Employer's proposed change in the grievance procedure PDF icon union counter to grievance procedure 03232021.pdf

Additional agreements were reached on language changes to improve the clarity of the contract (Article 3 and Section 1 of Article 16). Agreement was also reached in concept on a new milage and travel provision, but further language is needed before final agreement).

Future Negotiations are scheduled for April 20 :-) and April 22. The Employer is expected to present their economic proposal at the next meeting.

It is worth noting that Vireo is Minnesota's only Union Cannabis company (and if you are not reading this because you are a member looking for an update, if you are a medical cannabis patient, shop where workers have a voice in their workplace. Shop Union). 

 

Pages