The UFCW is building a national Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC), comprised of labor leaders and unionized employers, to oversee the curriculum for cannabis apprenticeship programs and raise standards as this fast-growing industry continues to evolve.
The cannabis apprenticeship programs, from seed to sale, will train cannabis workers and set the standards nationally for the industry. These programs will also help to ensure that cannabis jobs mean living wage jobs, pathways to advancement, and equity, especially for marginalized communities. The UFCW’s JATC is developing a core curriculum that locals can use, add to, and change for their region. Along with the core curriculum, our union is also applying for accreditation so our apprentices can earn certificates and continuing education credits that can count toward college transfer credits.
The UFCW’s JATC and other locals convened for a summit on April 22 to share information and discuss strategic goals around cannabis and apprenticeships. The summit highlighted the importance of thinking about cannabis apprenticeships in the broader political and legislative context, and how it can impact organizing, bargaining, and representing members, and help strengthen community alliances as we build equity and inclusion into our apprenticeship program from the beginning.
“The first meeting of the JATC was informative and is the first step in this groundbreaking initiative to standardize workforce development and training in the cannabis space,” said RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 Political and Communications Director Nikki Kateman. “We’re looking forward to continuing to share information with our UFCW sisters and brothers from across the country so that we build a cannabis industry that works for workers.”
The UFCW’s JATC will meet one time per month initially, either virtually or in person, to carry out its responsibilities. Members of the JATC include locals from every region that currently has cannabis workers unionized, and multi-state employers who have shown they are worker-friendly. The UFCW will convene another summit later in 2021 or early 2022 to continue sharing information and collaborating.
“The cannabis industry is growing fast and we want to be sure those workers have the benefit of unionization with the UFCW, and that we are positioned as the union that creates the industry standards – for wages and benefits, job skills, and health and safety,” said Lynne Dodson, who is the workforce development and training coordinator for the International’s Organizing Department. “We are in the best position to ensure all workers in the industry, especially those who have been most impacted by the ‘war on drugs,’ have opportunities and a voice on the job. UFCW-led apprenticeships can build power for workers.”