A message from OPSEU President Smokey Thomas
Greetings, Members of the Liquor Board Employees Division
On March 22, and as a result of the LCBO's apparent unwillingness to negotiate in a serious manner a new collective agreement, your bargaining team unanimously agreed to call for a strike vote.
The team had little choice. The contract "offer" put forward by your employer is unacceptable. It wants to freeze your wages until 2017. It offers no improvements for casuals, fixed-term workers or seasonals. It wants to create a separate wage category for new hires. It wants 'merit' to trump seniority. It wants to cut your benefits with an eye for 'efficiencies.' The list goes on and on. Most definitely, management's contract "offer" contains none of the improvements you sought in your demand-set surveys.
What is a strike vote? A strike vote takes place when a bargaining team thinks it needs to put more pressure on the other side in order to negotiate a fair and just contract settlement. The goal, as always, is to reach an agreement at the table and not by withdrawing our services.
I have been an activist with OPSEU for more than 30 years. I have witnessed and participated in literally dozens of strike votes. Very, very seldom does a strike vote ultimately lead to job action. What I have witnessed many times is how a strong strike vote suddenly causes management to roll up its sleeves and start to bargain seriously.
That, I strongly suspect, is what we will see happens with LCBO management. Thanks to you, the LCBO is cash cow for the government and the last thing it wants to see is its stores shut down.
Your strike vote is set for April 8-9. In the days ahead you will be contacted by your local leaders and mobilizers. They will explain what you need to know in respect to our contract demands and the need to strongly support your bargaining team by issuing an overwhelming Yes result.
I urge you to follow their lead.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President