Working at the LCBO is not as great a job as one might think. Liquor Board Employees, members of OPSEU, have been bargaining since March 9 and the company is demanding concessions. In spite of the LCBO’s enormous profits the management is insisting that they be able to replace good permanent jobs with casual ones. 73% of their workforce is casual right now and some have been casual for up to 20 years. They don’t get enough hours to make ends meet, they don’t have benefits and the wages are not high. In fact, 60% of employees make less than$20,000 yearly.
A strike vote is planned for May 22. The public has been led to think that the LCBO is a great place to work and OPSEU wants to get the real story out there. Look for the “Booze Bucks” from your union or at the Labour Council office and hand them in whenever you make a purchase from the liquor store. They won’t buy your booze, but they will boost morale and let management know that not everyone is fooled by the myth of a well-paying government job.
These sisters and brothers are standing up for good jobs in our communities. Let’s stand with them.
The LCBO is not in financial difficulty. Nevertheless the management is pushing for such things as the right to lay of permanent full-time and permanent part-time employees for periods of up to 90 days, to bypass seniority and to establish an automatic discharge penalty.
Companies are using the financial crisis as an opportunity to attack unions. We have seen a lot of examples of workers having to fight their way in negotiations through a slew of management rights’ grabs before they even get to the issues that cost money. Home care workers, Kingston Access Bus drivers and elementary teachers have all recently had to defend themselves against management encroaching on the right of workers to be fairly represented by their union.
While management salaries have increased as much as 104% in the last 8 years, workers have seen a 20% increase. But 60% of the unionized workers at LCBO are part-time and will not be able to count on getting enough hours to live on if the management has their way.
May 20 – 22 the Liquor Board Employees Division will be holding a strike vote. A strong statement will certainly give them a louder voice at the bargaining table.