COVID-19: London-Based WeedMD Puts 40 Workers on Leave, Slashes Management Pay

Article by , London Free Press

LOCAL NEWS COVID-19: London-based WeedMD puts 40 workers on leave, slashes management pay By Dale Carruthers Lucas Brown of WeedMD harvests just the top buds from their outdoor crop of Ghost Train Haze, a high THC strain of marijuana at their outdoor location just north of Mount Brydges on Thursday October 3, 2019. The heavy top buds are removed first so the plant will put more growth into lower bunches for an overall higher yield. Mike Hensen/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network LFP20191003MH212

A Southwestern Ontario cannabis company is putting dozens of workers on paid leave and slashing management pay as it deals with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

WeedMD, a licensed producer of medical and recreational marijuana, has put 12 per cent of its staff on temporary paid leave and cut compensation for executives and board members by 25 per cent, the company announced.

The London-based company has about 340 workers at operations in Strathroy, Aylmer and Bowmanville, and offices in Toronto and London.

About 40 employees, mainly in administrative and corporate roles, have been put on temporary paid leave, a company spokesperson said Monday, adding no production or cultivation workers were affected.

“We are working through unprecedented times and while our cultivation platform and production is fully ramped up, in an effort to maintain prudent business practices during this uncertain period, we recently made the difficult decision to temporarily reduce our workforce,” chief executive Angelo Tsebelis said in a release.

News of the layoffs comes as WeedMD is locked in a battle with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) over representation of some production workers.

A lawyer representing WeedMD wrote the union asking for the names of workers who have signed union cards, but the UFCW says it won’t turn over that information over concerns the unionized employees could face retribution.

Instead, UFCW national representative Kevin Shimmin has offered to provide a sworn affidavit to the company, listing the number of workers who have signed union cards and their job titles.

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