LCBO Strike Looms Over May Long Weekend

Customers have been encouraged to stock up as LCBO employees plan to walk off the job

By Kevin Chao, staff writer

Before you pick up party cups or invite friends over for drinks this long weekend, be sure to stock up on booze.

LCBO workers are expected to go on strike this Friday, just before the Victoria Day weekend. Negotiations are currently taking place between the LCBO and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), but reports suggest that a deal is unlikely to be settled in time.

[pullquote]“they work there because they’re trying to live.”[/pullquote]

Preparing for the fallout from a strike, LCBO’s senior vice-president Bob Clevely advised that “customers are encouraged to shop early for the best product selections.” OPSEU president Warren “Smokey” Thomas has promised that they did not set the strike deadline lightly. “We are looking to the LCBO to negotiate a deal that recognizes fair jobs for all its employees,” Thomas stated. “To date it hasn’t demonstrated its willingness to recognize fair work for all LCBO employees.”

As unionized civil servants who drive profits, many LCBO workers believe they are not receiving proper consideration and 95 per cent of more than 7,000 employees voted in favour of strike action. An OPSEU news release listed outstanding issues including conversion of part-time jobs to full-time jobs, equal pay for work of equal value, improvements to health and safety, and scheduling.

Scheduling has been a recurring issue, with some employees receiving as short as two-hour shifts a day. Thomas has also filed a human rights complaint alleging wage discrimination against the female employees. He said that the majority of workers are part-time, the majority of them are women, and “they work there because they’re trying to live.”

Replying to these arguments, LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor has stated that employees have seen decent salaries and even pay raises over recent years, and that as government workers they ought to be included in the reduction of provincial costs.

A strike may be avoidable if a tentative agreement can be settled upon before Friday. Contracts have been worked out twice before in 2005 and 2009, however both sides seem to doubt that negotiations will improve.



Image courtesy of Internet: CBC.ca

News releases: OPSEU Official website

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National Post

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Kevin Chao is a staff writer who is always striving to work harder, act stronger, and call his mother more often. Kevin is at Western University studying Media, Information, and Technoculture, and in his spare time, he often explains what the name of his program actually means. 

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