Mobilizers meet for training
On Monday, February 27 and Tuesday, February 28, the 15 new LBED mobilizers met in Toronto to hone their organizing skills, plan the weeks ahead, and get ready for this critically important round of bargaining.
Mobilizers strategized with the bargaining team, received training on how best to tell the story of the LCBO's importance in media interviews and conversations with the public, and learned about the key points ahead in the bargaining timeline.
Mobilizers were also visited by OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. They spoke about the process ahead, the support that the Executive Board has already provided for the division, and the union's commitment to do whatever it takes to back up members' demands for a fair contract.
They reminded mobilizers that members will have the support of a $72 million strike fund if their employer refuses to be reasonable.
Mobilizers will work closely with the bargaining team, locals, Executive Board Members and union staff to show LCBO management that we won't sit by and let this important public asset be driven into the ground in a race to the bottom with the private sector. Mobilizers will be reaching out to locals in the coming days to put together a plan to do site visits in the weeks ahead. Please do everything you can to assist them.
We've got your back
Your division faces an important fight this round – one that matters for all Ontarians.
This round is not just about making sure that workers at the LCBO have good jobs – the kind that let them raise families, send their kids to school, and retire with dignity. It's also about making sure that those jobs continue to exist.
At its heart, this round is about saving the LCBO – and not just because your own jobs depend on a strong, thriving LCBO. All Ontario needs the LCBO. The profits that come from the work you do pay for teachers in Cornwall, MRIs in Timmins, highways in Thunder Bay, child care spaces here in Toronto, hospitals in Windsor, and much more.
Each year the LCBO sends enough money to the provincial government to pay for six new hospitals. Why would we even think of giving that up?
The reality is that beer and wine in grocery stores has changed the landscape. We are going to need to find ways to stay competitive. At the same time, we need to protect the hard-won rights in the collective agreement.
That will require a balance, but if we stick together, we'll win. And we will stick together.
I want you to know that every time your team sits at the table, they aren't alone. There are over 7,500 OPSEU members who work at the LCBO, but there are more than 130,000 members of OPSEU across Ontario. And I'm here to tell you that if the LCBO wants to pick a fight with the 7,500 of you, it had better be ready to deal with all 130,000 of us.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
LCBO brass go running back to the arbitrator to avoid negotiating
We have been informed that the employer is reconvening the arbitrator from the human rights complaint, William Kaplan, to ask him to clarify areas where the union and employer have different interpretations of his ruling. Until then, the employer is refusing to negotiate on these issues.
We are very disappointed that management is attempting to get Kaplan to decide bargaining issues instead of negotiating them at the table. The bargaining table is where these discussions belong, and we will continue to press the employer to sit down at the table and bargain a fair deal.
Interestingly, however, while claiming that Kaplan needs to clarify his award before these issues can be negotiated because the ruling isn't clear, the LCBO is still saying that it will move ahead with scheduling workers on Sundays based on its own interpretation of the ruling.
We have communicated clearly to the employer that we do not agree that the arbitrator's ruling has removed the voluntary aspect of Sunday work, as stated clearly in the letter of agreement on Sunday work. We have also made it clear that if the LCBO proceeds with making this change to employment conditions, we will file a "freeze provision violation" complaint under the Labour Relations Act. This freeze provision refers to the part of the Labour Relations Act that states that an employer cannot alter the terms and conditions of employment of bargaining unit members once notice to bargain has been sent.
We will be meeting with Kaplan and the employer in late March and will keep members informed of the outcome.
Meet your mobilizers!
In collective bargaining, power comes from the support of union members. Experience has shown that employers move at the bargaining table when members take action inside and outside the workplace. To help build that power, OPSEU has booked off 15 mobilizers, elected by LBED members at your Pre-Bargaining Conference in April 2016. These mobilizers, who are your co-workers at the LCBO, are on union leave, starting Monday, February 27. They will work to build support for your elected bargaining team and the bargaining priorities you selected during demand-setting.
Michael Peris Feb. 27 – March 21, filling in for Guy Jeremschuk
Meet your bargaining team
The OPSEU bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division consists of five members:
Denise Davis, Chair, Local 378
Colleen MacLeod, Vice-Chair, Local 5107
Jennifer Van Zetten, Local 162
Robin Reath, Local 163
Mark Larocque, Local 499
The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Negotiator Jeff Weston, Researcher Steve Crossman, and other assigned staff.
Contact us by email at LBEDbargaining@opseu.org
You can receive this bargaining bulletin (and our regular newsletter, the Echo) directly by e-mail. Just call OPSEU at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888, and give the operator your name and e-mail address.
You can also watch for updates on the OPSEU website at www.opseu.org/LBEDbargaining. And be sure to attend upcoming bargaining information meetings in your area.