Raucous LBED rally outside LCBO HQ demands good jobs
A crowd of close to 300 liquor board employees and delegates attending OPSEU’s annual convention demonstrated outside LCBO headquarters in downtown Toronto today demanding that the Crown-owned retail giant get serious about negotiating a new collective agreement that puts ‘good jobs’ first.
“What a fantastic turnout today,” LBED bargaining chair Denise Davis told the crowd. “Not only do we have 7,000 liquor board employees behind us at the bargaining table, we’ve got 130,000 OPSEU members with us at the bargaining table. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
The demonstrators left the OPSEU convention site at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre shortly after noon and, with a Scottish piper leading them, made the short walk and bus ride to LCBO headquarters on Lakeshore Blvd., E. It was a colourful display of hundreds of chanting OPSEU members, many of whom blared whistles and proudly carried the union’s flag.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the gathering the LBED fight at the bargaining table is one that tens of thousands of other working families in Ontarians can share.
“The central issue in these negotiations is: ‘What kind of Ontario do we want?’” said Thomas. “Do we want an Ontario with good, permanent jobs with decent pay and benefits, or do we accept insecure, part-time jobs that don’t allow families to live decently and give our kids opportunities and our members the ability to retire with dignity and a secure income?”
Today’s demonstration attracted considerable media attention.
LBED members by a margin of 95 per cent on April 9 gave their bargaining team a strike mandate should contract talks fail. Earlier this week the bargaining team recommended a May 17 strike deadline should negotiations break down.