2021 LBED Bargaining Bulletin, Issue 2
2021 bargaining starts this week, but your bargaining committee has been hard at work for weeks.
In preparation for this round, they’ve chosen an excellent slogan – LCBO: Essentially Yours.
If that rings a bell, it should. It’s the slogan on the thousands of masks that OPSEU/SEFPO’s Executive Board distributed to you and your co-workers last summer.
In two short words, the slogan grabs the public’s attention and will help keep them onside as bargaining heats up by summing up the vital importance of the work you do every day.
It reminds Ontarians that you’re essential in many ways.
Your work was declared essential as the pandemic took hold, and you deserve a hero’s cheer for rising to the occasion. Day in and day out, you risked your own health and safety to keep families and communities safe while protecting the economy from the runaway health, productivity, and criminal justice costs that always follow alcohol privatization.
Your work and your jobs are essential to your local economies, especially in rural and Northern communities. Because you bargain together as members of a strong union like OPSEU/SEFPO, you’ve got a better chance at decent wages and benefits, a good pension, and job security.
That’s good for you and for your families. But it’s also essential to your neighbours and friends. The money you make stays in your community and helps everybody in it.
The slogan also reminds Ontarians that they are the owners of the LCBO. We can look them in the eye and say: “The LCBO is yours – you own it!”
And that ownership pays big dividends – more than $2 billion a year. Because every dollar that comes into the LCBO flows back into Ontario’s vital public services. An investment in quality health care, good education, and safe roads is an investment that provides safety and prosperity for all.
As we emerge from this pandemic year, people are seeing the value of strong public services in a fresh light. They know how important our hospitals and long-term care homes are. And they recognize the value of having committed and responsible workers like you out there on the front lines.
That’s why we’re confident they’ll respond positively to your new bargaining slogan. That’s why we hope you’ll repeat it often – and with well-earned pride – when you’re talking to your friends and neighbours about bargaining.
LCBO: Essentially Yours.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO
Bargaining starts this week
Your bargaining team has been hard at work preparing for what will be a uniquely challenging round. Not only will they be bargaining virtually – at least at the start – but they will also be bargaining in the shadow of the one-per-cent per year wage caps imposed by the blatantly unconstitutional Bill 124.
Officially called, the “Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act”, Bill 124 imposes three years of maximum annual wage increases of one per cent on almost all provincial government workers, including LCBO workers. OPSEU/SEFPO has launched a Charter challenge against Bill 124, but a ruling is likely months away.
In the meantime, your bargaining team needs your support and solidarity as they find creative ways to improve your terms and conditions.
It all starts on Monday, March 29, and Tuesday, March 30, when the team sits down virtually with the employer to exchange proposals and start negotiating.
Ordinarily, the employer commits to setting aside full weeks of time to meet with your bargaining team to work through all of the proposals and counterproposals.
“I know from experience that these negotiations take a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of attention,” said LBED and Bargaining Team Chair Colleen MacLeod. “These deals aren’t done in a day or two. We’re here and we’re committed to bargaining steadily for as long as it takes. We expect the employer to show the same kind of commitment.”
Watch out for the regular Bargaining Bulletins your bargaining team will be putting out through the coming months to keep you posted on how bargaining is progressing.
The bargaining roadmap
No two rounds of bargaining are ever alike, but the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act lays out a basic roadmap that guides bargaining teams and the employers through the process.
Throughout this entire process, good communication between members like you and your bargaining team are crucial. The bargaining team is committed to creating and circulating regular Bargaining Bulletins like this one. Please share them with any of your co-workers who might not be receiving them. And if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of your regional mobilizers (listed below), or by emailing email@example.com.
Notice to bargain
Your team served notice to bargain on Jan. 8, 2021. This officially started the bargaining process. The notice to bargain marked the point that a statutory freeze period was imposed on your terms and conditions of work.
What does that mean? It means that the employer cannot unilaterally take away or change any of the terms and working conditions guaranteed under your current collective agreement. Please contact your steward immediately if you feel this is happening to you.
This freeze period will remain until the point of a strike or lockout, or a settlement is achieved.
We are here in the process
After the notice to bargain was issued, your bargaining team got straight to work. It took your local demands passed at the final demand set meeting on Jan. 23, 2021, and has been crafting them into formal proposals and rationales that will be presented to the employer when bargaining begins on March 29.
Next step in the process
Your bargaining team and the employer’s team will first exchange non-monetary proposals. Your bargaining priorities outline the mandate for your team’s bargaining proposals.
Once your bargaining team and the employer have reached a tentative agreement, you and the other OPSEU/SEFPO members working at LCBO have the chance to say yes or no. You get a copy of the tentative agreement, along with analysis of it from the bargaining team, and you vote on whether to accept it. If more than 50 per cent vote yes, the tentative agreement becomes your new collective agreement. If not, your bargaining team and the employer return to the table and keep bargaining.
If your bargaining team doesn’t feel it’s getting the respect it deserves from the employer, it can decide to call a strike vote. Calling a strike vote doesn’t mean a strike is inevitable – far from it. It shows the employer that the bargaining team’s demands have the support of the membership.
If your bargaining team and the employer can’t come to a tentative agreement, on their own, either side can request the help of a conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour. The conciliator works with the two sides – sometimes together and sometimes separately – to try to find ways past fundamental disagreements.
If the conciliator isn’t able to help your bargaining team and the employer arrive at a tentative agreement, they file what’s called a “no board” report. This is often referred to as an impasse. Once a No Board report is issued, this starts a 17-day countdown towards a strike or lockout.
Conciliation and/or mediation continues
During the 17-day countdown, mediation continues at a more urgent pace. During this countdown, mobilizing and the support of members like you are very important for your bargaining team as they continue to work hard to achieve a settlement.
Strike or lockout
If your bargaining team and the employer still haven’t been able to reach a tentative agreement 17 days after the “no board” was declared, your bargaining team can call a strike, or the employer can declare a lockout. Bargaining and conciliation may continue until a tentative agreement is reached.
OPSEU/SEFPO members object en masse to 7-Elevens selling alcohol
Thank you all of the OPSEU/SEFPO members – including President Warren (Smokey) Thomas – who filed formal objections to the 61 7-Eleven liquor licence applications in 31 communities across the province.
“7-Eleven says it’s trying to make its stores into restaurants where alcohol can be served, but we all know the truth: kids and teens will find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with intoxicated people washing down a Twinkie with a six-pack,” said Thomas in a widely published news report that appeared in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, CP24, The Toronto Sun, and Global News.
“If 7-Elevens are allowed to sell alcohol for consumption in its stores, it won’t be long before all of the convenience stores in the province are allowed to sell bottles of wine and six-packs – and that would be a disaster,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “I know people like the idea of convenience, but when alcohol is too convenient, it ends up hurting families and costing the province millions and millions of dollars in lost productivity and added costs in health and criminal justice.”
The hundreds of OPSEU/SEFPO members who objected to the licence applications were hardly alone. A variety of other groups also filed objections, including Toronto and Oshawa city councils, and Ontario Big City Mayors, a group of mayors from the province’s largest municipalities.
The deadline for filing an objection is now closed, but you can read the OPSEU/SEFPO objection here.
Your bargaining team
Your bargaining team for 2021 was elected by LBED divisional and local leaders during a virtual meeting on Oct. 24, 2020. The team is:
- Bargaining Team Chair: Colleen Macleod, Local 5107
- Bargaining Team Vice-Chair: Craig Hadley, Local 5109
- Logistics Position: – Jeremy Trainor, Local 378
- Member at Large: Rachel Brunet, Local 4100
- Member at Large: Adam Ly, Local 499
Please feel free to contact your bargaining team with any questions, concerns, or insights. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your regional mobilizers
Your regional mobilizers for 2021 were elected by LBED divisional and local leaders during a virtual meeting on Oct. 24, 2020. The mobilizers are:
Region 1 Mobilizer: Shelly Robitaille, Local 162
Region 1 Alternates:
- Greg Wilson, Local 164
- Billie Bridgewater, Local 162
- Robin Reath, Local 163
Region 2 Mobilizer: Shawn Swayze, Local 287
Region 2 Alternates:
- Greg Scott, Local 287
- Judy Irving, Local 288
- Mike Hamilton, Local 286
Region 3 Mobilizer: Tammy Rogers, Local 377
Region 3 Alternates:
- Damian Campbell, Local 378
- Brenda Collins, Local 377
Region 4 Mobilizer: Diane Clarabut, Local 497
Region 4 Alternates:
- Sean Spencer, Local 499
- Teresa Graham, Local 497
Region 5 Mobilizer: Kim Nasello, Local 5111
Region 5 Alternates:
- Janice Ariza, Local 5111
- Taidgh McGuinness, Local 5110
- Tanya Faseruk, Local 5107
Region 6 Mobilizer: Leslie Gagnon, Local 683
Region 6 Alternates:
- Judy Jones, Local 682
- Jamie Kensley, Local 681
Region 7 Mobilizer: Rob Mithrush, Local 741
Region 7 Alternate:
- Ann Makela, Local 741
The solidarity and support of all LBED members are critical to strong bargaining, and it’s crucial that we can keep you all up-to-date on bargaining and mobilizing activities.
Please ask all of your co-workers if they received this bulletin. Forward it to any who didn’t, and encourage them to make sure the bargaining team has their personal email address and personal phone number.
It’s easy to make sure the union has your most up-to-date contact info. Just call 1-800-268-7376 or 416-443-8888, or email it to email@example.com.
You can also check and change your personal email address and personal phone number through the OPSEU/SEFPO Member Portal. Just click on the “Make Changes” tab at the top of the portal’s main page, and then click “Update email” to update your personal email, and “Update address” to update your personal phone number.
Your 2021 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:
Colleen Macleod, Chair, Liquor Board Employees Division
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU/SEFPO