Green Thumb Industries Grapples with Federal Complaints and Union Negotiations Amid Employee Strikes

1.7 min readPublished On: May 15th, 2023By

LOS ANGELES– Illinois-based cannabis company, Green Thumb Industries is navigating stormy waters as it continues to negotiate employment terms with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. This follows a nearly two-week-long strike at several of Green Thumb’s facilities, involving unionized workers.

The company is also bracing for potential financial implications from ten federal complaints lodged by the union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during the strike, as reported by the Teamsters representatives to the Green Market Report.

The complaints levelled against Green Thumb include allegations of engaging in bad-faith bargaining, coercive actions such as illegal surveillance, and retaliation against employees who participated in the strike. The union also alleges that Green Thumb illegally promoted several employees, including offering raises, to entice them away from the picket line. It further alleges that workers were forced to remove pro-union buttons which had been allowed for months.

These complaints started trickling in from April 13, with the latest batch of five complaints filed on May 5, days after the strike ended. “The strike provided us with a vast number of opportunities to approach the NLRB,” said David Suetholtz, the attorney representing the Teamsters.

A particularly contentious issue is the allegation that Green Thumb offered a temporary wage increase of $8 per hour to non-striking employees. Suetholtz views this as a significant error on Green Thumb’s part, which could compel the company to offer the same compensation to all other employees at the same facilities.

Green Thumb’s spokesperson has dismissed the complaints as “baseless claims”, stating that the company’s focus has remained on the bargaining table out of respect for its employees.

However, Ruth Kraft, a New York employment lawyer, considers these complaints a “huge, huge issue” for Green Thumb. “The NLRB has a wide range of remedies at its disposal, including requiring reinstatement, back wages, liquidated damages, and declaring a labor practice illegal. They can also sanction a company for engaging in such practices,” Kraft said. “It’s a very serious matter that could potentially lead to remediation, reinstatement, and considerable monetary damages.”

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