Newsletter

Collective Bargaining Bulletin Issue #12, June 12, 2009

Publication Date

Friday, June 12, 2009 (All day)

Bargaining continues: Be ready to strike if need be, team says

Bargaining between the LCBO and OPSEU continued this week from June 8-10. Talks resume Monday, June 15 and if necessary will continue right up to the strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24.

Under the terms of the news blackout agreed to by both sides, the union will not be commenting on the negotiations until either a new contract or an impasse is reached.

“We appreciate that there is a lot at stake in these negotiations and we know that members are keen to know what is going on,” says OPSEU bargaining team chair Vanda Klumper. “For now, the team is asking all members and all OPSEU locals to make sure they are fully prepared to strike if need be. Make sure you have registered for strike pay, wear your “Good Jobs” button, volunteer to help out on your Local Strike Committee, and be ready to take part in upcoming events in your area.

“We have come a long, long way since our pre-bargaining conference in May 2008,” she said. “If all goes well we will be voting on a new collective agreement soon.”

The two sides are being assisted in negotiations by Jackie McVeigh, a Senior Mediator appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

LBED radio ads hit the airwaves this Sunday

New OPSEU radio ads in support of good jobs in our communities will make their début on stations across Ontario this weekend. One of the two ads features the voices of OPSEU members from the Liquor Board Employees Division; the other features Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. Broadcasting begins Sunday, June 14.

To hear the ads right now, click here.

Telling our stories

Write letters, hold politicians accountable, and tell the public what these talks are about!

As bargaining approaches the strike deadline, a lot of people are going to have opinions about the LCBO.

While many will realize that the union’s “good jobs” plan is good for everyone, some will not. Right-wing columnists, MPPs, business people, and citizens will write letters to the editor and get on radio talk shows to tell you that a) you should feel lucky to have a job, b) the LCBO should be privatized, or c) whatever else they happen to be thinking about LCBO employees at the moment.

If you see or hear something that makes you think, “Someone should respond to that,” why not try it yourself?

That’s what OPSEU Local 284 member Barry Ince did. Part of Barry’s letter to Tory MPP Frank Klees is below.

Dear Mr. Klees,

I was watching Global TV News this evening and they had an article on about LCBO employees giving their negotiating committee a large strike mandate. Immediately following this item you appeared with the pronouncement, “My advice to them is they should be glad they have a job.” Really? As an LCBO employee classified as “casual” I feel compelled to ask you if you are aware of the issues involved.

Are you aware that fully 60 per cent of LCBO employees are casual and make less than $20,800 a year on average?

They can’t get regular hours of work. They have no benefits and no control over their work hours. They can’t bring kids up properly or build a decent life on half a job.

Yes, out of a work force of 6,000 there are 2,400 good permanent full-time jobs, but the LCBO is on a mission to replace them with more casuals and $10.00 per hour “term” employees....

What kind of Ontario are you endorsing? An Ontario with good permanent jobs with decent pay and benefits, or one where temporary, part-time, insecure, disposable jobs are the norm?

When you make comments like that, they carry a lot of weight and influence, and generate ill will towards a group of employees who are in hard fought negotiations. It is not the type of comment that I would expect from an elected member of parliament who represents the people, of which I am sure there are many LCBO employees in your riding.

Sincerely yours,

Barry Ince

In Guelph, union members John Dickson, vice-president of OPSEU Local 248 and Paula Sossi of Local 285 wrote to the Mercury after one reader suggested the LCBO didn’t need retail staff at all and could move to self-serve checkouts.  Read the whole exchange .

DOs and DON’Ts for writing letters

1.         DO tell the truth.

2.         DO hold others accountable for what they say; DON’T attack them personally.

3.         DON’T think you have to create everything from scratch

4.         DO talk about what this round of bargaining means to you personally.

5.         DO read Telling Our Stories, the OPSEU guide to media relations.

7.         DO volunteer to serve on your local’s Strike Communications committee. Contact your local president for more information.

If you are concerned about possible problems at work because of a letter you want to write, ask your OPSEU steward or local president for advice.

LBED member featured in upcoming film with Mary Walsh

When Vicki Baier woke up on New Year’s Day she had no idea how 2009 was going to turn out.

Baier, a casual at the LCBO store in Stratford, didn’t know that she would travel to Europe. She didn’t know she’d be discussing sick time with a liquor store worker in Stockholm, Sweden. And she certainly didn’t know she would co-star with CBC celebrity Mary Walsh in a documentary film.

The film, Poor No More, looks at unemployment, underemployment, and poverty in Canada and compares the situation here with that in other countries.

In late March, Vicki and Mississauga construction worker Durval Terciera flew to Ireland and Sweden with Walsh and a film crew. A conversation between Vicki, a breast cancer survivor, and Swedish casual liquor store worker Marin Gosta went like this:

Vicki: [At the LCBO] casuals have no benefits, no sick days, no vacation days. If I were to go home sick today and not be back for two weeks, I would have no income….

Marin: That would never be accepted here…. If you look at the company, the company would probably thrive, it would be a better employer, if you actually had some kind of security among the personnel working there.

OPSEU members at the June 1-2 LBED strike training got a chance to see a 45-minute preview version of Poor No More and went home with DVD copies for local viewing. Talk to your steward or local president about seeing it yourself.

A feature-length version of the film is slated for release later this year after shooting concludes.

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 vklumper@rogers.com

Denise Davis, Vice-Chair, Local 378 djdcones@yahoo.ca

Dora Robinson, Local 376 dora.robinson@gmail.com

Tracy Vyfschaft, Local 377 tcshaft@xplornet.com

Lori Davis, Local 499 loridavis@xplornet.com

Colleen MacLeod, Local 5107 colleenmacleod@opseu5107.org

Laurie Miller, Local 682 lauriem3@sympatico.ca

The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Senior Negotiator Rob Field, Senior Researcher Joyce Hansen, and other assigned staff.

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

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