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Prior to state approval for recreational cannabis sales, workers at Harmony Dispensary unionized

Workers at the dispensary and Harmony Foundation joined the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360

Shaya Brodchandel, CEO of the Harmony Foundation. Photo courtesy of Harmony.

Secaucus’ Harmony Dispensary recently made headlines after getting state approval to expand from medical cannabis sales to recreational adult-use sales. However, what went somewhat under the radar was that, at the end of October, the workers of the dispensary unionized.

On Oct. 22, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360 announced the decision of workers at the Harmony Foundation and its Harmony Dispensary to unionize as members of UFCW. Harmony employees added their names to the fast-growing ranks of UFCW Local 360 from New Jersey’s fledgling cannabis economy.

“This is great news for these workers and their families. They carefully considered and then selected the career-enhancing benefits that come with joining Local 360,” said Hugh Giordano, UFCW Local 360 organizing director.

“From ensuring sick and ailing patients get the help they need, to educating them on how to properly experience the benefits of medical marijuana, to supporting the expansion of this industry, they have shown their commitment to the promises of the cannabis economy,” Giordano said.

“Across the cannabis industry, a new breed of workers is discovering that true unions play a critical role in properly balancing the needs of workers, communities and employers,” said Sam Ferraino Jr., president of UFCW Local 360.

”This vote is not only a sign of support for the union’s pledge to make a positive impact on businesses, families and communities, it is also a statement of support for high operating standards and a diverse and skilled workforce with good working conditions,” Ferraino said.

From “seed to sale,” UFCW is a leader in organizing cannabis industry employees and is the official AFL-CIO-designated cannabis labor union. Representing tens of thousands of cannabis workers in dispensaries, labs, delivery, manufacturing, processing, grow facilities and more, UFCW said it works with employees and business owners to achieve “the shared goal of a regulated cannabis industry that delivers family-sustaining jobs and is focused on social equity.”

“We have always said that the UFCW supports cannabis industry workers from seed to sale,” Giordano added. “And with a company like Harmony, that’s clearly the case. They’re already a name in medical marijuana, with their own cultivation and dispensary operations, and they’re actively looking to expand, both geographically through new businesses and by entering the adult-use market. It is the right time to join Local 360 and we are proud that these employees have come to the same conclusion.”

Harmony now joins the ongoing unionization of cannabis workers nationwide. While it has been approved to enter into the adult cannabis market at its Secaucus dispensary, Harmony also plans on opening medical dispensaries in Hoboken and Jersey City, in addition to its new cultivation site in Lafayette.

“Harmony has always believed that the men and women that come to work every day in our dispensaries deserve to have their voices heard on the job,” said Shaya Brodchandel, CEO of Harmony. “We look forward to our future discussions with our team members, and UFCW Local 360, to build on Harmony’s reputation as being a truly great place to work.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.