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Region 28 Wins Board Decision Ordering Arizona Cannabis Dispensary to Reinstate and Make Whole Unlawfully Fired Employee, Read Notice, and Grant Union Equal Time to Address Employees

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Phoenix, Arizona – On December 8, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board issued a Decision and Order finding that Gilbert, Arizona cannabis dispensary Absolute Healthcare d/b/a Curaleaf illegally fired a worker for assisting United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 99 with organizing Curaleaf’s employees, made illegal threats and promises to discourage employees from organizing, and created the impression that workers’ union activities were under surveillance by Curaleaf.

The Board ordered Curaleaf to cease and desist from engaging in such conduct, reinstate and make whole the illegally fired worker, physically and electronically post a notice reassuring its employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, have the notice publicly read to employees by Curaleaf’s HR Director or an NLRB agent in her presence, and give UFCW Local 99 equal time to address employees on the subject of unionization for a period of 2 years from the date the notice is posted, or until the Regional Director has issued an appropriate certification following a free and fair election, whichever comes first.

The Board determined that the notice reading remedy was appropriate because Curaleaf “engaged in serious unfair labor practices that struck at the heart of employees’ Section 7 rights [under the NLRA] and, collectively, ‘sent a message to employees that those who supported the Union did so at their peril.’”

The Board determined that the equal time remedy was needed because Curaleaf’s actions “deprived its employees of access to accurate information about a union,” which was “needed to ‘assure employees a free and fair choice regarding union representation.’”

Judge G. Murray Snow of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona previously issued a preliminary injunction requiring Curaleaf to cease and desist from unfair labor practices and to reinstate the illegally fired worker during the pendency of the administrative case before the NLRB. Absent Curaleaf’s compliance with the NLRB’s Decision and Order, the NLRB can petition for enforcement of the Decision and Order in an appropriate court of appeals. Curaleaf can request review of the Decision and Order in an appropriate court of appeals.

“Employees have a right under the National Labor Relations Act to organize a union to bargain on their behalf,” said Acting Regional Director Barbara B. Baynes. “No employee should have to fear or experience termination of their employment for exercising that right. The Board’s decision to order reinstatement, make-whole relief for the illegally fired worker, along with other remedies to address the chilling effect of its unlawful conduct, effectuates the National Labor Relations Act.”

The case was litigated by NLRB Region 28 Field Attorney Rodolfo Martinez, briefed to the Administrative Law Judge by NLRB Region 28 Field Attorney Katherine Leung, and briefed to the Board by NLRB Region 28 Field Attorney Judith Dávila.

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. Region 28 serves areas in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas from its Regional Office in Phoenix and its Resident Offices in Albuquerque and Las Vegas.