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OPSEU to government: Fire Elitist LCBO Senior Management

We the North
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TORONTO – Even in the midst of record sales, the LCBO has rebuffed a call from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) to provide pandemic recognition pay to its heroic frontline workers and the union’s leadership says it’s clearly time to clean house in the Crown corporation’s executive suite.

“Throughout this crisis, we’ve had to drag the LCBO kicking and screaming to protect its front-line workers who are keeping the place operating,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “These LCBO bosses are drunk with power and a sense of entitlement, and they’re out of touch with the workers who are getting the job done.”

OPSEU called on Saturday for the LCBO to show the same leadership as Premier Doug Ford who announced a $4 per hour pay increase to a large number of frontline public sector workers in order to recognize their work in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

When OPSEU contacted the LCBO to suggest a modest pay hike for its staff, Labour Relations Director Darren Harper dismissed the idea, citing costs for health and safety measures that were recently brought in. Those measures only came after OPSEU tirelessly fought with the LCBO for the protection of the frontline workers.

“This is a management who is elitist, exclusionary and punishing of its workforce – the same crew that screwed up warehouse distribution last year is showing the same incompetence,” said Thomas.  “It shows how out of touch the one per cent in the LCBO corporate suite is if they think that in-store protective measures are the same as recognizing workers’ courageous efforts. This pandemic has revealed the best in compassion in some bosses, but not at the LCBO. They’re the same bad bosses they always were. It’s disgusting. Premier Ford needs to deal with these yahoos.”

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the rot at the LCBO starts at the top, pointing out that LCBO President and CEO, Dr. George Soleas, takes home a reported annual salary of $560K plus benefits.

“Mr. Soleas is sitting comfortably in his ivory tower, making record profits off the backs of hardworking employees who are risking their lives,” says Almeida.  “Since the LCBO has seen a windfall in profits during this pandemic, Soleas and all the other LCBO managers are anticipating hefty bonuses, while all the essential workers get is a sneering brush off.”

OPSEU is also currently in the middle of a dispute with the LCBO for an edict that warehouse workers who need to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 should be sent home without pay.

“The treatment of these workers, who are risking their health and safety and the health and safety of their families every single day they go out to work, is downright shameful,” stated Thomas. “The government needs to step in and get rid of these corrupt bosses once and for all. Clearly they are ignoring the Premier’s direction on treating frontline workers with respect and compassion.”

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