Two Days Left
There are less than 40 hours until the 12:01 a.m. strike deadline on Monday, June 26. As the deadline approaches, the union bargaining team is standing firm on their plan for a better LCBO, one that their members can be proud to work at, and Ontarians can be proud to be the owners of.
“The LCBO made record profits last year, and provided more than $2 billion to the province,” said OPSEU bargaining team chair Denise Davis. “This company can afford to do better. We shouldn’t have 84 per cent of retail workers part-time. Workers shouldn’t be scheduled for two-hour shifts that barely cover the cost of gas and child care.
“We have a plan for a better LCBO – we just need the employer to agree to work with us to build it.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to step in and end this dispute, saying all it would take “is a phone call.”
“LCBO CEO George Soleas knows that his comfortable $400,000 plus job depends on the Premier,” said Thomas. “If she picked up the phone and told him to treat these workers better, we’d have a deal in minutes.”
“I’m asking her to live up to her promises about improving the lives of workers, and make that call.”
What happens at the deadline?
As the deadline approaches, members should remember that if there is news to be shared, the bargaining team and local leadership will share it with you directly. Watch your email inbox for news from the table on Sunday night as it’s available. We will also provide an update by midnight on the main bargaining page at www.opseu.org/LBEDbargaining.
A central strike headquarters has been set up, along with an LCBO Strike Hotline. Members can call 1-844-661-5433 for the status of negotiations, or email questions to strikeHQ@opseu.org. Staff representatives and Executive Board Members are engaged in strike planning in each region, and legal counsel has been retained to support as needed across the province.
Should a strike occur and you haven’t heard from a picket captain or Strike Committee members, call your OPSEU regional office or go to your nearest membership centre.
A fight we’ll win together
There are serious problems with how LCBO management is treating workers, whether it’s the way they are keeping people part-time for decades, or how they are cutting shifts to the point where the amount you’re paid for work is barely worth the cost of getting there.
While some of that is about LCBO management, we also know management is being pushed by the Finance Minister to drive up profits. Charles Sousa needs to cover over the holes created in his budget by all the other Liberal mistakes, and he’s hoping he can do that by squeezing workers even harder.
But this government shouldn’t be trying to balance their books off your backs. You’re already doing your part. In fact, your work provided more than $2 billion to the government last year. That money paid for hospitals and highways, schools and surgeries. The government should be thanking you for that.
Instead, we hear the Liberals are asking LCBO management to find ways to squeeze workers even further to keep increasing profits, no matter the cost.
They don’t seem to care if workers end up forced to work every day to try to string enough short shifts together to pay the rent. They don’t seem to care if workers are put in unsafe situations when they’re forced to work alone. And they don’t seem to care if management looks to drive up those profits by shipping good public jobs out the door to private contractors.
Well, that may be the LCBO’s plan. And that may be the Liberals’ plan. But your team has a different plan for a better LCBO. One you can be proud to work at, and Ontarians can be proud to be the owners of.
You deserve better, and I want you to know that your whole union is standing with you, no matter what it takes, to make sure you get what you deserve.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer
A profitable Crown corporation can (and should) do better
The way LCBO workers are being treated is shameful, and it’s time for management to do better.
No worker should be treated the way you are being treated right now. I know that 84 per cent of retail workers are stuck in part-time jobs, with no guarantee of how many hours they’ll have next week, or the week after. They make an average of less than $30,000 a year, and because of how short their shifts are, many have to work seven days a week, every week, just to make that much.
I’ve watched you tell your stories online at Liqileaks.ca. Some of those stories are heart-breaking.
There’s Bonnie, from Timmins, who is worried about trying to provide for her two kids with special needs. She doesn’t know how many hours she’s going to get each week, and is being forced to wait five years just to get access to any benefits for when they get sick.
And there’s Evan, a father who just wants the chance to spend some time with his family every now and then, instead of working seven days a week, every week.
This is a profitable Crown corporation – it can afford to do better, and it has a responsibility to do better. The LCBO should be setting an example for Ontario employers, not joining a race to the bottom with Walmart.
And the way the LCBO is treating workers is particularly outrageous given what the Premier is saying about improving the lives of vulnerable workers. The Premier is on the evening news promising that things are going to get better – but then you’re showing up for work in the morning to be told by your government-owned employer that instead, things are getting worse.
It’s not complicated. If Premier Wynne wants to improve the lives of workers, she should start with the companies her government runs. She should tell management to work with us to build a better LCBO, one that ends two-hour shifts, provides a path to full-time jobs that doesn’t take 20 years or more, lets workers see their families, and invests in improving this public asset instead of handing over profits to grocery billionaires.
The ball’s in management’s court now. If they don’t get serious, they’re the ones that will have to explain to the Premier why there’s picket lines instead of check-out lines at LCBOs across the province.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Management just needs to agree to work with us. Together, we really can build a better LCBO.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas,
Meet your mobilizers!
In collective bargaining, power comes from the support of union members. Experience has shown that employers move at the bargaining table when members take action inside and outside the workplace. To help build that power, OPSEU has booked off 15 mobilizers, elected by LBED members at your Pre-Bargaining Conference in April 2016. These mobilizers, who are your co-workers at the LCBO, are on union leave, starting Monday, February 27. They will work to build support for your elected bargaining team and the bargaining priorities you selected during demand-setting.
Meet your bargaining team
The OPSEU bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division consists of five members:
Denise Davis, Chair, Local 378
Colleen MacLeod, Vice-Chair, Local 5107
Jennifer Van Zetten, Local 162
Robin Reath, Local 163
Mark Larocque, Local 499
The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Negotiator Jeff Weston, Researcher Steve Crossman, and other assigned staff.
Contact us by email at LBEDbargaining@opseu.org
You can receive this bargaining bulletin (and our regular newsletter, the Echo) directly by e-mail. Just call OPSEU at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888, and give the operator your name and e-mail address.
You can also watch for updates on the OPSEU website at www.opseu.org/LBEDbargaining. And be sure to attend upcoming bargaining information meetings in your area.