OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division

‘Don’t buy into privatization,’ LCBO union says

Toronto – As liquor shoppers ramp up their holiday spending, the union representing workers at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has a simple message: Don’t buy into privatization.

“The large majority of Ontarians oppose privatization of the LCBO, but I don’t think everyone realizes that when you start selling wine and six-packs of beer in grocery stores, that is privatization,” said Denise Davis, Chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Liquor Board Employees Division. “It’s a sneaky, back-door privatization, but it’s privatization all the same.

“In December, when Ontario alcohol sales are close to triple what they are in an average month, it’s good to remember all the benefits of shopping in stores that all of us own.”

The Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne has expanded beer, cider, and wine sales to nearly 130 grocery stores across the province. That number that could reach 450 by 2020, the government says.

“The LCBO provides the province with $2 billion a year in pure profit,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “That money pays for roads, for schools, for health care. It goes toward paying for the damage that alcohol does in the form of health and social costs. When we start chipping away at the LCBO, we are chipping away at public services we all rely on.”

Thomas pointed out that, for Ontarians, there are no benefits to privatizing the LCBO. “But you know who does benefit?” he asked. “Two groups: first, the big grocery chains, and second, the politicians at Queen’s Park who work for them.

“It’s time this government put Ontarians first.”

Union members will rally in support of the public liquor retailer this afternoon in Toronto.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931

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