Hugh Giordano, Assistant Director of Organizing with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 152, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss labor peace agreements in the cannabis industry that protect a worker’s rights to organize. He said these agreements often contain language found within the Rich Trumka PRO Act.
Local 152 represents over 14,000 food and commercial workers across a variety of industries in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The UFCW has increased their focus on the legal cannabis industry. Legislation in New Jersey and numerous other states requires anybody applying for a cannabis manufacturing, sales or distributors license to enter into a labor peace agreement to protect the rights of workers to organize. These agreements largely do what the PRO Act would achieve, if passed, Giordano said.
The success of organizing cannabis workers demonstrates the importance of passing the PRO Act and making these rights universal to all workers, he added.
Giordano also spoke about the challenges of organizing workers in the face of management opposition and bullying tactics. He discussed social equity and economic justice standards in new emerging markets and how there needs to be an improvement in worker rights.
He also discussed the challenges of providing personal protection equipment to custodial workers early in the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrated the critical role unions play in fighting for workplace safety, he said.
Lastly, he talked about how younger generations increasingly understand the importance of unions and why this will lead to an influx of organizing, as more workers stand up for their rights.
Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics: