Oaksterdam University employees join UFCW Local 5
By JACKSON WEST nbcbayarea.com Thu, May 27, 2010
At a ceremony hosted by Oakland City Council's Rebecca Kaplan, 100
employees at medical marijuana dispensary and education hub Oaksterdam
University turned in their membership cards to join the United Food and
Commercial Workers Union, Local 5.
It may well be the first union pot shop in the country, if not the world.
While it will help employees collectively bargain and resolve disputes
with management, it also gives owner Richard Lee political allies with
Lee is responsible for the Tax Cannabis 2010 ballot measure, which would
decriminalize recreational use of cannabis, which polls suggest has neatly
divided California voters.
As legitimization of the multi-billion dollar business in marijuana could
set the stage for a growth industry, one that UFCW is now in on the ground
floor of. Which could help sway other growth-oriented unions like the
Service Employees International Union.
Of course, police officer associations and the correctional officers union
are unlikely to throw their support behind the ballot measure, since more
drug arrests means more money and jobs for law enforcement and prisons.
It remains to be seen if the ballot measure will pick up a new string of
labor endorsements, or whether it will pay off politically for the likes
of Kaplan, who's running for Mayor of Oakland.
Jackson West loves it when labor and civil liberties meet, as in this case
and that of San Francisco's worker-owned Lusty Lady.