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First Dispensary Workers in CT Ratify Their Union with UFCW Local 919

UFCW Local 919
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UFCW The Cannabis Workers Union

Waterbury, CT – Workers at Zen Leaf Dispensary (Verano) in Waterbury, Connecticut voted unanimously to ratify their union contract- the first union dispensary contract in the state. The three-year agreement covers all dispensary technicians, leads, and pharmacists, and includes significant wage increases, lead pay, increased holiday pay, predictive scheduling, increased PTO, secured retirement, and health insurance. 

“Connecticut cannabis workers are on a roll!” said UFCW Local 919 President, Mark A. Espinosa. “Zen Leaf Dispensary workers took a big step towards a better future and a better cannabis industry with their new union contract.”

“The workers at Zen Leaf Dispensary raised the bar for all Connecticut dispensary workers,” said Director of Organizing, Emily Sabo. “We are so proud of the hard work they put in to reach an agreement that sets a new standard for cannabis dispensary jobs.”

Zen Leaf Waterbury Dispensary workers were inspired by their colleagues at Advanced Grow Labs in West Haven, Connecticut who ratified their first union contract in December, and the tens and thousands of other cannabis workers across the country who have formed their union with the UFCW. 


In June 2023, workers at Advanced Grow Labs came together to form their union with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 919.

UFCW Local 919 has been leading the push to strengthen Connecticut cannabis jobs and give workers a voice in the workplace as the industry expands across the state. The UFCW represents tens and thousands of cannabis workers across the country in dispensaries, labs, delivery, kitchens, manufacturing, processing, grow facilities, and more. The UFCW is America's largest cannabis workers union and has been representing cannabis workers in states across the country for almost two decades. Its Cannabis Workers Rising campaign helps to advance the development and stabilization of the emerging cannabis industry and supports good jobs in Connecticut and nationwide.

As part of UFCW’s efforts, the union is committed to setting the standards nationally for the cannabis industry through crafting and supporting targeted legislative efforts, leading the way in industry coalitions, and ensuring that cannabis jobs mean living wage jobs, pathways to advancement, and equity, especially for marginalized communities.


UFCW Local 919 is a part of UFCW International, which is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in cannabis, healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW Cannabis Workers Rising Campaign at