In the interest of health and safety during the pandemic, OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has formally requested that the Ford government direct the LCBO to permanently reopen its stores on Mondays.
“OPSEU/SEFPO members are doing the work they used to do in seven (7) days in six (6) days in addition to the changed volume of customers in and out of the stores and enhanced cleaning protocols that often get skirted to deal with the additional workload and lineup of customers,” wrote Thomas in a letter to Finance Minister Rod Phillips. “A full reopen on Mondays would also spread out the number of customers that come into the LCBO back over a seven (7) day period.”
OPSEU/SEFPO supported the LCBO’s initial decision early in the pandemic to temporarily close stores Monday. But since safety equipment was installed and enhanced safety and cleaning protocols were established in the spring, the union has been calling for the LCBO to return to normal hours.
Here’s the complete text of Thomas’s letter to Phillips:
December 11, 2020
The Hon. Rod Phillips
Ministry of Finance
Frost Building South
7 Queen’s Park Cres.
Dear Minister Phillips:
I am writing on behalf of the over 13,000 OPSEU/SEFPO Members who work at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). These members were declared essential as the rise in COVID-19 cases crossed borders into Ontario and the government declared a state of emergency back on March 17, 2020.
The declaration of LCBO frontline workers to be essential was pivotal to the state of the health care system and the economy for Ontarians. The decision to close the store on Mondays to the public by the Premier at the end of March was a decision OPSEU/SEFPO members could stand behind. Enhanced cleaning protocols could be put in place and work within the store without the potential spread from customers would reduce risk.
However, since March 30, 2020 the LCBO has been closed on Mondays and no staff have been scheduled. With the exception of moving stock from the warehouse, during a summer period the calls from the Union to schedule Mondays has gone unanswered. OPSEU/SEFPO members are doing the work they used to do in seven (7) days in six (6) days in addition to the changed volume of customers in and out of the stores and enhanced cleaning protocols that often get skirted to deal with the additional workload and lineup of customers. A full reopen on Mondays would also spread out the number of customers that come into the LCBO back over a seven (7) day period.
Further consultations, after a joint letter to the LCBO from our health and safety committee and labour management committee chairs, resulted in the LCBO scheduling Mondays in December closed to the public, with the exception of December 21st and December 28th where they will be open to the public to accommodate the scheduled closed public holidays. There is no commitment from the LCBO to re-open to regular business hours beyond the prime sales season of the holidays.
OPSEU/SEFPO is formally requesting that the LCBO reopen their retail locations with enhanced COVID protocols being adhered to with normal business hours on Mondays for the reasons outlined above and to spread out the customer traffic to reduce lineups and over capacity numbers in the stores.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas