Staff at LCBO stores across Ontario are just days away from potentially walking off the job.
The two sides embroiled in the impending LCBO strike, which could start next Monday, are ramping up their campaigns to the public in light of a potential work stoppage.
With just over six days remaining before the strike deadline at 12:01 on June 26, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) released a notice to customers recommending they “shop far in advance.”
“The strike deadline falls at one of the busiest times of the year when customers are planning activities with family and friends over the Canada Day long weekend. We expect an increase in customer traffic at LCBO stores this week.” management said.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU), which represents 8,000 LCBO staff, held an information session at the Summerhill LCBO on Monday. The group showcased new LiqiLeaks.ca website which, according to the union, exposes the truth about working conditions at the LCBO.
“LiqiLeaks” not only brandishes a strike countdown clock, but video testimonials from union members who claim they have worked years as part-time employees with the bulk of their employ being just four-hour shifts. In one of the prerecorded statements an employee claimed to have worked four-hour shifts continuous for around 50 days.
OPSEU president Warren “Smokey” Thomas told AM640’s Morning Show that the site showcases the “quality of life” issues that plague the bulk of the workers.
“They’re getting kinda nasty on the shift schedule, they’ve increased the number of part-time workers, agency workers and increased the number of short shift workers,” said Thomas. “Eighty-four per cent of the workers are now part-time in an agency that made around $2 billion in profits, last year.”
Although the LCBO does not address the length of part-time hours, they do address the argument of the so-called “trapped” employees saying they have “good jobs.”
“Our retail employees receive some of the most generous wages in the retail sector. These are good jobs. Over 50 per cent of our casual employees receive more than 1,000 hours per year.” said management through their own campaign website lcbonegotiations.com
Both sides have been without an agreement since March 31 when the last deal expired. In April, LCBO staff voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike.
Another of the union’s major concerns is so-called “creeping privatization,” which refers to the Liberal government’s move to sell beer, wine and cider in grocery stores.
So far, 130 grocery stores in Ontario are now selling beer and cider with another 76 ready to join at the end of June.
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