The unionized employees of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario have voted with utter majority in favour of a strike action in case contract negotiations break down with the retail giant. The union representing more than 7,000 LCBO staff, The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, asserted that a complete majority of 95 per cent has voted in favour of a walkout.
The employees’ former four-year contract with the LCBO ended on March 31, whereas the two sides began bargaining in mid-February without any real progress up till now. The contract negotiations are now scheduled to resume on Wednesday, with more bargaining dates set for later this month and in May. OPSEU has mentioned that the primary issues at hand include increasing part-time wages and making improvements to health and safety standards.
The president and CEO of LCBO, Bob Peter, stated that “it is not unusual for a union to have a strike vote during the collective bargaining process.” He alleged that LCBO is anxious to return to the bargaining table and work towards a fair agreement. Peter pointed out that OPSEU previously voted in favor of a strike twice during collective bargaining in 2005 and 2009. However, each time a new contract was reached without a strike. The president of OPSEU, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, alleged that there are “no plans to take job action.” But he alleged that the 95 per cent vote “should send a pretty powerful message to LCBO management that their own employees are profoundly dissatisfied with the pace of negotiations.”
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