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Cannabis delivery firm Eaze may face worker strike in lead-up to 4/20

A strike could kneecap the delivery firm in advance of the largest cannabis sales day of the year.

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California-based marijuana delivery firm Eaze is facing a possible worker strike in the weeks leading up to April 20 over negotiations with drivers over mileage reimbursement and other outstanding issues, according to the national labor union that represents the workers.

Four chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in California have been negotiating with Eaze on behalf of more than 500 cannabis delivery drivers since last August, according to a statement from the UFCW.

Employees recently voted to reject Eaze’s “last, best, and final” contract offer, which it made on March 19. That vote authorizes the UFCW to initiate an employee strike, the union said.

A strike could kneecap the delivery firm in advance of the largest cannabis sales day of the year, the stoner holiday of 4/20, the union implied in a press release.

“Eaze/Stachs’ recent offer did not meet the worker’s key objectives, which include raising the mileage reimbursement rate, increasing hourly wages, and ensuring a minimum number of hours,” the union said. “Despite the company’s refusal to give workers what they deserve, the union remains committed to negotiations in the hope of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement and avoiding a work stoppage.”

Eaze did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning, but CEO Cory Azzalino told WeedWeek that Eaze also is continuing to negotiate, after having slashed mileage reimbursement rates for drivers last year to 40 cents. By contrast, the Internal Revenue Service recommends a mileage reimbursement rate of 67 cents, while the required minimum reimbursement rate under California law is 35 cents.

Whether the company is profitable or can afford to pay drivers more has been a matter of debate. The privately held Eaze previously maintained that it has never turned a profit, WeedWeek reported, and has even cut corporate salaries by 70% in the last two years to “stay in business.”

But last November, Azzalino said during a podcast that Eaze is profitable in its home state of California (which leaves question marks about the profitability of the company’s footprint in its other state markets, which include Michigan and Colorado).

Regardless, the UFCW and Eaze employees have maintained that the company can afford more concessions to workers.

“We are the reason for the company’s profits, and while they’re getting richer, we’re barely scraping by,” driver Austin Williams said in the release. “UFCW members are ready and willing to do what it takes to ensure Eaze/Stachs agrees to a contract that respects our work and ensures we can put food on the table and pay our rent.”

Three of the four UFCW locals also filed unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against Eaze and its parent company, Stachs LLC, alleging that the company has refused to share worker information and unilaterally modified driver contracts, specifically about mileage reimbursement for delivery drivers. Two of the three complaints were filed on June 7 last year, but the third was just filed on March 25 by Local 770 in Los Angeles. All three are still pending.

The news is yet another signal of organized labor’s growing power in the cannabis industry.

Last year, multistate operator Green Thumb Industries had to deal with a nearly two-week strike at several of its facilities in Illinois, led by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and also had to handle multiple unfair labor practice complaints lodged against it.

Many other large cannabis companies – including Ascend Wellness, Ayr Wellness, Curaleaf, TerrAscend, Cresco Labs, and Trulieve – have also faced unfair labor practice complaints filed by unions


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