Missouri Marijuana Retailer Settles Labor Dispute After Terminating Employees Who Tried To Form Union - Read of Green
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Missouri Marijuana Retailer Settles Labor Dispute After Terminating Employees Who Tried To Form Union

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Source: Marijuana Moment

“Five Shangri-La employees will be reinstated and the company will pay more than $145,000 in backpay, front pay, interest and compensation for direct or foreseeable financial harm to 10 employees.”

By Joe Mueller, The Center Square

A Missouri cannabis dispensary settled a dispute to resolve 15 charges of unfair labor practices, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

Point Management, doing business as Shangri-La in Columbia, agreed to a settlement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 based in St. Louis. The dispute was scheduled to go to trial in late October. The company filed a motion in early October to postpone and reschedule the action and the union opposed the motion.

Under the settlement, negotiated by the NLRB’s Region 14 in St. Louis, five Shangri-La employees will be reinstated and the company will pay more than $145,000 in backpay, front pay, interest and compensation for direct or foreseeable financial harm to 10 employees. The company terminated the employees following an effort to organize the union in March. The agreement also requires the company to pay damages to a terminated employee for the interest on a high-interest loan the employee “was forced to take out because of their termination,” according to information from the NLRB.

The company agreed to recognize and bargain with the union and to rescind certain provisions of its handbook and non-disclosure agreement. The company also will read a remedial notice to employees working all shifts, email the notice to current employees and place the notice on its digital messaging platforms.

The company also agreed to have managers and supervisors attend NLRB training on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Shangri-La is a family-founded company and started in 2019, the year after Missouri voters passed Amendment 2 legalizing the use of medical marijuana. Its website states company “members have extensive backgrounds in retail compliance, business management, medicine and dentistry… We are working hand in hand with local communities, business owners, the state and law enforcement to not only be involved in the development of this new industry but to be a leader within it.”

Part of the settlement fell under an NLRB regulation adopted in August called Cemex. The new policy, named after a case involving Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC, created a new framework for determining when employers are required to bargain with unions without a representation election. When a union requests recognition after a majority of employees have chosen the union as their representative, employers must either recognize and bargain with the union or file a petition seeking an election. If an employer commits any unfair labor practice to nullify an election, the company’s petition will be dismissed and the NLRB will order the employer to recognize and bargain with the union.

Under Cemex, Shangri-La agreed to rescind all changes it made after the union filed a petition to represent its employees at one of its locations.

“Individually and collectively, this settlement vindicates employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act,” Andrea J. Wilkes, regional director of the NLRB, said in a statement announcing the settlement.

This story was first published by The Center Square.

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