LCBO employees raise a glass to new contract

Unionized Liquor Control Board of Ontario workers give 4-year deal a thumbs up

Unionized Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) employees represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have ratified a new four-year collective agreement with the Crown-owned retailer.

The agreement, reached within a few hours of the May 17 strike deadline before the Victoria Day long weekend, provides for some improvements and more full-time jobs for the 7,000 employees, according to OPSEU.

The union said it “fought off” a long list of concession demands, but the critical issue of the LCBO’s “overuse” of casual workers remains.

"The vote to accept this contract is a clear statement that the bargaining team did a good job for the members, and the members are united to keep up the fight for good jobs at the LCBO," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

Last month, OPSEU filed a wage discrimination claim against the LCBO and the Ontario government, saying the LCBO has deliberately created a core workforce of mainly women who management classifies as “casuals.”

OPSEU alleges the company does this so it can be these workers 23 per cent to 38 per cent less than full-time employees and restrict benefits and claims.

The ratified contract gives the union and management 90 days to meet to try to resolve the issue, according to OPSEU. It does not prohibit the union from proceeding with its application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario if no resolution is reached.

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