Eaze reaches deal with California marijuana workers to avert 4/20 strike

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Image of Eaze Technologies workers carrying protest signs.

Eaze Technologies workers gather on April 10 at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770’s headquarters in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Casacchia, MJBizDaily/Emerald)

Eaze Technologies and union negotiators said Wednesday they reached a settlement to avert a work stoppage across California on April 20, the biggest retail day of the year for the marijuana industry.

The tentative agreement for employees at Eaze and its cannabis delivery subsidiary, Stachs, ended nine months of intense negotiations and the lingering threat of an unprecedented strike on 4/20.

The staffers were represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 5, 135, 324 and 770.

According to an MJBizDaily report on April 12, 500 of the company’s delivery and depot employees in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Northern California were ready to walk off the job after negotiations broke down in late March to secure the first labor contract between staffers and the San Francisco-based delivery company.

According to a news release, the bargaining committee unanimously recommended that the workers ratify the agreement, which guarantees:

  • Better pay.
  • A fair process for mileage reimbursement and operating their own vehicles.
  • Work hours.
  • Other job rights and protections.

‘Thrilled’ with settlement

Employees are expected to vote on the changes later this week.

“We are thrilled to have achieved such meaningful victories through our collective strength and solidarity,” said Ron Swallow, an Eaze delivery driver in Van Nuys and part of the UFCW Local 770 negotiating committee.

“This contract will not only improve the lives of Eaze employees but sets a powerful precedent for labor rights within the cannabis industry as a whole.”

Eaze CEO Cory Azzalino told MJBizDaily on Wednesday he wants to see the deal ratified.

“First and foremost, I want to thank our employees that took part in the bargaining committee who made their voices heard and we will work to implement their feedback to make Eaze an even better place to work,” he said via email.

“I also want to thank the UFCW team for negotiating an agreement that is fair for all parties involved.

“We look forward to their partnership over the coming years.”

Mileage rate was key

The mileage rate was perhaps the biggest area of contention.

Several Eaze employees previously told MJBizDaily that the company abruptly cut their mileage rate in spring 2023 from 56 cents to 42 cents per mile.

Because Eaze staffers are W-2 employees, they are prohibited from claiming the difference between 42 cents and 67 cents per mile on their federal tax returns, unlike 1099 independent contractors.

“This contract improves everyone’s working conditions significantly and places us in an excellent position for the next fight,” said Austin Williams, a delivery driver for Eaze and a member of Buena Park-based UFCW Local 324.

“Our strike threat put them in a corner and got us more than they had been willing to offer.

“I’m proud of all of our co-workers for standing up and being willing to fight so hard for what they deserve.”

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.