Tuesday, July 23, 2024

LCBO workers will be in a legal strike position starting Friday, union says

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After a long week at the bargaining table, the union representing nearly 10,000 LCBO employees did not reach a deal to avoid a strike.


LCBO workers will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m., Friday, Jul 5.


“Despite the employer’s consistent unwillingness to bargain meaningfully, this plan is a dramatic, and heavy-handed move at a time when both sides should be working hard to reach an agreement,” the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) said in a statement Thursday.


Now with an imminent strike, people in Ottawa are preparing for what could be a lengthy closure.


“It’s summer, cottage weather and fun times. This is when we get to entertain and BBQ and have friends over—the last few years we haven’t been able to do that,” said Ottawa resident, Kathy Turner.


The strike will put a wrench in Turner’s hosting plans.


If they walk off the job, all LCBO stores will close for 14 days. After 14 days, only 30 of the 669 LCBO retail stores across the province will open for in-store shopping. They will operate on limited hours for three days a week, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


Many Ottawa residents already have alternative options in mind.


“(I can go to) Quebec, that’s the plus we just live across the bridge. I don’t think I’d be the only person doing that,” said Turner.


LCBO customer Jamie Helmer made a trip to stock up in anticipation of the strike.


“I’m going to take it easy over the weekend and hope the strike’s over,” helmer said, adding that he can go to Quebec if the strike is extended.


Al Mackey was also at the LCBO getting a few extra bottles of alcohol ahead of the midnight strike deadline. He says he’s not worried if the strike lingers.


“We’re not that far from the SAQs (in Quebec). We’re fortunate in Ottawa but the rest of the province, not so much,” he said.


The union is fighting for higher wages and more full-time positions. They’re also concerned about job security and the future of the LCBO after the Ontario Government announced its plan to expand alcohol sales to more retail locations.


A spokesperson for Ontario’s Finance Minister’s office writes in a statement Thursday:


“While we hope OPSEU puts consumers first by working constructively at the negotiating table toward a deal, we have never been more committed than we are now to delivering on our promise to deliver more choice and convenience with beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages in convenience, grocery and big box stores.”


 


The union says LCBO workers won’t back down in their fight for a strong future for the LCBO, and the public services funded by LCBO revenues.

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