OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division

Collective Bargaining Bulletin Issue #8 – May 15, 2009


Support your bargaining team: VOTE YES

The bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division is calling on all OPSEU members at the LCBO to get out and vote YES in the May 20-22 strike vote.

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“We need everyone to get out and vote, and vote YES,” says Vanda Klumper, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team. “The LCBO needs to know that OPSEU members are committed to making gains in this round of negotiations, and the best way to show that is with a big turnout and a high strike vote.”

After some 24 days at the bargaining table, the union team reports no major progress in persuading the LCBO to adopt the proposals supported by union members. Instead, the LCBO has tabled several takeaways. Among them, the LCBO is demanding the right to lay off permanent full-time and permanent part-time employees for periods of up to 90 days. 

 The LCBO has not accepted any of the union’s key proposals for contract improvements for full-timers, part-timers, seasonals, or casuals.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas stressed that a YES vote does not mean union members will automatically go on strike.

 “Getting ahead in negotiations is all about bargaining power,” Thomas said. “With a strong strike vote, we can bring home a strong collective agreement.

 “A high vote with a high turnout can dramatically reduce the need for strike action, simply because the employer will know without a doubt that we have the power to take action if necessary.”

Details on the issues at stake in bargaining are available in the May 8 Bargaining Bulletin, available online at http://opseu.org/lbed/2009bargaining/bar
gainingbulletin/2009-bargaining-bulletin-may-8.htm  . Until May 19, the union is also holding information meetings around the province. The schedule for these meetings, which will be attended by bargaining team members, is also available on the OPSEU web site.

Decide when and where you will vote – visit the OPSEU web site

 All OPSEU members at the LCBO should decide when and where they will vote well before voting begins.

“Many vote locations are open for only one day out of the three, so it is very important that members have a plan before voting begins,” said Vanda Klumper.

Exact times and locations for the strike vote are available online at http://opseu.org/lbed/2009bargaining/votelocations/vote-location.htm.

The ballot question

The ballot question for the May 20-22 strike vote has been finalized. Voters will be asked to check YES or NO, as follows:

YES: I authorize the Bargaining Team to call a strike if necessary in order to achieve an acceptable collective agreement.

NO: I do not authorize the Bargaining Team to call a strike.

What is the LCBO hiding?

OPSEU files Labour Board charge over missing financial data

It’s a mystery, all right.

For years, the LCBO has provided Ontario taxpayers with a full annual report on its operations. Usually, the report comes out in August.

The report that was due in 2008 has never been released..

We know some highlights of the 2007-08 fiscal year because the LCBO issued a news release on May 21, 2008. In that release, the LCBO said its dividend to Queen’s Park was $1.345 billion, not counting an extra $382 million the province earned in sales tax on LCBO sales.

But the full 2007-08 annual report has never appeared.

May 21, 2008 was the last news release from the LCBO that mentioned the dividend to the province. Before that date, the LCBO had been issuing a news release every month or two, bragging about how much money it was sending to the province.

Then the news releases stopped.

 “The LCBO stopped boasting about its dividends to the province at the same time as last year’s pre-bargaining conference of the Liquor Board Employees Division,” notes OPSEU Senior Researcher Joyce Hansen. “I think the LCBO is concealing financial data because it doesn’t want the union to know just how strong its profits are.”

 In 2009, the LCBO told the Minister of Finance that its profits would be up 2.6 per cent for 2008-09 but down 6.0 per cent for 2009-10. Both figures are unbelievable, Hansen says.

 “Despite the recession, we know from LCBO internal publications that sales are up from a year ago,” she said. “They’re hiding something.

 “We want to see their current numbers as well as their real projections for future income.”

 Last Friday, OPSEU filed an unfair labour practice charge against the LCBO at the Ontario Labour Relations Board. (Under Ontario law, employers are supposed to disclose financial data to unions in bargaining.)

“The LCBO is actually withholding information not only from the union but from the people of Ontario as well,” said Hansen. “We want audited financial statements and the full annual report, not vague statements about the overall state of the Ontario economy.”

OPSEU’s Labour Board charge also calls on the LCBO to give the union key information about health benefit premiums. So far, the employer has refused.

For more information about this round of bargaining between the LCBO and OPSEU, visit www.opseu.org/lbed.

Manager salaries jump

Data published under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act – the “Sunshine List” – show that LCBO managers are doing very well, indeed.

CEO Bob Peter has really come up in the world. Seven years ago, Peter earned just over $211,000. By 2008, his salary had more than doubled, hitting $431,603 (not counting taxable benefits). The biggest part of the jump came in the last two years. From 2006 to 2008, Peter’s salary increased by 45 per cent..

Not counting Bob Peter, the nine other LCBO managers making more than $200,000 in 2008 received wage increases ranging from 33 to 80 per cent between 2002 and 2008. The average increase was 49 per cent.

Wage increases for full-time union members at the LCBO averaged 20 per cent from 2002 to 2008. The Consumer Price Index (inflation) was up 13.3 per cent over that period.

Managers work full time, all year round. In contrast, 60 per cent of unionized LCBO staff are casuals with no guarantee of hours. And if the LCBO has its way at the bargaining table, permanent full-time and part-time workers will also be at risk of reduced income during short-term layoffs.

In the LCBO’s vision, not one bargaining unit worker will have a guaranteed, year-round, full-time job. But managers will be doing just fine.

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 1633

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.

Stay informed

As negotiations pick up speed, make it your priority to stay on top of bargaining news.

1. Attend upcoming bargaining information meetings (see listing on the OPSEU web site at www.opseu.org/lbed/collective.htm ).

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.

3. Bookmark the address at www.opseu.org/lbed/collective.htm  on the OPSEU website to learn more about what’s happening inside the Liquor Board Employees Division.

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. To find out more about the program, visit: http://opseu.org/lbed/eap  .

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