Tele Town Hall draws 3,200 callers!
Close to 3,200 liquor board employees — almost half the total LBED membership — participated yesterday evening and this morning in a telephone town hall meeting that organizers described as an overwhelming success.
"I've been involved in several of these now and I will say this ranked among the cream of the crop," said OPSEU President Smokey Thomas who co-hosted the hour-long special telephone meeting along with bargaining team chair, Denise Davis.
"There was a real spirit of solidarity and strength that was undeniable," said Davis. "You could tell from members who got through with their questions and comments that we seem to be heading toward a very strong strike vote on April 8 and 9."
In fact, in an electronic straw vote among participants, 89 per cent Wednesday evening said they would vote 'Yes' to authorizing a strike mandate if a deal can't be reached at the bargaining table. This morning an overwhelming 96 per cent of callers said 'Yes!'
Thomas told the participants: "The ghost at the table is the government of Ontario. Premier Wynne ran on a campaign of good jobs. We'll hold the government's feet to the fire and have it tell LCBO negotiators that casuals must have good, full-time jobs."
The next few days will be crucial for LBED local leaders and mobilizers to try and reach every last member to distribute literature and convince the undecideds that only a very strong strike vote will make LCBO management wake up and start negotiating with a determination they have not yet demonstrated at the table.
Several dozen LBED members had the opportunity to ask specific questions to Davis and Thomas; some waiting up to 40 minutes before speaking. It was clear from the calls and comments that casuals, seasonals, fixed-term and PPTs are getting a particularly raw deal from the LCBO in this round of bargaining. Many urged the bargaining team to push hard on the Permanent Vacancy Review (PVR) that allows those with precarious employment to land permanent, full-time work at the retail giant which last year earned a dividend of $1.6 billion.
"It breaks my heart to see how the LCBO treats its casuals," said one caller, a full-time employee, from Wasaga Beach. "Nobody deserves that sort of treatment."