OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division

Anti-Privatization Committee building solidarity to combat Hudak

Liquor Board workers are not alone in their opposition to the Hudak Conservatives’ plan to privatize public services in Ontario. Other groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have demonstrated their support for the current liquor control system in Ontario.

The LBED Anti-Privatization Committee has been reaching out to other unions and groups who share our opposition to opening up beer and wine sales in convenience stores. The committee’s goal is to build a loose coalition to challenge Hudak’s plan to bring corner store wine and liquor to Ontario if elected as Premier next Spring. In a very positive meeting with MADD recently, Executive Director, Andrew Murie shared the extensive research MADD has conducted on the negative impacts of expanding beer and wine to private retailers. Similarly, in a meeting with key officials at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) OPSEU LBED members were well received and CAMH shared research papers and bulletins on the health and social impacts of privatizing alcohol sales in other jurisdictions. We plan to meet with Local 500 members shortly to get their valuable input on this important issue.

In reaching out to other unions, the committee recently met with representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 12R24 which represents more than 6,500 employees of The Beer Store. UFCW leaders are eager to work with OPESU on a fight back campaign against corner store sales which they told the meeting would “devastate” their membership if Tim Hudak ever became premier and followed through with his promise on the issue The anti-privatization committee is now exploring partnerships with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation and regional public health officers.

Recently one of Hudak’s main supporters, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) held a press conference announcing their plan to bring Ontario craft beer and wine into convenience stores. OCSA was thoroughly embarrassed by the fact that when pressed by the media, they could not explain why representatives from the Craft Brewers of Ontario and the Ontario Wine Council had not even been consulted about their plan! The struggle continues…