Strike prep in full swing as bargaining resumes June 8
The Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) of OPSEU is gearing up for action as the union heads back to the bargaining table Monday.
Strike preparation kicked off June 1-2 when over 150 activists from across the province came to Toronto for two days of training. Members learned about the OPSEU strike policy, took part in picket drills, and picked up pointers on talking to reporters. One group of members focused on strike finances, including strike pay and benefits.
“We are not bargaining to get a strike, we are bargaining to get a collective agreement,” LBED bargaining team chair Vanda Klumper said afterward. “But from what I saw at the training, our members are ready for action.
“If the LCBO insists on destroying good permanent jobs, if it insists on crushing the hopes and dreams of our casual members, then we will not hesitate to take this battle to the streets.”
Bargaining under a news blackout
OPSEU and the LCBO have agreed to bargain June 8-10 and from June 15 up to the strike deadline. The two sides have also agreed to bargain under a news blackout.
A blackout means neither side will be communicating about what is happening at the table until a) there is a new collective agreement, or b) talks reach an impasse.
“We agree with the employer that it’s not useful to bargain in public,” says union team chair Vanda Klumper. “We will not be saying anything specific about what is happening at the table.
“This does not mean the union cannot communicate about bargaining in general,” she said. “Our bargaining goals are already public information. We are fighting for good jobs, and members should feel free to keep on saying so.
“Just bear in mind that specific details are subject to change as bargaining moves along. We won’t be commenting on any of those changes.”
Good Jobs for All rally set for June 13, Toronto
Members in the Toronto area should plan to attend the Good Jobs for All rally and march set for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at Metro Hall (at 55 John Street, at King). The Good Jobs for All coalition – OPSEU is a member – is based out of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.
“I talked with the Labour Council at our meeting [June 4] and I had huge cheers and support from them for our campaign on the fight for good jobs at the LCBO,” said OPSEU Liquor Board mobilizer Maria Bauer. “We should get a huge group of us with our flags and signs and join in!”
Find out more at www.goodjobsforall.ca .
Register for strike pay and benefits
Hundreds of LBED members have already registered with their locals to receive strike pay and benefits if a strike occurs. If you have not already registered, please contact your local and fill out the Member’s Personal Information Form.
For the first three weeks of a work stoppage, members who perform strike duties receive strike pay of $125 per week plus $20 per week for each dependent. If the work stoppage continues beyond three weeks, strike pay goes up to $200 per week plus $20 for each dependent. During a strike the union also pays for basic benefits such as life insurance, Long Term Disability protection, and drug coverage as per the collective agreement. PFTs, PPTs, and casuals who normally receive a percentage of pay in lieu of benefits while at work are entitled to these benefits.
When you register for strike pay you may also request to do your strike duties at another OPSEU local that is closer to where you live.
If you do not know who your local president is, call OPSEUdirect at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888.
LBED makes the scene at Queen’s Park
A few LBED members took a break from strike training June 2 to watch LCBO bargaining discussed on the floor of the Ontario Legislature. NDP MPP Peter Kormos had this exchange with Finance Minister Dwight Duncan:
Kormos: The LCBO is owned by the people of Ontario and directly accountable to the government, yet it wants to turn 2,400 permanent, full-time jobs into part-time, part-year jobs. Already, more than 60% of the LCBO’s workers are casual employees, with no job security, no benefits, no hope of retiring and an average income of less than $20,800 a year. Yet each of those workers is responsible for $200,000 a year in LCBO profits. Why is this Premier allowing the LCBO to attack the livelihood of its own workers?
Duncan: I first want to acknowledge the outstanding people at the LCBO and the good work they do on behalf of all Ontarians. The member opposite is aware that collective bargaining is going on between the LCBO and the employees of the LCBO. I would reiterate my very strong and firm belief in free collective bargaining, which is what is going on now. I hope that the two parties can continue to work together and resolve the disputes and issues that exist between them. It’s an important part of our government, and again, I look forward to a successful resolution of the issues that are before the union and management today at the LCBO.
The full text of the exchange is available at www.ontla.on.ca . Click on “Debates and Proceedings” and then “Tuesday, June 2.”
LBED bargaining team members also had a visit Tuesday afternoon with members of the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park. The caucus supports the union’s bargaining goals at the LCBO.
Last week, New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced a private member’s bill in the Legislature to make several changes to the Employment Standards Act. One key element: DiNovo’s bill would enshrine “equal pay for equal work” in law – pretty interesting for workers stuck on the bottom rungs of the LCBO’s multi-tier wage system.
Private member’s bills aim to create debate. They seldom become law.
Meet your mobilizers!
OPSEU mobilizers are your co-workers at the LCBO. They’re the direct link between you and your bargaining team. The following people are assigned as mobilizers in the OPSEU locals indicated.
Guy Jeremschuck: Local 162
Dave Holmes: Local 163
Mike Robertson: Local 164
Mike Sullivan: Local 165
Bonnie Jolley: Local 284
Paula Sossi: Local 285
Deb Altoft: Local 286
Shawn Swayze: Local 287
Matt Savelli: Local 287
Frank Gullace: Local 288
Maria Bauer: Locals 375, 3766
Doug Parks: Locals 377, 378
Eileen Allen: Local 379
Terri Taylor: Locals 497, 498
Devon Ford: Locals 499, 4100
Kevin Ramsay: Locals 5107, 5110
Roberto Ianni: Locals 5108, 5111
Craig Hadley: Locals 5109, 5110, 5111
Mellisa Jackson: All Locals in OPSEU Region 6
Anne Makela: All Locals in Region 7
Your bargaining team
The OPSEU bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division consists of seven members:
Vanda Klumper, Chair, OPSEU Local 165 firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Davis, Vice-Chair, Local 378 email@example.com
Dora Robinson, Local 376 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Vyfschaft, Local 377 email@example.com
Lori Davis, Local 499 firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleen MacLeod, Local 5107 email@example.com
Laurie Miller, Local 682 firstname.lastname@example.org
The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Senior Negotiator Rob Field, Senior Researcher Joyce Hansen, and other assigned staff.
As negotiations pick up speed, make it your priority to stay on top of bargaining news.
1. Attend upcoming bargaining information meetings.
2. Receive this bargaining bulletin (and our regular newsletter, the Echo) directly by e-mail. Just call OPSEUdirect at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888 and give the operator your name and e-mail address.
EAP Hotline: 1-800-263-1401
The LCBO Employee Assistance Program is a confidential, hassle-free counseling service for eligible LCBO employees and their immediate families. For assistance, call 1-800-263-1401.
Your 2009 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:
Vanda Klumper, Chair,
Liquor Board Employees Division
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU
Ontario Public Service Employees Union