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Liquor Board employees voted to accept new contract

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TORONTO — Unionized Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) employees have ratified a new four-year collective agreement with the Crown-owned retail giant.

The agreement, reached within a few hours of the May 17 strike deadline, provides for some improvements and more full-time jobs for the 7,000 members of OPSEU's Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED). The union also fought off a long list of concession demands. But, the critical issue of the employer's overuse of 'casual' workers remains.

"The vote to accept this contract is a clear statement that the bargaining team did a good job for the members, and the members are united to keep up the fight for good jobs at the LCBO," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas when the final count was in.

Last month, OPSEU filed a wage discrimination claim against the LCBO and the Ontario government, saying that the LCBO has deliberately created a core workforce of mainly women who management classifies as 'casuals'. It does this so it can pay them 23 to 38 per cent less than full-time employees and restrict benefits and promotions, says the legal claim.

The ratified contract gives the union and management 90 days to meet to try to resolve the issue. It does not prohibit the union from proceeding with its application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario if no resolution is reached.

LBED bargaining chair Denise Davis welcomed the news of the ratification.

"Our new contract is one element in our fight for good jobs, and that's a fight that's going on across Ontario," said Davis. "The public understands what we're working toward because far too many Ontarians are in the same boat. Stable employment is not too much to ask for or expect. And I'm proud of what our members have achieved by standing together."

More information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613.329.1931
Sheila Keenan 416.802.1251