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LBED members nail down demands for 2017 bargaining

We the North
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OPSEU members from across the province in the Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) met November 5 to set their final contract demands for the 2017 round of contract bargaining with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

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LBED Bargaining Chair Denise Davis gives the Chair's report.

Members heard recommendations from their elected bargaining team, as well as from the various LBED committees. Leading up to the meeting, the bargaining team surveyed locals on what they hoped to see in their next collective agreement. From those responses, the team compiled a “top ten” list to be voted on. Delegates voted unanimously to accept the list – a sure sign that members stand united behind their bargaining team and are determined to make headway when contract talks begin in February.

OPSEU’s collective agreement with the LCBO expires March 31, 2017.

In his opening remarks, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas described a tough bargaining environment. While Premier Kathleen Wynne fancies herself as fighting for precarious workers, he said, her push to let grocery stores sell beer and wine is actually making every job at the LCBO more precarious. He told LBED members that all 130,000 OPSEU members stand behind them, and will be with them 100 per cent of the way as bargaining moves ahead.

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President Thomas speaks to LBED mnembers.

Bargaining team Chair Denise Davis outlined the work the union has already done in the lead-up to bargaining, including organizing (under the leadership of the Anti-Privatization Committee) several successful information pickets across the province. Davis discussed the various challenges facing the division right now, but also said that together, OPSEU members at the LCBO can stand up to the employer.

On the issue of precarious work, the high point of the day was the news delivered by OPSEU supervisor Steve Nield. Nield reported that the complaint OPSEU had filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in 2013 had finally been settled. As a result of the settlement, the LCBO has agreed that all casual Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) in stores and depots will be placed on a single wage grid that leads to the top rate earned by permanent CSRs. The room erupted in cheers.

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Local 377 president Tracy Vyfschaft speaks to LBED members about OPSEU's We Own It! campaign.

Tracy Vyfschaft of Local 377 provided details of “We own it!”, OPSEU’s union-wide anti-privatization campaign. Vyfschaft encouraged all members to join the campaign and link their issues at the LCBO to the broader fight.