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OPSEU demands LCBO bosses prioritize recognition for workers over their bonuses

Smokey Thomas
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TORONTO – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is demanding that LCBO senior management put recognition for their workers ahead of padding their own executive bonuses.

The Crown corporation has announced to employees that it will be expanding hours just in time for the May long weekend. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says CEO George Soleas is carelessly putting his front-line workers at greater risk for his own personal gain. 

“It’s absolutely appalling that Soleas and his cronies refuse to give hazard pay to their front-line workers but have no qualms about expanding the number of hours they’re potentially exposed to COVID-19,” said Thomas. “This is corrupt leadership at its finest – prioritizing your own bottom line above all else.”

Thomas noted that the LCBO has been slow to communicate with OPSEU around health and safety concerns, neglecting to inform the union when an employee began showing symptoms of COVID-19 at the LCBO’s Durham warehouse and came back with a positive test result on Sunday.

“The safety of frontline workers and the safety of our communities should be our top priority,” stated Thomas. “Ignoring expert medical advice by expanding hours ahead of the long weekend increases the risk of community spread, for what reason? So that the power-drunk, profit-hungry LCBO bosses can get even larger bonuses from long-weekend sales? I think last week the Premier referred to such wanton disregard for each other’s safety as the action of yahoos. I highly recommend the Premier tell these guys to pack their bags, too.”

OPSEU has been consistently pushing the LCBO to show recognition for its essential workers, who have been risking their own health and safety to keep stores open during the COVID-19 pandemic. OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida pointed out that, at a time when stores are seeing weekly sales increases of up to 31 per cent,  LCBO’s senior management chose to hand out donated chocolate bunnies as ‘a token of thanks’ to its workers. 

“Chocolate is the best LCBO’s senior management can do to recognize the efforts of their employees?” asked Almeida. “This shows how seriously disconnected from the reality of front-line work they truly are.”

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For more information: OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931