Section 35 of this legislation would require that, as a condition of obtaining a state license to cultivate, process, distribute and sell adult-use cannabis, an entity must enter into a bona fide labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization. The maintenance of such a labor peace agreement will also be an on-going condition of state licensure.
We believe this mandate is inconsistent with federal law, and it is therefore beyond the state’s legal authority to impose such a mandate. The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of any rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights.
Aside from the ethical questions of legally mandating employees to join a union and pay union dues, regardless of their individual choice, legislation to require an entity – as a condition of doing business in New York – to recognize a bargaining unit and successfully reach a labor peace agreement is clearly contrary to federal law.
It is also arbitrary and unfair. No other private enterprise is held to this obligation. Moreover, this legislation would impose a unionization mandate on employees regardless of their interest in having such representation.
It is hard to imagine the administration or legislature imposing a unionization mandate as a condition of other state issued business permits or licenses. To do so would starkly set New York State apart from other states, and present a new, unique burden to private sector investment and job creation in New York.
For the reasons stated above, we encourage that the following paragraph of Section 35 be removed from the language in the Executive Budget.
(iii) that the applicant has entered into a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization that is actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent the applicant's employees and the maintenance of such a labor peace agreement shall be an ongoing material condition of certification