Toronto – Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members descended on LCBO head office today with a clear message for management: it’s time to respect the value of this public asset and those who work for it.
Discussing what had brought this round of collective agreement negotiations to the point where a strike vote is needed, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas pointed the finger squarely at management.
“Management’s actions have been shameful,” said Thomas. “Our members do important work each day. They ensure community safety, while providing steady revenue for public services. But rather than respecting the value these workers provide, the LCBO is taking a slash-and-burn approach to bargaining.
“Which way this goes from here is up to the LCBO. If management continues to push regressive proposals at the bargaining table, they’ll be the ones that have to explain to the Premier, and the people of Ontario, why there are picket lines instead of check-out lines at LCBO stores across the province.”
Highlighting the threat of privatization and the loss of revenue to fund public services as a key issue at the table, the OPSEU bargaining team’s chair, Denise Davis, said this round of bargaining “is about saving the LCBO.”
“Our proposals are about saving not just the LCBO we have, but the better LCBO we know it could be,” said Davis. “That means basic job security for workers who’ve given their loyalty to the LCBO for decades, and scheduling that ensures workers get time with their families.
“And in a job where workers have to deal with difficult situations with customers at times, a better LCBO also means no one working alone.”
The crowd roared their approval as OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida broke down what last year’s record $2.4 billion in public revenue from the LCBO meant for public services in Ontario.
“Last year, people who shopped at the LCBO provided enough money to the province for more than 13,300 kilometres of highway resurfacing,” said Almeida. “In two months alone, LCBO shoppers cover the cost of a year of home care for more than 113,000 seniors.
“When we talk about privatization transferring profits from public services to private pockets, we’re not just talking about dollars. We’re talking about highways that don’t get repaired, and seniors who don’t get the care they need.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Denise Davis, 905-767-6867