Marijuana company’s call center employees to unionize

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The workers could become part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union

Union talk in the marijuana industry is spreading and a call center that operates for a cannabis company in Ontario, Canada could soon unionize. Employees of the call center for the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) voted and have decided that they want to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

The vote came after the UFCW filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Line One Contact Centres, a call center company that provides services for OCS. The union alleges that an employee had been wrongfully terminated after beginning to talk with fellow employees and supervisors about unionizing at the call center last month and asserts, “Given the contextual facts and circumstances, there can be absolutely no doubt that Mr. Jasar was terminated as a reprisal for his union organizing activity, and that such termination was designed to intimidate other employees from exercising their right to join a union and to undermine the Union’s ongoing organizing activity.”

The UFCW represents employees at a number of retail cannabis stores operated by the Société Québécoise du Cannabis in Quebec, as well as workers of the cannabis industry in the U.S. It has also launched a challenge to Ontario laws that expressly prohibit unionization among those that work in the cannabis agricultural industry.

Line One president Kyle Ostermann indicates that the company is fighting the attempts to unionize, adding, “Whether the UFCW has been successful in its attempts to unionize Line One call centre workers is an issue presently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and has yet to be finally determined.”