United Food and Commercial Workers Local 360, based in West Berlin, said NJ Leaf in Freehold is the newest company to make the choice to organize with the UFCW, a choice that its owner, Ritesh Shah, fully endorses.
“NJ Leaf is committed to our partnership with the UFCW,” Shah said. “We want to make sure we are there every step of the way to provide a better work environment and better wages for our team.”
NJ Leaf’s mission is to cultivate a “compassionate community while creating a safe and inclusive space.” The mission also highlights NJ Leaf’s commitment to delivering exceptional customer service, enabling customers to make informed choices.
Beyond the local jobs created by NJ Leaf when it opened, the company also made use of union labor during its construction, including electricians, plumbers, pipefitters and carpenters.
“NJ Leaf opened in March and has proven to be a valuable member of the growing New Jersey cannabis community,” Hugh Giordano, UFCW Local 360’s director of organizing, said. “Their focus on high-quality products, exceptional customer service, innovation and education matches that of UFCW Local 360, and makes this is strong partnership for the owners, employees, customers and community.”
Giordano also noted that, before NJ Leaf opened, some local medical marijuana customers often had to travel far to find their prescribed medication, and that part of the store’s business model includes offering pharmacist consultations with patients.
“We began this year full of determination,” Sam Ferraino Jr., UFCW Local 360 president, said. “We knew there was a great need in New Jersey’s cannabis industry for strong union leadership, and we knew that we were best placed to deliver it. And deliver it we did. That’s why welcoming NJ Leaf to the Local 360 family feels so apt. Ritesh and his team understand and embrace the ability of unions to positively impact businesses, families and communities.”
From seed to sale, UFCW is a recognized leader in organizing cannabis industry employees and is the official AFL-CIO-designated cannabis labor union. Representing tens of thousands of cannabis workers in dispensaries, labs, delivery, manufacturing, processing, grow facilities and more, UFCW works with employees and business owners to achieve the shared goal of a regulated cannabis industry that delivers family-sustaining jobs and is focused on social equity.