Newsletter

Collective Bargaining Bulletin Issue #9 - May 23, 2009

Publication Date

Saturday, May 23, 2009 (All day)

93 per cent said YES

High strike vote sends team back to the table with solid backing

OPSEU members at the LCBO are sending their bargaining team back to the table with a strong strike vote. 

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In voting May 20-22, members voted 93 per cent in favour of strike action if necessary. Voter turnout was 3,672 people, a record high for the 6,000-member bargaining unit.

“I just want to say a big thank you to all our members who voted to give their support to the bargaining team,” said team chair Vanda Klumper. “When we go back to bargaining on Tuesday, it won’t be just seven OPSEU members at the table, it will be thousands of us from every corner of this great province.

“This vote is a clear signal from our members that we will not accept the destruction of good full-time jobs at the LCBO and we will not let up in our drive for better lives for our casual members who are struggling to survive,” Klumper said. “We’ll be telling the LCBO it’s time to get serious.

“The members have spoken.”

The team returns to the bargaining table on Tuesday, May 26. Their goal is to get a collective agreement without a strike, Klumper said.

“We are not bargaining to get a strike. We are bargaining to get a collective agreement.”

LCBO finally coughs up annual report

The LCBO has finally delivered its 2007-08 Annual Report -- nine months past its due date.

The annual report, which provides details of LCBO sales, profits, and taxes collected, normally appears in August following the fiscal year just completed. But last year, the report never appeared.

At the bargaining table, OPSEU complained that the employer was holding back information that could have an impact on bargaining. On May 8, the union filed an unfair labour practice complaint and demanded that the LCBO hand over the report and other documents.

Then a few things happened. Certain MPPs were contacted. A certain reporter filed a Freedom of Information request. And on May 21, the report was tabled in the Ontario Legislature and appeared on the LCBO web site at PDF icon http://www.lcbo.com/aboutlcbo/annual/2007_2008.pdf.

Turns out the LCBO’s dividend to the province, which was $1.345 billion last year, will be $1.4 billion for 2008-09 – a $55 million increase.

“The appearance of this annual report shows that the LCBO will respond to pressure, properly applied,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “When the union, the media, and politicians are all on the same page, big things can happen.

“As our bargaining team heads back to the table, we need to increase the pressure on the employer to settle,” he said. “Now you’ve got a big strike mandate, and that means government has to start thinking about losing $5 million a day in profits and taxes if you go on strike.

“We’re putting plans together now to talk to every politician we can find and tell them to get on board with our good jobs agenda. It’s what our members need, it’s what our families need, it’s what our communities need, and it’s what this province needs.”

Smear campaign angers members

What an interesting chain of events.

On May 8, the OPSEU bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division announced that it would ask its members for a strike vote.

On May 11, news stories began to appear saying that LCBO employees were being ordered to stop accepting free gifts from suppliers.

On May 18 – just before the strike vote began – another story appeared saying that the LCBO had fired 10 people for swiping Air Miles that didn’t belong to them.

Is it just a coincidence that these stories appeared just as OPSEU was trying to draw attention to the plight of casuals and the employer’s attack on permanent jobs at the LCBO?

No.

“The members I’ve been talking to over the last two weeks are very angry that the LCBO chose to launch this kind of a smear campaign,” says OPSEU bargaining team chair Vanda Klumper. “The LCBO wants people to think that we spend our days going to free hockey games and drinking free liquor from suppliers. The LCBO wants people to think we’re defrauding the Air Miles program so we can buy new plasma-screen TVs.

“We all know none of that is true,” she said. “Any organization is going to have a few people who just aren’t with the program, but OPSEU members at the LCBO are honest, hardworking people who don’t deserve this kind of slander.

“The people in LCBO management who dreamed up this smear campaign should be ashamed of themselves,” Klumper said.

The two stories leaked by the LCBO were old news, Klumper noted. The report on the Air Miles firings was from October 2008 and the policy on free gifts had actually been announced almost a year ago.

CEO Bob Peter announced the policy on July 16, 2008. This was well after the Association of Canadian Distillers paid his daughter’s university tuition.

OPSEU members should not to be distracted by the LCBO’s bully tactics, Klumper said.

“The only reason the LCBO is doing all this is to try to stop us from exposing their real agenda, which is to destroy full-time jobs and run all their operations with a completely casual workforce,” she said. “We are not just fighting for good jobs for our members and our families, but for our communities and our province.

“Our cause is just. We will win.”

Send us your video clips!

Your union is looking for video clips of members of the Liquor Board Employees Division to use in a video for this round of bargaining. We are looking for:

  • people smiling (male and female);

  • people turning and looking at the camera;

  • people walking together towards the camera;

  • people walking together away from the camera;

  • people flashing a “V” for “Victory” sign;

  • people standing near LCBO signs;

  • people dancing and acting silly;

  • people looking serious;

  • people holding each other up; and

  • any other cool shots you come up with!

Please mail your footage on disk to OPSEU Communications, 100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, M3B 3P8. Be sure to include your name and OPSEU local – and be sure to tell the people you’re shooting that they’ll be in a music video!

Meet your mobilizers!

OPSEU mobilizers are your co-workers at the LCBO. They’re the direct link between you and your bargaining team. The following people are assigned as mobilizers in the OPSEU locals indicated.

Guy Jeremschuck: Local 162

Dave Holmes: Local 1633

Mike Robertson: Local 164

Mike Sullivan: Local 165

Bonnie Jolley: Local 284

Paula Sossi: Local 285

Deb Altoft: Local 286

Shawn Swayze: Local 287

Matt Savelli: Local 287

Frank Gullace: Local 288

Maria Bauer: Locals 375, 3766

Doug Parks: Locals 377, 378

Eileen Allen: Local 379

Terri Taylor: Locals 497, 498

Devon Ford: Locals 499, 4100

Kevin Ramsay: Locals 5107, 5110

Roberto Ianni: Locals 5108, 5111

Craig Hadley: Locals 5109, 5110, 5111

Mellisa Jackson: All Locals in OPSEU Region 6

Anne Makela: All Locals in Region 7 

Your bargaining team

The OPSEU bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division consists of seven members:

Vanda Klumper, Chair, OPSEU Local 165 vklumper@rogers.com

Denise Davis, Vice-Chair, Local 378 djdcones@yahoo.ca

Dora Robinson, Local 376 dora.robinson@gmail.com

Tracy Vyfschaft, Local 377 tcshaft@xplornet.com

Lori Davis, Local 499 loridavis@xplornet.com

Colleen MacLeod, Local 5107 colleenmacleod@opseu5107.org

Laurie Miller, Local 682 lauriem3@sympatico.ca

The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Senior Negotiator Rob Field, Senior Researcher Joyce Hansen, and other assigned staff.

Stay informed

As negotiations pick up speed, make it your priority to stay on top of bargaining news.

1. Attend upcoming bargaining information meetings (see listing on the OPSEU web site at www.opseu.org/lbed/collective.htm ).

2. Receive this bargaining bulletin (and our regular newsletter, the Echo) directly by e-mail. Just call OPSEUdirect at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888 and give the operator your name and e-mail address.

3. Bookmark the address at www.opseu.org/lbed/collective.htm  on the OPSEU website to learn more about what’s happening inside the Liquor Board Employees Division.

EAP Hotline: 1-800-263-1401

The LCBO Employee Assistance Program is a confidential, hassle-free counseling service for eligible LCBO employees and their immediate families. For assistance, call 1-800-263-1401. To find out more about the program, visit: http://www.opseu.org/lbed/eap  .

Your 2009 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:

Vanda Klumper, Chair,
Liquor Board Employees Division

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU
Ontario Public Service Employees Union