Chair Holvey, Vice-Chair Elmer, Vice-Chair Sosa, and Members of the Committee,
My name is Janet Bauer, Director of Policy Research for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, and I respectfully submit this testimony in support of HB 3183 on behalf of the Center.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the economic outcomes for all Oregonians, particularly low-income families and Oregonians of color, through research and analysis.
HB 3183 would require that OLCC-licensed cannabis businesses be a party to a labor peace agreement with their employees. This would ensure that cannabis workers can organize and secure agreements for safe working conditions and fair treatment.
Unlike most other workers, cannabis farm workers aren’t protected by federal law when they organize to improve their wages and working conditions. And many cannabis workers hired primarily to do retail work also do farm labor tasks, a fact that undermines their standing to organize. Consequently, few cannabis workers can organize without interference and fear of retaliation from their boss.
The consequences of Oregon cannabis workers not having the right to organize are stark. People report working around hazardous chemicals and high-capacity electrical equipment without the safety precautions required by law, and bosses who won’t fix those conditions. Organizing would enable workers to insist on accountability to health, safety, wage, and hour standards from their boss.
Oregon should protect cannabis workers by requiring firms to sign an agreement not to interfere with unionizing efforts as a condition of their business licensure.
We urge you to support HB 3183.