Last week, the LCBO declared its intention to transfer 1.1 million cases of Vintages new release products from our unionized Durham facility to their private facilities for management and distribution.
This decision was made by the senior management team at the LCBO and aligns with the Conservative government’s strategy to privatize the LCBO piece by piece. Like many of our members, the union is appalled by senior management’s decision to squander a profitable leg of the LCBO’s logistics system by handing it over to the private sector.
Union members and leaders in the warehouse have responded swiftly and firmly. We have made it abundantly clear to the LCBO that such decisions will not be accepted sitting down. The union has requested a face-to-face meeting between our members and the LCBO senior management team. The union would like to give the employer the opportunity to explain to members why they’re eliminating good jobs and eroding quality public service.
Please stay tuned for further updates and potential actions. Your solidarity and support are more crucial than ever.
A New Era of Bargaining
This bargaining round is unlike any we’ve seen before. The numbers speak for themselves:
Increased Participation: Significantly more members participated in the recent bargaining survey compared to the last round.
Voices Raised: Hundreds of our members have filed grievances, signalling to our employer the need for genuine compensation, especially in light of the wage constraints set by the Ford government’s Bill 124.
Engagement with Leadership: Many of you are actively reaching out to your elected leaders asking what the plan is, especially given that it’s clear the employer and Ford government are not playing fair.
Your bargaining team would like to reassure members that we have a plan and further details will be released in the coming weeks.
The Battle Ahead
We’re gearing up for a big fight with both the LCBO and the Ford government in this round of bargaining. Through their privatization agenda, the Ford Conservatives are carrying out a clear attack on the work and livelihoods of LBED members.
But we’re not standing idle.
Working together with OPSEU/SEFPO staff and the Division Executive, your bargaining team is spearheading a robust and ambitious organizing plan.
Our goal? To push back against these changes — restore the damages from years of stagnant wages, cuts to staffing, and outsourcing — and to safeguard over 10,000 public sector jobs.
To bolster our efforts, a dedicated group of members have been elected by their peers to serve as campaign mobilizers throughout this campaign. Each region has its primary mobilizer and alternates to ensure continuous support. After undergoing training this summer, they are now spread across the province, ready to amplify our collective strength.
In previous rounds of bargaining your union followed a traditional method of membership engagement that fell short in the area of organizing. We were good at getting the message out, but lacked in the two-way membership conversations required to achieve a great contract. It takes more than just our bargaining team and mobilizers to achieve bargaining wins, it requires all of us. We need to harness the power of our members collectively.
Utilizing a methodology known as “Organizing for Power” our elected mobilizing team are actively mapping out the workplace, harvesting leaders and using new and exciting software called “Action Builder” to track our progress.
What to Expect?
Visibility: These mobilizers will be present in your stores and local communities.
Engagement: They’ll discuss strategies to counteract Ford’s privatization agenda and make wins on important issues such as wages.
Join the Movement
We urge each one of you to:
- Connect with your regional Mobilizer, Local President, and Division Executives.
- Engage in discussions with your colleagues at your store or warehouse.
- Sign our petition, sending a clear message to the LCBO and the Ford government we are united and ready to fight alongside each other for a good and fair agreement.
Meet Your Campaign Mobilizers
- Local 162 member.
- Born in Windsor and raised in Essex County.
- 24 years at LCBO.
- Roles: Chief Steward of Local 162.
- 5 years as Co-Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO Rainbow Alliance Arc-en-ciel.
- Vice-Chair of Equity All Chairs.
- Alternative to the Equity VP of LGBTQI+ workers at the Canadian Labour Congress.
- Enjoys forests, water, swimming, and thrift shopping – avid dancer.
- Fun Fact: Former Army Cadet; awarded Best Female Cadet and won 1st Place in Biathlon due to sharpshooting skills. Attended a 6-week Boot Camp at Base Borden.
Gregory Todd Scott, Region 2
- 45 years retail experience.
- Three-time mobilizer (two contracts, one election)
- VP Local 287.
- 10.5 year casual employee of LCBO.
- Music is my passion.
- “It’s all about the bass”.
Stephanie Hickman, Region 3
- With the LCBO since 2012.
- Local 377 Secretary & Steward for the last three years and was elected as a Region 3 mobilizer.
- Chair of her local school’s Community Council.
- Hobbies include cooking, walking with her family dog Banjo, crafting, and camping.
- A massive Blue Jays fan, her son is a proud Jr. Jay.
- Fun fact: Stephanie named her first dog after Jesse Barfield and ran onto the Skydome field when the Jays won the ’92 World Series!
Lorrie Scuffell (she/her/elle), Region 4
- Treasurer and steward for Local 4100.
- A dedicated LCBO employee for over 6 years, stationed in Winchester at a C Store.
- Assisted in multiple locations, showcasing her commitment and love for her job and colleagues.
- Strong advocate against the privatization of the LCBO.
- Passionate about securing fair wages and stable employment for all.
- Firm believer in the collective strength of union members and the need for unity.
- Ready and equipped to educate, organize, and champion our cause to victory.
Debbie McGuinness, Region 5
- President of Local 5110 in downtown Toronto, advocating for safe and respectful workplaces for over a decade.
- Known as a fierce negotiator, she’s won numerous grievances for members, challenging employers on human rights and accommodation issues.
- This marks her third time mobilizing Region 5 for bargaining.
- Labor and community activist passionate about Health & Safety and Chair of the LBED Provincial Health & Safety committee.
- Education: Labour Studies Certificate from McMaster University.
Jamie Kensley, Region 6
- 30 years of service.
- Roles include WFT, Casual, PFT (3 years), Product Consultant (11 years), and Bargaining Unit Manager (11 years).
- Advocacy: Believes in organizing to send a strong message against privatization threats and for worker recognition, especially after the pandemic.
- Fun Facts: Skydiving enthusiast.
- Enjoys skiing, traveling with family, and playing several instruments, including the Djembe.
Travis Arnold, Region 7
- 21 years in retail.
- Worked across 4 LCBO locations in 2 cities.
- 8 years as a Casual employee.
- 13 years and counting as a PFT.
- Promoted to Assistant Manager this year.
- Leadership: Local 741 President.
- Married for 18 years with 3 daughters: an 8-year-old and 7-year-old twins.
- Hobbies include watching movies (good and bad ones), board games, reading comic books (prefers DC or Image), and playing/collecting Magic the Gathering.
- Fun Fact: all his children are named after video game or movie characters, and his cat is named after a comic book character.
Background on Bill 124
During our previous bargaining session, we faced wage restrictions imposed by the Ford government’s Bill 124. Despite these constraints, our bargaining team successfully negotiated a letter of understanding. This letter stipulated that if Bill 124 was deemed unconstitutional, repealed, or amended, both parties would revisit negotiations to address any lost compensation.
On November 29th, 2022, Superior Court Justice Koehnen declared Bill 124 “void and of no effect” — a decision that activated our letter of understanding.
Timeline of Attempts to Reopen Wage Negotiations
February 5th, 2023, 10:00 am: We resumed negotiations under the letter of understanding, with Mediator Gerry Lee’s assistance. We presented the employer with our monetary proposals, outlining compensation items that would have been discussed if not for Bill 124.
April 1st, 2023: Both our bargaining team and the employer met again. The employer, backed by the Treasury Board, proposed a 0.75% lump sum (conditional on the repeal of Bill 124) for each of the three years the bill covered. We firmly communicated to the employer, through the mediator, that such an offer was inadequate, especially considering our members’ exceptional service during the pandemic, rising interest rates and an ongoing cost of living crisis.
It is essential to note here that mediators and arbitrators are not the same. The reason some sectors have arbitrators is due to the fact that they can’t go on strike.
Since our own continuing negotiations with a mediator, several arbitrators have issued awards across various sectors that acknowledge the negative impact of Bill 124. The arbitrators have ordered employers to compensate with retroactive wage increases far surpassing the 0.75% lump sum initially offered by our own employer. For instance, an award for OPSEU/SEFPO Hospital Professionals Division by Arbitrator William Kaplan included significant wage increases and pandemic pay benefits.
Most recently the bargaining team for CAAT-A (College Applied Arts and Technology -Academic) successfully negotiated a Wage Re-Opener settlement. This settlement was reached through mediation, the same process included in the Wage Re-Opener letter negotiated by our own bargaining team last round. The CAAT-A agreement includes improvements to paramedical benefits along with a general wage increase of 3% in the first year, 3% in the second and 3.5% in the third year, inclusive of the 1% already negotiated.
Current Status: Our bargaining team remains hopeful that LCBO leadership will recognize the dedication and sacrifices you’ve made during the pandemic with an offer that’s in line with recently arbitrated decisions. Given the positive outcomes from recent arbitrated decisions and the CAAT-A mediation, we believe it’s time for an agreement that aligns with these favorable terms. Rest assured, our union is actively engaging with the employer to resolve the Bill 124 Wage Re-Opener.
While the government appealed the Bill 124 repeal on June 20, 2023, we remain optimistic that the courts will uphold Justice Koehnen’s decision, affirming that Ford’s wage freezing bill remains “void and of no effect.” A verdict is anticipated this fall. At present, no further negotiation dates with the employer and mediator Gerry Lee have been set. We’ve conveyed to the employer that their proposal is unsatisfactory and urged them to seek a mandate from the government that truly reflects the needs of LBED members.
We will continue to advocate for what our members rightfully deserve. Enough is Enough!
Election of the LBED Bargaining Team
On April 29, 2023, our new bargaining team was elected. This was closely followed by a successful rally at the LCBO flagship store. This marked the beginning of our preparations for the next round of bargaining, especially as our current Collective Agreement is set to expire on March 31, 2024.
Bargaining Survey Results
In June, we distributed the results of the bargaining survey to all locals. This was to assist you, our valued members, in sending your demands to the Final Demand Set meeting. This crucial meeting is scheduled for September 23, 2023, where delegates from each LBED local will come together to vote on and prioritize the demands. These will then be presented to the employer by the bargaining team in January 2024.
Training & Development
From July 25-27, 2023, our team underwent a ground-breaking training program titled “Organizing for Power: Dismantling Anti-Black, Anti-Indigenous and All Forms of Racism.” This training, a first of its kind for OPSEU/SEFPO, covered a range of issues. We delved deep into leader identification, structured organizing, charting, structure tests, and dismantling systemic racism.
This training equipped us to challenge the employer more effectively, ensuring our Collective Agreement truly reflects our union’s commitment to giving every member’s voice an equal say in our workplaces. Additionally, we participated in a two-day Bargaining team training, focusing on strategizing and addressing the crucial issues that you, our members, will raise through local demands.
Meet your Bargaining Team!
Colleen MacLeod – Chair
- Colleen has been with the LCBO for 26 years, spending 11 of those as a Casual.
- Currently the ‘B’ Store Assistant Manager and has been on the LBED Bargaining Team five times (2009, 2013, 2017, 2021, 2024).
- Started with Education/Communications at LBED, moved to Secretary Treasurer, and is now the Chair.
- Grew up in a union home with strong social activists.
- Passionate about workers’ rights, social responsibility, and sharing collective agreement knowledge. She opposes the privatization of all public services.
- Hobbies include nail art, gardening and daily learning.
- She shares her home with two cats, Soot and Minnie, whom she adores.
- Damian has been a dedicated employee at the LCBO for 25 years, starting with 4 years as a Casual and then 21 years as a PFT.
- He’s proudly served as the President of Local 378 at the Durham Warehouse for the last 4 years and is a member of the LBED Grievance Committee.
- This is his debut on the bargaining team.
- Father of three and a loving husband.
- A third-degree black belt in TaeKwon-do.
- Enjoys golf, watching movies, and taking family walks.
- Fun Fact: Damian has witnessed 7 hole-in-ones in person. He’s still waiting for his own and jokes about charging people to golf with him for good luck.
- Craig boasts 25 years at the LCBO, with 20 of those in I.T at the POS Help Desk.
- This is his second time on the bargaining team.
- Chair of Education and Communication for LBED and the Editor of OPSEU/SEFPO’s InSolidarity magazine.
- Board Member of the Canadian Association of Labour Media.
- Education: Holds an honours degree in Work and Labour Studies from York University and a Corporate Communications Diploma from Humber College.
- A big fan of the Jays and TFC.
- Enjoys gardening, socializing, and family time.
- Fun fact: Craig has a rescue dog named Bernie, named after Bernie Sanders, who loves people and has been on several picket lines.
- Jeremy operates out of the Durham warehouse as a clerk and has been with the LCBO for 29 years.
- A 22-year union activist, he’s held roles as local steward, vice-president, and president. He’s also been a member of the education communication committee and a three-time bargaining team member.
- Currently, Vice-Chair of LBED, Chair of the LBED grievance committee, and a bargaining team member.
- Retired softball player and a budding golfer.
- Avid fan of the Leafs, Blue Jays, and the Vikings.
- Rachel is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Division and has been on the Bargaining Team in 2021 & 2024.
- Eastern Region Labour Management Chair, a member of the Anti-Privatization and Trustee Audit Committees and past seat on the Education/Communications Committee.
- She started at the LCBO in 2011 and is now a C Store Manager.
- Other roles: Local President, past Local Treasurer, and steward.
- Strong Union Activist.