California agriculture labor board finds cannabis workers union not ‘bona fide’

The California Agricultural Labor Board has issued a finding in support of a complaint brought against a cannabis industry workers’ union that the state wonders truly exists.

And that’s the problem, according to labor board members.

The board decided last month that Professional Technical Union, Local 33 (Pro-Tech 33) may not represent a “bona fide” union and appears to maintain “no physical presence in California,” the document said.

The complaint was filed in March by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, known as the Teamsters, and Three Habitat Consulting of Palm Springs, with which it entered into a labor peace agreement.

Cannabis licensees must comply with requirements imposed on these labor peace agreements, which are intended to ensure workers know their rights and how to exercise them, according to the state. Last year, the California Legislature authorized the ag labor board to review and investigate complaints.

At this point, it is unclear if Pro-Tech 33 represented any North Bay cannabis companies. The probe discovered Pro-Tech 33 may have initially opened an unstaffed office in Bakersfield in 2018.

“In short, it is entirely unclear how anyone could identify Pro-Tech 33, any officers of Pro-Tech 33, or how to contact Pro-Tech 33, or anyone associated with it,” the complaint reads.

But an attorney responding to an email inquiry indicated the complaint did not specify whether Pro-Tech constitutes a legitimate union under the National Labor Relations Act.

“Pro-Tech 33 is still organizing in other states in the cannabis industry,” Patrick Callahan said in the email.

To the state board though, its finding serves as a warning to other business workers who may have signed on with the organization since the mere purpose of a union involves outreach and accessibility.

“The whole point is to assure workers have access to it,” labor board Chairwoman Victoria Hassid said.

The state board decision was sent to the California Department of Cannabis Control for possible further action.

Susan Wood covers law, cannabis, production, tech, energy, transportation, agriculture, banking and finance. She can be reached at 530-545-8662 or

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