Toronto – With conditions deteriorating in workplaces across the province, the bargaining team for LCBO workers has asked the Ontario Ministry of Labour for a “no board” report, with a strike deadline anticipated before the end of the month in contract negotiations with LCBO management.
The chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) bargaining team, Denise Davis, said the LCBO’s actions away from the table, as well as its refusal to move on the key concerns of workers have “left us no choice but to draw a line in the sand.”
“We have workers trapped in so-called casual positions for decades, working seven days a week, and bringing home an average of less than $30,000 a year,” said Davis. “And we have seasonal workers sitting at home while underpaid temp agency workers do their jobs. The status quo isn’t sustainable – and management’s proposals would make an already difficult situation worse.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas pointed out that the LCBO’s actions are particularly outrageous given the Premier’s recent comments about improving the lives of vulnerable workers.
“Our members see their Premier on the evening news promising improvements for workers,” said Thomas. “But when they show up for work in the morning, they find their government-owned employer continuing to exploit them.
“Just look at the LCBO’s retail workers. It took a human rights complaint, more than three years of litigation, and an arbitrator’s award to force management to provide equal pay for equal work for part-time workers. Even after the LCBO finally agreed to settle, it took advantage of that moment to have the arbitrator force full-time workers to take cuts to offset the cost.
“And then just this past week, the Premier held a press conference and told the media her government believes part-time workers are entitled to equal pay.”
Thomas noted that what happens with LCBO negotiations will show where the Liberals truly stand.
“Will they take this chance to set an example in places, like the LCBO, where they’re the boss?” he asked. “Or are their critics right, and are all their promises about improving the lives of workers just smoke and mirrors that will disappear as soon as the election is past?
“These workers will soon know just how much the Premier’s words are worth.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Denise Davis, 905-767-6867