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Indybay Feature
Tue Sep 8 2015
Campaign Contributions Fuel UFCW Bid to Unionize Cannabis Workers
Arrest of Dan Rush Raises Questions on Efforts to Unionize Cannabis Workers
Dan Rush, a former union organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, was recently named in a federal arrest warrant that alleges he engaged in bad-faith negotiations with cannabis dispensary owners while acting in his capacity as a union official. Rush is also accused of holding a private financial interest in a medical cannabis company seeking a dispensary permit in Oakland in 2010.

Rush is a prominent figure in the California medical cannabis community, and he has traveled throughout the state to conduct union organizing activities. A review of campaign finance records shows UFCW Locals 5 and 770, and a regional UFCW political action committee, made targeted contributions to state and local candidates in an apparent bid to open up new dispensary regulations and permits.

Political contributions from cannabis supporters and businesses represent a small but growing fraction of the campaign money raised by state and local officials. UFCW Local 5 has condemned Rush's alleged activities, and the federal warrant makes no allegations regarding campaign contributions. Even so, contributions provide a useful frame of reference to examine the union's activities during Rush's tenure as a UFCW organizer.

Read More | Coverage by SF Weekly | Statement from Dan Rush and his Lawyer
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