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Thomas demands LCBO Chair, CEO meet with workers or resign

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has sent the following letter to LCBO Chair Carmine Nigro and LCBO President and CEO George Soleas, demanding they either meet with workers over the ongoing shortages or resign.

July 30, 2019

LCBO Chair Carmine Nigro
LCBO President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. George Soleas

Dear Mr. Nigro and Dr. Soleas:

I am once again writing to request a meeting with you to discuss the ongoing and even worsening distribution problems plaguing the LCBO. 
This is urgent. We are now just days away from one of the busiest weekends of the year, and the 8,500 frontline LCBO workers who belong to OPSEU are now bearing the brunt of customers’ growing frustration, anger, and border-line abuse.

We’ve been informed that in Eastern Ontario that the problems are only getting worse: shelves are still bare, stores are only getting half of what they ordered, or are receiving product that they hadn’t ordered. 
Adding to these problems, licensees are doubling and even tripling their orders to ensure they’re not left short, but LCBO managers aren’t adding hours to fill those orders.

Worker morale has reached a new low. There have not been any reported workplace injuries – yet – but stress from dealing with irate and even border-line abusive customers is taking a toll. 
Our members are not responsible for these problems. In fact, they warned you about the dangers of rushing too quickly to implement the new warehouse systems.

But as the leaders of LCBO management, you are responsible for hearing your workers’ concerns and receiving advice about solving these problems as quickly as possible.  Sticking your heads in the sand at your cottages won’t make the problem go away.

If you are not willing to live up to that responsibility, you must both resign and make way for a management team that will take its responsibilities to the LCBO and the people of Ontario seriously. 
I look forward to your prompt response with proposed meeting times, or your resignations.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union