2021 Bargaining Bulletin - Liquor Board Employees Division

A new vision for the LCBO: safe, public, and more secure than ever 

LCBO: Essentially Yours over an illustration of dozens of people behind an LCBO store

2021 LBED Bargaining Bulletin, Issue 3

OPSEU/SEFPO Leaders’ Message

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to create a new normal for front-line workers in Ontario. We are proud to say your bargaining team has worked hard to craft your demands into a solid opening proposal that envisions an exciting new normal for the LCBO – a new normal that embraces responsible, public alcohol sales by an essential workforce in which everybody has the safety and job security they need and deserve.

It doesn’t matter if you’re casual, seasonal, or permanent –every LBED member has proven themselves to be essential front-line heroes throughout this pandemic. How does management reward them? With concessions that would wreak havoc on their families and their communities.

OPSEU/SEFPO and the LBED Bargaining Team will be pushing back hard with our vision of an LCBO that sets the gold standard for retail workers everywhere.

In solidarity,

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida

A new vision for the LCBO: safe, public, and more secure than ever

As your bargaining team, we arrived at the virtual table in late March feeling optimistic.

In previous bargaining rounds, we convinced the employer to take meaningful steps towards a stronger and better LCBO. Hundreds of casuals given the opportunity to become permanent. Better health and safety protections for all. And an ever-increasing commitment to a healthy work-life balance.

And then, at the start of the pandemic, we were declared essential: key members of the vital front-line workforce risking our own health and safety to keep Ontario safe. Leveraging the strong collaboration language we’ve negotiated over the years, our local leaders and health and safety committees were able to work with the employer to make our stores and warehouses – and, ultimately, our communities – as safe as possible and to avoid layoffs at head office.

With this long track-record of success, we’ve came to this round feeling confident that the employer – and the public – recognizes the value of our work like never before. Our goal is simple: bargain a contract in which the LCBO bravely and confidently treats us – and all front-line workers – with the respect the pandemic proves we deserve.

We’ll be challenged at the table – we always are. That’s what bargaining is all about.

A significant challenge will be the government’s wage-cap bill, Bill 124, which caps our increases to just one per cent a year for the first three years of this next contract. It’s blatantly unconstitutional, but because our Charter challenge won’t likely be heard by the Supreme Court for months, it’s a reality we have to face.

To give you a glimpse into some of the other challenges we face, we’ve agreed with the employer to show you both of our opening non-monetary proposals (we’ll get to the monetary negotiations later in the process). Here are our opening proposals, and here are the employer’s opening proposals.

They’re different as night and day.

The employer took the approach it normally does, tabling opening proposals that focus on specific language concessions that add up to a weaker LCBO featuring more contract positions with lower pay, fewer opportunities for casuals and seasonals to advance, and scheduling changes that would seriously degrade our work-life balance.

But as you can see from our proposals, we’ll be having none of it.

Building on the priorities you identified during the demand-set process, we crafted our proposals using a technique called “concept bargaining.” We lay out in broad strokes our vision for more good jobs and healthier working conditions. When the employer agrees in principle, we then move on to writing specific language that enacts those principles.

Take our proposal on Article 6 – Job Security:

“The LCBO is a valued, quality public service that is essential to the Province of Ontario and its citizens in every local community. The Union will put forward language that protects the work at the LCBO and seeks to stop the further erosion of the quality public services that OPSEU/SEFPO members provide; and stop the transfer, conveyance, disposition or sale of an undertaking, all or part of a business, program, project or work currently carried out by bargaining unit members by any other organization,” we write.

“Further, the Union is seeking that there be a review of work that has been contracted out during the life of the collective agreement (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2021) and that work be brought back into the LCBO to be performed by OPSEU/SEFPO members and an immediate recall and/or posting of positions for the work.”

Our opening proposals tell a compelling story to the employer, to the government, and to the public: the story of better protected LCBO workers, a stronger LCBO itself, and healthier communities across the province.

The more support we get from you – the members – the better we’ll be able to tell that story.

Over the coming weeks, you’ll have the chance to talk to one of our mobilizers about our proposals and about the things we can all do to help them become reality.

And as always, you can reach out any time to us with questions, suggestions, and concerns.

Thanks, and in solidarity,

Your bargaining team:

Bargaining Team Chair: Colleen Macleod, Local 5107

Bargaining Team Vice-Chair: Craig Hadley, Local 5109

Logistics Position: – Jeremy Trainor, Local 378

Member at Large: Rachel Brunet, Local 4100

Member at Large: Adam Ly, Local 499

The employer’s proposal

During the last three bargaining rounds, we’ve made tremendous progress protecting casuals and increasing the chances they’ll become permanent. Since the last round alone, our collective agreement has forced the LCBO to promote nearly 250 casuals to permanent.

Now, the employer is trying to do an end-run around the language protecting casuals by vastly expanding its use of temp-agency workers and fixed-term workers. This will allow the employer to reduce hours and make it much more difficult for casuals and seasonals to become permanent.

Temp-agency workers are not OPSEU/SEFPO members and have few workplace rights. Fixed-term workers are OPSEU/SEFPO members but have very limited rights and benefits.

With your strong support, we as your bargaining team won’t be spending a lot of time or effort discussing the employer’s proposals. We don’t bargain concessions.

But we felt it important to walk through the proposals so you can understand exactly what they’d mean.

Displacing casuals with fixed-term and temp-agency workers

  • In a series of attacks on casuals and seasonals, the employer wants to vastly expand its use of fixed-term workers:
    • For up to 10 months of the year as Customer Service Representatives (Letter of Agreement – RE: Fixed Term Employment)
    • For all positions at head office at a proposed wage rate greater than current casuals by more than $10.00 an hour. (Letter of Agreement – RE: Fixed Term Employment)
    • For all retail and logistics openings for which there is not a “qualified” PFT, PPT, or seasonal on the geographical layoff list. The word “qualified” is new language, with no definition or accountability for how the employer determines if a member is qualified. (Letter of Agreement – RE: Fixed Term Employment)
  • Our collective agreement protects casual positions from temp agency workers in logistics, but the employer now wants to eliminate that protection and use of temp agency workers for more than half the year, and to confirm its ability to use temp agency workers at any time of the year in IT, Quality Assurance, and Security (Letter of Agreement – RE: Agency Workers)
  • The employer wants to block seasonals from becoming permanent by raising the hours-worked bar on seasonal status from 700 hours in any 26-month period over two years to 1,560 in any 52-week period. (Appendix 4 – Seasonal Employees, Sections 4-4.1 and 4-5.1)

Less work-life balance and stability in scheduling

The employer wants to wreak havoc on our schedules. It would be incredibly disruptive for us all, and virtually impossible for those of us caring for children or elderly adults, or working night shifts:

  • Eliminate all of the set start- and stop-times in retail and depot, replacing them with a 3+ hour start and stop window. In other words, you could be forced to work 7 am to 4 pm one day and 10:15 am to 7:15 pm the next day. How are members with children in day care supposed to live their lives like this? (Article 7.2 (a)(i))
  • For those working in single-shift stores, they want to eliminate the guaranteed 9:15 am to 6:15 pm shift we negotiated – back to demanding you work for free after the doors are locked. (Article 7.2 (a)(i))
  • For those working night shifts, they want to eliminate the guaranteed Saturday-Sunday weekend by baking into the agreement a simple clerical error from the last round. Our current agreement mistakenly identified Sunday as the start of the week – they want to entrench that mistake in this agreement (Article 7.2 (a)(i))
  • For logistics workers, they want to eliminate the guarantee you get your schedule three weeks in advance. They want to give you just one week’s notice for upcoming shifts (Article 7.4 (a) (i))

Fewer good weekends off for all

The employer wants to change the language so all Permanent Full-Timers (PFTs) – even those hired before 2001 — will have little chance of getting any summertime or long weekends off (Article 7.4 inclusive).

  • Eliminate the 17 Saturdays off and the 10 Sundays worked in a contract year and combine the two as 17 Weekends off. This means you’ll be scheduled to work more weekends.
  • For PFTs in double-shift stores, the Employer will choose the 17 weekends off with no guarantee of scheduling long weekends off.
  • There is no guarantee that the 17 weekends off will be in the summer period or rotational.
  • Employees in retail who work night shift to commence Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. This removes the stability of a one week of night shifts starting Sunday to Friday inclusive.
  • For PFTs in logistics, Saturday shifts will no longer be voluntary (Article 7.4 (a)(vi)) and could be a scheduled day of work.

Fewer summertime vacation days, and less seniority-based say over vacations

  • The employer wants to remove the guarantee that workers can take at least two consecutive weeks of vacation between May 1 and the first Saturday in October. (Article 9.12)
  • The employer would weaken senior PFTs flexibility over taking vacation days by prioritizing week-long vacation requests over vacation requests that are less than a week. In other words, senior PFTs can have their single-day vacation requests denied if a less-senior PFT has asked for the entire week off (Article 9.12)

Fewer opportunities for transfers

  • The employer wants to remove the lateral transfer guarantee for PFTs through Post and Fill.
  • The employer wants to remove the guarantee that job openings are posted prominently in each workplace through the Job Posting Circular, and wants to reduce the frequency of these job openings being posted from three times per year to two. (Article 22.4 (a)(i) and 22.6)
  • Remove the opportunity to remain in a job competition if you turn down your first offer.

Fewer opportunities for workers

  • The employer wants to completely eliminate protections for workers applying for bilingual positions, including its responsibility to pay for French language training (Letter of Agreement – RE: French Language Services)

Weaker overtime equalization

  • For logistics workers, the employer wants to gut the overtime equalization process. Meant to hold the employer accountable for violating logistics workers’ overtime rights, the employer wants to stop paying out for its overtime violations and schedule the next available shift.
  • The Employer’s proposal will force workers to wait months before they can grieve. (Memorandum of Agreement – RE: Overtime Equalization for Logistics Facilities)

Reduced collaboration and increased grievances

  • The employer wants to significantly reduce productive and cost-saving collaboration with OPSEU/SEFPO. In our last collective agreement, the two sides committed in a letter of agreement to taking dispute resolution training from the Ministry of Labour and establishing a process for open and transparent communication between elected OPSEU/SEFPO members and management. It helped keep our stores safe during the pandemic and prevented a large number of issues from going to grievance. The employer now wants to eliminate that letter altogether. (Letter of Agreement- RE: Grievance Process)

Reducing your right to participate in OPSEU/SEFPO

  • The employer wants to eliminate a long-standing provision – which costs them nothing – allowing for LBED members to take a leave to participate in OPSEU/SEFPO activities not directly related to the LCBO. This would prevent an LBED member from serving as OPSEU/SEFPO’s President, First Vice-President/Treasurer, an Executive Board Member, or on any other committees or campaigns. Removing this provision could also reduce the number of LBED members allowed to participate in LBED-related advocacy and bargaining campaigns. (Letter of Agreement – RE: Leave of Absence for Union Business on a Full-Time Basis)

Less transparency and input on head office relocation

  • The employer also wants to eliminate the letter of agreement that guarantees transparency and input about the head office move claiming it is no longer applicable. (Letter of Agreement – RE: Head Office Relocation) The Union has successfully negotiated protections and had fruitful discussions under this letter of agreement, including representation from local presidents in the discussion.

Your bargaining team

Your bargaining team for 2021 was elected by LBED divisional and local leaders during a virtual meeting on Oct. 24, 2020. The team is:

  • Bargaining Team Chair: Colleen Macleod, Local 5107
  • Bargaining Team Vice-Chair: Craig Hadley, Local 5109
  • Logistics Position: – Jeremy Trainor, Local 378
  • Member at Large: Rachel Brunet, Local 4100
  • Member at Large: Adam Ly, Local 499

Please feel free to contact your bargaining team with any questions, concerns, or insights. They can be reached at lbedbargaining@opseu.org

Your regional mobilizers

Your regional mobilizers for 2021 were elected by LBED divisional and local leaders during a virtual meeting on Oct. 24, 2020. The mobilizers are:

Region 1 Mobilizer: Shelly Robitaille, Local 162

Region 1 Alternates:

  • Greg Wilson, Local 164
  • Billie Bridgewater, Local 162
  • Robin Reath, Local 163

Region 2 Mobilizer: Shawn Swayze, Local 287

Region 2 Alternates:

  • Greg Scott, Local 287
  • Judy Irving, Local 288
  • Mike Hamilton, Local 286

Region 3 Mobilizer: Tammy Rogers, Local 377

Region 3 Alternates:

  • Damian Campbell, Local 378
  • Brenda Collins, Local 377

Region 4 Mobilizer: Diane Clarabut, Local 497

Region 4 Alternates:

  • Sean Spencer, Local 499
  • Teresa Graham, Local 497

Region 5 Mobilizer: Kim Nasello, Local 5111

Region 5 Alternates:

  • Janice Ariza, Local 5111
  • Taidgh McGuinness, Local 5110
  • Tanya Faseruk, Local 5107

Region 6 Mobilizer: Leslie Gagnon, Local 683

Region 6 Alternates:

  • Judy Jones, Local 682
  • Jamie Kensley, Local 681

Region 7 Mobilizer: Rob Mithrush, Local 741

Region 7 Alternate:

  • Ann Makela, Local 741

Stay up-to-date!

The solidarity and support of all LBED members are critical to strong bargaining, and it’s crucial that we can keep you all up-to-date on bargaining and mobilizing activities.

Please ask all of your co-workers if they received this bulletin. Forward it to any who didn’t, and encourage them to make sure the bargaining team has their personal email address and personal phone number.

It’s easy to make sure the union has your most up-to-date contact info. Just call 1-800-268-7376 or 416-443-8888, or email it to lbedbargaining@opseu.org.

You can also check and change your personal email address and personal phone number through the OPSEU/SEFPO Member Portal. Just click on the “Make Changes” tab at the top of the portal’s main page, and then click “Update email” to update your personal email, and “Update address” to update your personal phone number.

You can also stay up-to-date on the latest by frequently checking our website – http://www.opseu.org/lbed — and by following our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OpseuLiquorBoardEmployees

Your 2021 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:

Colleen Macleod, Chair, Liquor Board Employees Division
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU/SEFPO