LCBO workers to vote on possible strike action

Union at Ontario’s liquor control board disputing wage freeze, elimination of full-time positions

In response to a proposed four-year wage freeze by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), more than 7,000 LCBO employees will hold a strike vote next month.

The employees, along with their union — the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) — are also disputing the LCBO’s proposed plans to eliminate 270 assistant management positions at its larger retail stores and “review” employees’ benefits plans, looking for inefficiencies.

A strike vote doesn’t mean employees will walk off the job, Denise Davis, chair of OPSEU’s liquor board employees division, said in a press release. However, it’s a signal to management that the union is serious about negotiating a good contract, she added. The current contract expires on March 31.

OPSEU is also concerned about the LCBO introducing more part-time positions than permanent, full-time ones. An OPSEU press release says between April 2008 and September 2012, the LCBO added 981 part-time positions and 156 permanent, full-time ones.

“The LCBO can well afford our modest contract demands,” Davis added. “We never bargain with the intention of striking but our employer needs to roll up its sleeves and get down to some genuine negotiations.”

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