Cannabis industry union adds new stores, loses one

| Staff

Employees at a Vancouver cannabis store that joined the BC Budtenders Union in 2022 quietly voted to decertify the union a few months later. 

Employees at Eggs Canna on East Hastings in downtown Vancouver voted to join the union in early 2022, but changed course shortly after that, says co-owner Oana Cappellano in a recent email.

Eva Prkachin, a representative with the Budtenders Union, UFCW 1815, confirms that the employees at this location agreed to decertify union membership, meaning it no longer acts as their bargaining agent. 

Employees at the Eggs Canna location declined to comment, but Prkachin characterizes the decertification as the result of the union successfully negotiating for changes to different in-store policies. Cappellano shares a different perspective, saying staff opted to leave the union because they were disappointed with the contract the union negotiated, including making promises they could not keep. 

At the time, UFCW 1518 said Eggs Canna was the first cannabis store outside of Vancouver Island to join its ranks. Since then, employees at a Seed and Stone location in Chilliwack joined the Budtenders Union. 

Prkachin says since then, a second Seed and Stone location, this time in Delta, joined the union, and most recently, a third Trees Cannabis location, as well as Fireweed Cannabis in northern BC and Canna Cabana in Vancouver on Davie St. joined. The Canna Cabana location opened in November 2023.

Prkachin tells StratCann that the union is currently seeking to make contract negotiations easier for employees looking to unionize. 

“We’re in the process of lobbying the government right now, in concert with employers, to hopefully pull together some boilerplate language around that kind of stuff so we can get to the meat of bargaining a bit faster. It’s an area where workers have to wait too long for both sides to come to an agreement.”

As of March 5, 2024, UFCW 1518 has organized at eight cannabis retail companies in BC, some with several locations, as well as one cannabis producer. These businesses are:

  • Seed & Stone
  • Clarity Cannabis
  • Trees Cannabis
  • Canna Cabana
  • Yaletown Cannabis
  • Fireweed Cannabis
  • Burnside Buds
  • Original Farm
  • Potanicals (cannabis producer)