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  • Writer's pictureCentral Processors NY (CPNY)

First Unionized Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivation and Processing Facility Ratifies First Contract

The workers at Central Processors NY (CPNY) in Syracuse ratified their first union contract on April 23, after the bargaining unit won voluntary recognition from their employer. The new contract secures guaranteed wage increases over the course of the contract including an increase in minimum starting rates, quality healthcare benefits for the worker and their family that are fully paid for by the employer, and generous paid time off for both part-time and full-time employees.

“When the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act was passed in 2021, we knew that it was our responsibility to help set the standard for careers in New York’s adult-use industry, just as we have for workers in the medical cannabis field. This first collective bargaining agreement, one of many to come, is the result of over a decade of advocacy in New York’s cannabis space, and we are proud to have negotiated a contract for our members at Central Processors NY with the same high wages, strong benefits, and industry standards as the ones we’ve helped establish for workers across the State’s medical cannabis market," said Joseph Fontano, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. "This first contract is historic, and we hope that other adult-use cannabis licensees will follow Central Processors NY’s lead in both respecting their workers’ right to form a union and investing in their workforce through a strong collective bargaining agreement.”

The workers at CPNY are the first unionized cultivation and processing facility in New York’s adult-use cannabis industry. Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW represents 20 workers at the facility, who work in various job titles in cultivation and manufacturing.


“This contract met a lot of our needs. The new health benefits are very important to me personally – I had been without health insurance for a year after I left my last job. The paid time off we won is substantially more than what we had received previously, and the contract clearly outlines how using and accumulating time off works. Before this contract, the guidelines around paid time off were vague, and now we know exactly what we’ve accrued and can use. Everyone is very happy with the final contract," Lucas Beauchamp, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW Member and Manufacturer at Central Processors NY said.


Central Processors NY, which produces products under the banners High Peaks, Drip, and Generic AF, is the second union shop in New York’s adult-use market, joining their fellow members at the licensed dispensary Housing Works Cannabis Co. as members of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. Local 338 represents approximately 600 workers across both the medical and adult-use cannabis industries, including workers at all 10 registered medical cannabis operators.

“We have tremendous respect for our workers, they do a great job and we are proud to make this investment in our workforce by being the first unionized adult-use cultivation and processing facility in New York.  This contract is going to change the lives of our workers, while also setting the standard for the rest of the cultivation and processing facilities in the adult-use industry.  If New York’s cannabis market is going to succeed, then it is vital that licensees across the industry respect, value and invest in their workforce,” said John Vavalo, CEO of Central Processors NY.


“Unionizing was a no-brainer; job protections and all the benefits we’ll get through this contract are really promising.," said Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW Member and Lead Cultivation Tech at Central Processors NY, David Burton. "The health benefits we’ll receive are a hundred times better than anything my job could have offered us, and our new contract provides specific job titles and descriptions, which was important to me.” 


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