LCBO workers are moving closer toward a province-wide strike.
Conditions continue to deteriorate across the province as the bargaining team for the LCBO staff asked the Ontario Ministry of Labour for a “no board” report, according to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
The strike deadline is anticipated before the end of the month.
OPSEU chair Denise Davis said the LCBO’s actions away from the table and its refusal to move on the key concerns of workers have “left us no choice but to draw a line in the sand.”
“We have workers trapped in so-called casual positions for decades, working seven days a week, and bringing home an average of less than $30,000 a year,” said Davis in a press release. “And we have seasonal workers sitting at home while underpaid temp agency workers do their jobs. The status quo isn’t sustainable – and management’s proposals would make an already difficult situation worse.”
In April, LCBO workers voted 93% in favour of a strike.
The staff demands come at an interesting time, as pointed out by Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas, at the heels of Kathleen Wynne’s announcement for labour reforms and higher minimum wage to improve the lives of vulnerable workers.
“Our members see their Premier on the evening news promising improvements for workers,” said Thomas. “But when they show up for work in the morning, they find their government-owned employer continuing to exploit them.”
Thomas said that it took a human rights complaint, over three years of litigation, and an arbitrator’s award to force management to provide equal pay for equal work for part-time workers.
“And then just this past week, the Premier held a press conference and told the media her government believes part-time workers are entitled to equal pay,” he said. “These workers will soon know just how much the Premier’s words are worth.”
Union negotiations continue next week.