Please open attachments to see the opening proposals
Next Wednesday, April 19, there will be two telephone town halls held for LBED members at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET with the bargaining team and OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. These will give members a chance to hear about the issues at the table from the team, and to ask questions they might have about where things stand, what rights the employer is trying to take away, and how the team is planning to fight for a better LCBO.
All members who have provided a contact number will receive a call in advance to let them know about these calls, and will then receive a call between 10 and 10:10 a.m., and between 7:30 and 7:40 p.m. If you miss the call or don’t receive the call, you can call into the discussion by dialing 1-877-229-8493 and entering ID Code: 112847.
What is a strike vote?
A strike vote does not mean we are going on strike, a strike vote just allows the employer to see that the members are behind the bargaining team.
A strong strike mandate often forces the Employer to negotiate seriously, it isn’t always necessary to follow through with the strike. The higher the turnout and the stronger the “yes” vote, the more power we have at the bargaining table – and the more likely we can avoid a strike.
Locations for the strike vote for our local are as follows. Please attend the date and location of your store. Phone in votes are only available to the list of stores on the phone list below.
Monday, April 24th, 2017 9:00am – 9:00pm
Best Western Hotel
17565 Yonge Street
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 9:00am – 9:00pm
Hilton Garden Inn
300 Commerce Valley Drive East
Due to the remoteness of many locations arrangements have been made for the above stores to call-in their vote. You will receive a letter in the mail with your phone vote instructions.
If you should have any questions, please email or call your local steward or OPSEU.
Steward Local 376
I attended this years OPSEU Convention on April 6-8, 2017.
This year was an election year and I am excited to announce that Warren “Smokey” Thomas was re-elected as our Union President and Eduardo “Eddy” Almeida was acclaimed as our Vice President/Treasurer.
Another exciting event was that our very own Executive Board Member, Sara Labelle was also re- elected as Second Vice President of OPSEU! This also ranks Sara as Highest Ranking Female at OPSEU giving her delegate status at many important union conventions such as the OFL and NUPGE! I am Happy and Proud for our sister Sara, Smokey and Eddy!
Local 376 currently has over 400 members. The OPSEU Constitution allows our local to have 3 delegates, 3 alternates and 3 observers to attend OPSEU events. These positions must be elected at a General Membership meeting.
Our current Local President, Evan Wickham, called a general membership meeting in January 2017 for elections for members to attend OPSEU Convention. When the general membership meeting was called, it was less that 3 weeks prior (as per our by-laws) and the meeting notice was not posted in the stores, and many members, including stewards were not advised.
A complaint was filed by several members of our local to the OPSEU’s Presidents office. The Presidents office deemed the General Membership meeting as being “unconstitutional” and against our “local by laws”.
OPSEU’s Presidents office contacted our local president, Evan Wickham, advising him to hold another meeting providing proper notice to the members. This did not happen and the result was only one delegate (the local president) was allowed to attend from our local.
OPSEU Convention is open to any OPSEU member in good standing but unless you are elected as a Delegate or Alternate at a local meeting, your expenses will not be paid, not even your time off. Since our local had a meeting that was deemed “unconstitutional” and no one was elected, anyone that attended SHOULD be doing so on their own time and expense.
I attended Convention this year on my own time and expense, and would do so again as Convention is an empowering union event.
I am not sure if any of you have been advised, but our local will be holding a General Membership Meeting on April 23, 2017. I have been told that many stores do not have meeting notices posted in their stores.
I do not know where the meeting will be held, as this information has yet to be disclosed to the members.
I URGE all of you to attend this meeting on April 23, 2017. I will advise you of the location as soon as the local president announces it.
It is in my opinion that there are questions that should be raised at the local meeting about receiving notices of meetings in an appropriate manor. Even if you do not want to attend, the ones that may be interested, have the right to know.
Steward Local 376
Calling on the employer to take negotiations seriously, the OPSEU bargaining team filed late Monday for conciliation. “This decision means that we’re asking for the help of a third party to move negotiations forward,” said Denise Davis, chair of the bargaining team. “It’s time this employer abandoned proposals that will only lead to a weakened LCBO, and recognized that our plan offers a way to improve it instead.” Conciliation is covered under the Labour Relations Act, and means that the Ministry of Labour is being asked to appoint a neutral third party, who will work with both sides to help them reach a deal. “We’re hopeful that with the assistance of a neutral third party, we can find a way to reach a deal that will build a better LCBO,” added Davis. “If we can’t, however, this employer needs to know that workers won’t stand quietly by while management destroys something so important to our province.” While the team waits for a conciliation officer to be appointed, talks will continue until Wednesday this week, and then from Monday to Thursday next week.
An information picket at an LCBO in North Bay on Saturday saw strong support from the public and the local MPP for keeping the LCBO public. Hundreds of people signed postcards asking Premier Wynne to stop her back-door privatization of the LCBO, reminding her that this was nowhere to be found in her last election platform. Shoppers voiced their support for the important role the LCBO plays in paying for public services, from teachers and nurses to highways and seniors’ care. Others spoke up about their concern over the presence of beer and wine in grocery stores where families shop, calling the decision to expand and privatize alcohol sales the wrong one for the province. Including this one in North Bay, OPSEU members who work at the LCBO have now held 22 information pickets. Look for information about future pickets online at www.SavetheLCBO.ca.
If you don’t fill out a Form B, you won’t receive strike pay. While the bargaining team is committed to bargaining for a deal, not a strike, the reality is that we face an employer that seems unwilling to be reasonable. We have to make sure we’re ready, and we want to make sure that if we do end up on the picket line, no one is missing out on their strike pay because we don’t have a form for them. Where are these forms? Mobilizers are visiting stores with them, and a copy can be found on the bargaining website at www.opseu.org/LBEDbargaining. If you have questions about the form, please email us directly at LBEDbargaining@opseu.org so we can get you an answer. You should also make sure that OPSEU has your current contact information so that important updates can be provided to you. You can update your information on the member portal, or by calling your regional office or local steward.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – 4:30pm
“It’s clear this employer isn’t really interested in reaching an agreement,” said Denise Davis, chair of the Liquor Board Employees Division bargaining team. “We see this in the LCBO’s attempts to go around the negotiating table and change terms and working conditions through arbitration, the slash and burn bargaining proposals that threaten members’ job security, and on-going attempts to privatize our work.”
The bargaining team called the LCBO’s actions in the “equal pay for equal work” arbitration case the “final straw.” The team has no choice but to ask for a strong strike vote as they return to the table on April 3 with an employer “that shows no respect for workers.”
“A strong strike vote will serve as a wakeup call to the LCBO,” added Davis. “It will tell the LCBO’s senior management that, unless they get serious about bargaining, they’ll have to explain to the Premier why picket lines have replaced checkout lines at stores across Ontario.”
“The LCBO seems to think they can treat our members however they want,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “I can tell you that based on what I’ve heard from members, LCBO management is in for a real surprise when they find out just how upset members really are.
“And I’m as upset as they are. The proposals management has put forward are an attempt to rip huge holes in your collective agreement. And the way the LCBO has tried to squeeze co-workers to cover the cost of providing their colleagues with basic rights is just plain wrong.
“Now what happens next is up to you. Your team needs a strong vote from members across the province to give them the strength they need to go back to the table and push back against this employer’s outrageous proposals. I can promise you that your entire union is standing behind you. When you take on this fight, you’ll do so with the support of all 130,000 members of OPSEU. You’ll never stand alone.”
The strike vote will be held on April 24 and 25, at locations across the province. While locations are still being finalized, a full list will be provided in a future bulletin. As in past rounds, telephone voting will be available for those not close to a voting location.
The employer’s demands are all about stripping away rights that previous generations of workers fought for and giving managers more control over your work. Not only that, these demands strip out the protections against the privatization of the LCBO, and slash compensation for workers if privatization costs them their jobs.
If we let them take what they want, we’ll all pay the price. Workers will lose their jobs, morale will take a hit, and work-life balance will suffer for those who are left. On top of that, Ontarians will stand to lose vital public services as the LCBO is hollowed out.
While the LCBO’s non-monetary proposals, and the union’s, are described in detail in the March 6 Bargaining Bulletin, the key issues facing us right now are summarized below.
From what we’ve seen at the table, the LCBO is sending a pretty clear signal that no one’s job is safe.
The LCBO bargaining team has proposed ripping up the letter of agreement that stops the employer from contracting out work that’s done by bargaining unit members if it would result in the layoff of a permanent full-time employee. Without that protection, the LCBO could hand the work of any division over to a private contractor, and cut the jobs of everyone in that division. That letter protects jobs – without it, no one’s job will be safe.
Not only are jobs at risk, but the LCBO is also trying to make it cheaper to cut them. The LCBO has proposed changes to the number of years that count when calculating severance to only include the years worked as a permanent employee. Given how many years it can take a casual to work their way up to a permanent position, this would mean the loss of a significant part of the severance that laid-off workers have the right to right now.
We are worried about the future of the LCBO itself. There are the changes to contracting out language and severance provisions mentioned above that make it cheaper and easier for the LCBO to privatize parts of the organization. On top of that, we are highly concerned about the growth of alcohol sales by private retailers and the signals we’re getting from the employer about its interest in expanding the agency store program.
Ontario needs the LCBO. The profits from LCBO sales help pay for teachers in Cornwall, MRIs in Timmins, highways in Simcoe County, hospitals in Thunder Bay, child care spaces in Toronto, Western University in London, Mohawk College in Hamilton, and more. If we give up those profits, we have two options – either pay more in taxes, or cut important public services.
LCBO management should be standing with us, making this argument about the important role the LCBO plays. But from the proposals we’ve seen, it seems like management is instead looking to pave the way for their government shareholder to continue its back-door privatization.
In front of the arbitrator, the LCBO argued that they wanted relief from the restrictions in the collective agreement about where and how they can open new agency stores. Management also argued that there shouldn’t be a cap on the number of agency stores, leaving the door wide open to a rapid expansion of this program that just would funnel more public revenue into private pockets.
At the same time, the government continues with the rapid privatization and expansion of alcohol sales with increases to the number of grocery stores selling beer, cider, and wine.
This just confirms what we’ve been saying all along. This round is really about the future of the LCBO as an important public asset that the people of Ontario rely on. It’s as simple as that.
The LCBO has wanted to make Sunday a regular day of work for years. They knew that if they tried to come after it in bargaining, the members would have fought them on it. Now the LCBO has found a way to push its agenda through the arbitrator’s award on the “equal pay for equal work” complaint.
The good news is, we can fight back. Even the arbitrator was forced to admit that nothing in his award stops the union from fighting any of his changes through the bargaining process. That means that we can take it on and send a firm signal to the employer that we won’t accept these types of attempts to force these changes on members without them having a say at the table.
But the Sunday scheduling changes are just the tip of the iceberg.
The LCBO’s proposals on schedules would make life harder for every worker, full-time or casual, while minimizing the benefits of seniority. Management wants to strip the existing regular shift schedules out of the collective agreement and give managers the ability to pick whatever start and end times they choose, all in the name of “flexibility.” For the sake of that flexibility, the LCBO is willing to sacrifice your time with your family, your work-life balance, and any ability to predict more than a few weeks out what days, and even what times of day, you might be working.
If the LCBO gets what it wants on this, it will make life even worse for casuals by reducing the number of hours they get, as we’re already seeing in the new seven-day-a-week retail schedules.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
While the LCBO is focused on what they can rip out of the agreement, and how they can make the LCBO a weaker, and meaner place to work, we have a different vision.
We want to improve working conditions and build a stronger and better LCBO – and we have a plan to do just that.
A better LCBO starts with stopping privatization. Ontarians have already lost too much to privatization. The Liberal government is giving up on as much as $500 million a year by privatizing Hydro One. The previous Conservative government cost us $1 billion a year when they privatized Highway 407. And the Auditor-General recently reported that private contractors charged the province more than $8 billion too much for P3 infrastructure projects.
We can’t afford to let the government repeat these mistakes with the LCBO. With the support of members, we’ll keep fighting for anti-privatization language that says the government can’t move ahead with privatizing the LCBO without the public’s okay. We think the public should have the say they didn’t have on Hydro One.
A better LCBO also means job security protections for workers. We’ll fight to keep protections against contracting out the work of our members, and to ensure that anyone who does lose their job gets the severance that they’re entitled to, based on the years they’ve put into working for the company. Not only will we stop their attempts to make job security worse, but we’ll also make improvements, by ensuring that members facing layoff have the right to look outside their geographic area, if they choose, instead of being forced into a lower classification.
A better LCBO means unionized LCBO workers doing LCBO work. If there is work to be done, it should be assigned to OPSEU members who work at the LCBO. This means no more non-union staffing agency workers in the warehouses, and no more fixed term positions in the retail stores or logistics.
And a better LCBO means changes to scheduling that respect the work week, days off, and set schedules so that workers have shifts they can plan their lives around. It also means requiring the employer to schedule hours to the maximum available, so that casuals can get enough hours in a week to make a decent living. Casuals are tired of watching what could be an eight-hour shift get split up into two- or five-hour shifts spread out amongst multiple staff, none of whom get enough hours to get by on. Far too many casuals have no choice but to work seven days a week, just to scrape by.
Members from across the province came to Toronto last week for a successful lobby day at Queen’s Park. They came armed with strong arguments about the value of the LCBO to Ontarians, and met with 29 MPPs from across party lines over the course of the day. Members took a clear message to MPPs that it’s time to stop the privatization and expansion of alcohol sales, and figure out the consequences of the privatization that’s already occurred. Many MPPs from all parties were concerned about what they were hearing and agreed with members about the need to protect this important public asset.
After a well-attended breakfast put on by the division, the LBED Anti-Privatization Committee, joined by MPP Peter Tabuns, delivered 3,000 post-cards to the Premier’s office. The postcards asked the Premier not to privatize the LCBO, and were collected at 22 information pickets held by locals across the province. As the next step in the union’s campaign to save the LCBO, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and LBED Chair Denise Davis held a press conference to launch the union’s new “SHOP LCBO” campaign, encouraging Ontarians to choose to buy their beer, cider, and wine from the LCBO, where the profits fund important public services.
(See pictures from the rally in the print copy of the bulletin, a link to which can be found at the bottom of this page)
As part of the preparation for a possible strike, members should all be filling out a Form B to ensure they receive their strike pay. Mobilizers are visiting stores with these forms, and a copy can be found on the bargaining website at www.opseu.org/LBEDbargaining
In collective bargaining, power comes from the support of union members. Experience has shown that employers move at the bargaining table when members take action inside and outside the workplace. To help build that power, OPSEU has booked off 15 mobilizers, elected by LBED members at your Pre-Bargaining Conference in April 2016. These mobilizers, who are your co-workers at the LCBO, are on union leave, starting Monday, February 27. They will work to build support for your elected bargaining team and the bargaining priorities you selected during demand-setting.
Michael Peris (Mar. 24 – Apr. 4, filling in for David Holmes)
The OPSEU bargaining team for the Liquor Board Employees Division consists of five members:
Denise Davis, Chair, Local 378
Colleen MacLeod, Vice-Chair, Local 5107
Jennifer Van Zetten, Local 162
Robin Reath, Local 163
Mark Larocque, Local 499
The bargaining team is assisted by OPSEU Negotiator Jeff Weston, Researcher Steve Crossman, and other assigned staff.
Contact us by email at LBEDbargaining@opseu.org
You can receive this bargaining bulletin (and our regular newsletter, the Echo) directly by e-mail. Just call OPSEU at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888, and give the operator your name and e-mail address.
You can also watch for updates on the OPSEU website at www.opseu.org/LBEDbargaining. And be sure to attend upcoming bargaining information meetings in your area.
Smokey Thomas put it best today !
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – 3:15pm
Toronto – The Premier of Ontario needs to clear up the confusion around how she views human rights, especially the right of workers to receive equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says.
At a news conference today, Warren (Smokey) Thomas said a recent arbitration award at the LCBO that stripped certain collective agreement provisions to offset the cost of equal pay for equal work was “a blatant violation of the most basic principle of human rights.
“The whole point of human rights is that they are rights,” he said. “You don’t have to pay for them.”
Thomas said the recent arbitration award came after the LCBO put forward a list of concessions designed to cover the cost of providing equal pay to workers in the female-dominated casual Customer Service Representative classification.
“Equal pay is supposed to mean raising the bar for those not receiving fair wages, not lowering the standards and working conditions of their co-workers,” Thomas said. “This idea of horse-trading for rights seems to be what the LCBO thinks Premier Wynne is looking for. So we need to know: is LCBO management wrong, or did the Premier or her ministers direct them to find a way to make LCBO workers pay to have a human right recognized?
“Right now my members are confused about where the Premier actually stands.”
Thomas said LCBO workers are angry about the concessions and are looking at their options. “These workers will be in a legal strike position before long. If the LCBO pushes ahead with implementing this, we’ll be looking at every option open to us, up to and including withdrawing our work.”
OPSEU represents 7,500 workers at the Crown agency. Their collective agreement expires March 31, 2017.
“We’re just not accepting that in 2017 workers should have to trade away anything to get something as fundamental as paying women the same as men for doing the same job.”