Answers to common questions about the OPSEU-LCBO tentative settlement

As covered in the June 27 bargaining bulletin, the tentative settlement between OPSEU and the LCBO represents a strong victory in our efforts to build a better LCBO, and lays the groundwork for significant improvements for LCBO workers. The bulletin laid out the key features of the new four-year contract, and provided a link to the full memorandum of settlement for members to see the details.

Following the release of this bulletin, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and the LBED bargaining team chair held a series of telephone town halls to allow members across the province to ask questions about the deal, hear more details about specific aspects, and discuss the ways in which this deal sets us on the path to a better LCBO. Given the large number of stores, there are a significant number of members working in remote locations. To ensure that all members had an equal opportunity to participate, telephone town halls were chosen, with three different calls to allow as many members as possible to hear from the bargaining team chair and have their questions answered.

In total, more than 5000 people participated in the three calls. If you missed these calls and would like to listen to a recording, you can find recordings of all three calls on the OPSEU website.

Following these calls, the bargaining team and OPSEU staff received a number of questions regarding the tentative settlement. Ahead of the ratification vote, which is coming up on July 18-19, the answers to many commonly-asked questions about the settlement can be found below. If you have additional questions that aren’t fully answered here, please send them in to OPSEU Negotiator Jeff Weston at lbedbargaining@opseu.org.

Job security was LBED members’ number one issue during the demand-setting process. How did the Union achieve this?

  • As of March 31, 2018 the LCBO will no longer hire/use outside non-union agency workers, meaning more work will be available for seasonal, casual, and fixed-term workers in logistics.
  • We achieved protection for jobs and stores in the context of the growth of beer, wine, and cider sales in grocery stores. No permanent full time retail staff will be laid off and no retail stores will close due to the impact of these sales.
  • With the relocation of Head Office, the LCBO has to provide updates to the Union, including if there will be any impact to bargaining unit members
  • 100,000 hours repatriation of product tastings being done by sales reps will come back into the bargaining unit to be done by our members
  • The LCBO has committed to a new post and fill provision, which means all attrition/vacancies, except for reason of layoff, must now be filled.  The Employer will post vacancies three times per year (January, May and September) and the Union will be able to track these vacancies and postings through the Provincial Labour Management Committee (PLMC). The LCBO has also provided the current level (January 1, 2017) of full time positions, which is 2,498, so that this requirement can be enforced.
  • In addition to filling all vacancies the LCBO will also post 100 new full time positions, along with 25 new casual logistics positions, over and above the 200 new Customer Service Representatives (CSR) and 83 Permanent Vacancy Review (PVR) jobs. These new Permanent Full-Time (PFT) positions will be in addition to the 2,498 number from January 1, 2017, meaning the minimum PFT levels that have to be maintained under this will continue to increase over the life of this agreement.
  • The LCBO has also committed to reduce the amount of retail casual workers from 84% to 70% over the life of the collective agreement. 
  • We also achieved an agreement for voluntary recognition if the LCBO has anything to do with the retailing or distribution of cannabis. This means that will be our work.

What other important highlights did your bargaining team achieve with this tentative agreement?

  • A complete overview of the details of the tentative agreement can be found in Issue 19 of the bargaining bulletin, but some key changes are listed below.
  • Improved union representation language for accommodations and workplace disputes
  • Expanded harassment and discrimination language and an improved investigation process that will see resolution of complaints significantly faster and in a more transparent way
  • Benefit improvements for PFT, Seasonal and Permanent Part-Time (PPT) employees in areas of paramedical, vision, dental, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), out of country coverage, substance abuse residential treatment and semi-private hospital stays.
  • For casuals, statutory leaves, bereavement and union leave now count toward reducing the time needed to meet the 1300 hour qualifying requirement.  In the past employees who were on these types of leaves jeopardized their ability to keep qualified for these benefits
  • Sundays for PFT employees will now be scheduled on a voluntary basis and the maximum number of Sundays PFTs can be required to work has been reduced from 13 to 10.
  • Saturdays off for PFTs have been increased from 15 to a minimum of 17.
  • Scheduling improvements in retail include,
    • full weeks of the same shift in double-shift stores,
    • we won a new cap on casuals in retail, which will bring the number down from 84 per cent to 70 per cent,
    • the elimination of 2 hour shifts, with a new minimum shift length of 3 hours
    • the ability for casuals who are working a 5 hour shift to extend shifts to 8 hours with a new 3-hour unforeseen work shift
    •  6 day work week for casuals
  • Improved transparency from the LCBO over their business decisions, ensuring that the Union has the facts and figures before decisions are made and workers are affected.
  • A general wage increase of 7.5% for all employees retroactive to April 1, 2017, as well as two special case wage adjustments for fixed-terms and Product Consultants.

What happened around Sunday voluntary scheduling?

Your bargaining team tabled language on this issue for all employees affected by the change in the work week, but the employer would not entertain the idea. The team held on to this issue until the final hours of bargaining. When it became apparent that the employer would not budge, the team felt the best choice was to minimize the impact on employees working Sundays.

The new process will involve managers posting a signup sheet with the number of PFT employees needed for each Sunday. If there are not enough volunteers, PFT employees will be scheduled in reverse order of seniority. PPT and casual employees will be scheduled as per the employer’s normal practice.

The union, through the PLMC, will continue to have discussions with the employer in the weeks ahead in an effort to improve the way Sundays are scheduled for retail employees at the LCBO.  The employer is very aware of how workers feel about Sunday scheduling.

What is the expectation around Saturday scheduling in logistics?

The changes around Saturday scheduling in logistics are on an as needed basis. The intent of the language was to address the peak periods in logistics that will start becoming more burdensome with the expanding retail network of the LCBO and the expansion of grocery stores selling alcohol. In those occasional periods where the workload is extremely heavy, the employer will utilize the language on Saturday scheduling.

The agreed language ensures that no PFT will be forced to work on a Saturday, however they can volunteer to work the shift, while getting another day off during the week, most likely a day of their choosing. Where insufficient volunteers sign up to work, the employer will schedule in reverse seniority (from the bottom up), provided the employee is qualified to perform the work in their area (i.e forklift trained).

Was the team able to achieve a wage increase?

Yes, the team managed to negotiate a general wage increase of 7.5 per cent across the life of the collective agreement. The increases occur every 6 months on April 1 and October 1 of each year of the agreement.

Apr 1, 2017 – 1%
Oct 1, 2017 – 0.5%
Apr 1, 2018 – 1%
Oct 1, 2018 – 1%
Apr 1, 2019 – 1%
Oct 1, 2019 – 1%
Apr 1, 2020 – 1%
Oct 1, 2020 – 1%

What are the special case adjustments for fixed-term and Product Consultants?

Your bargaining team was able to negotiate a special case wage adjustment for fixed-term workers, ensuring their rate matches the bottom rate of a casual in their area, effective ratification of the agreement. As well, the Product Consultants will receive an amendment to their grid, effective ratification, which will see the bottom step increase to step 8 of the Customer Service Representative (CSR) grid and will also see steps 2 and 3 removed, making the next step equal to the top of the CSR grid.

These two changes will see each classification get the 1% wage increase on their current grid, effective April 1, 2017 and then the special adjustments will take place the date of ratification.

Are fixed term workers now making more than casuals?

No, fixed term workers will now be making the bottom rate of the casual grid in the area they work.

What does the 70 per cent casual cap mean? Will that number go back up? How will it be enforced?

The team was able to achieve a 70 per cent cap on casual employee levels within the retail division.

In order to achieve the 70 per cent cap, the employer will use conversion to PFT positions to reduce the number of casuals. This will be achieved through the 383 new PFT positions over the life of the Collective Agreement, as well as any PFT positions posted as a result of the post and fill process, which is on average 100 per year. That number doesn’t factor in the over 400 employees eligible to retire in the retail network over the life of the Collective Agreement, which will also be posted under the new process. As a result, casual positions should decrease over the term of the Collective Agreement as these hours convert into PFT positions.

The union will be reviewing the casual to PFT ratio in the retail division quarterly through your PLMC meetings and will be watching the roll out of the 200 Kaplan job postings and post and fill processes closely to ensure the employer is on track to meet the target of reducing the casual compliment to 70 per cent.

What happens if this deal is rejected by the membership?

The team is unanimously recommending acceptance of this tentative settlement and are asking the membership to vote “YES” to accept the deal on July 18 and 19. However, should the deal be rejected, the division will be on strike as of 12:01 a.m. on July 20. The strike deadline passed at 12:01 a.m. on June 26.

If a strike takes place, the freeze provisions protecting the existing collective agreement will no longer be in place, meaning there will be no governing collective agreement.

If I have a question about the settlement that is not answered here, on the tele-town hall recordings or in the bargaining bulletin, where can I get more information?

You can find information on the tentative settlement in the following ways:

Publication Date: 

Friday, July 7, 2017 - 11:45am