Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is commending Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy and LCBO management for listening to the union’s repeated calls to reopen LCBO stores on Mondays.
“This is just the right thing to do,” said Thomas. “It means workers and customers will be safer, and it means the government will get more alcohol revenue to invest in vital public services like hospitals and long-term care.”
The publicly owned and managed alcohol retailer announced on Feb. 11 that, starting on Mar. 1, it would reopen its stores for regular hours on Mondays.
When the Premier first announced last March that LCBOs would be closed to the public on Mondays to allow staff to undertake enhanced cleaning, OPSEU/SEFPO members stood behind the decision.
“LCBO workers were right among all the front-line heroes who answered the call early in this pandemic, and they wanted to do everything they could to keep their communities safe,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “They were fine with the Monday closings because they knew the extra cleaning was important.”
But since March 30, 2020, LCBO management has refused to schedule staff on Mondays for cleaning. That meant the LCBO workers had less time to do their work and face more frequent customer rushes, making it more difficult for them to rigorously observe the safety and cleaning protocols.
“It became clear to our members very quickly that the Monday closings were actually making things less safe for customers and the entire community,” said Thomas. “The Monday closings were also giving private alcohol retailers an unfair leg up – and every sale that a private retailer takes from the LCBO means less money coming back to government for public services.”
Thomas outlined these concerns in letters to the previous and current Finance Minister.
“I’m glad to see that this government is listening to our front-line heroes and putting the health and safety of LCBO workers and the communities they serve,” said Thomas.
“This is great news for us and great news for our customers,” said Colleen MacLeod, the chair of the OPSEU/SEFPO Liquor Board Employees Division. “We’ll now have the time and the space we need to do our essential work as safely as possible.”
For more info: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931