Bargaining Bulletin # 9 – Concilliation



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.

Hundreds join call to keep LCBO public

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

Why is it so important to fill out a Form B?

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 If you have questions about the form, please email us directly at 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.


Human Rights should NOT be something we pay for!

Smokey Thomas put it best today !

Premier needs to ‘walk the talk’ on equal pay for equal work

Publication Date

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.”

Bargaining – 2016/2017 Updates

Implementation award
Before: William Kaplan, Sole Arbitrator
For the LCBO: Paul Boniferro
McCarthy Tetrault
Barristers & Solicitors

For OPSEU: Don Eady
Paliare Roland
Barristers & Solicitors
Jodi Martin
Paliare Roland
Barristers & Solicitors

The matters in dispute proceeded to a hearing in Toronto on March 21, 2017.


On February 10, 2017, an award was issued. That award must be placed in context. It was issued following a lengthy and complicated mediation/arbitration. That mediation

arbitration arose following the settlement of an HRTO complaint on the eve of its hearing. The award sought to carefully balance the competing interests of the parties. In

the aftermath of the issue of that award, two implementation issues arose. The parties had specifically requested that I remain seized to deal with any implementation dispute, and that dispute proceeded to a hearing held in Toronto on March 21, 2017.The Issues The parties sought clarification on two issues, it being agreed at the hearing that a third one – whether the Sunday premium had been eliminated for all retail employees – had been resolved. The Sunday premium was eliminated for all retail employees. With respect to the remaining two issues, both parties made detailed submissions, all of which have been carefully considered.The AwardThe award provided the following:

Sunday Premium

Eliminated effective April 1, 2017 for PFT CSRs and Retail POS/Help Desk employees. Parties directed to amend Article 7 of the collective agreement so as to provide that PFT CSRs and

Retail POS/Help Desk employees working on Sundays will be scheduled on a rotational basis so that no one in either of these groups will work more than one (1) Sunday in every four (4) to a maximum of thirteen (13) in a fiscal year. Moreover, no PFT CSR or Retail POS/Help Desk employee will be scheduled to work a Sunday directly following a Saturday that is their regular scheduled day off. A PFT will have two (2) consecutive scheduled days off in the week they work a Sunday.Agency Stores

Effective date of award, and notwithstanding LOU re Agency Stores, for every agency store that is repatriated the employer may open a new agency store.

Issue One

Whether Sunday was now to be scheduled as a regular day of work As noted above, the Sunday premium was eliminated for all retail employees effective April 1, 2017. Prior to that date, approximately twenty percent of the full-time employees worked on Sunday and enjoyed the premium. The award, therefore, introduced scheduling protections for full-time employees. The award remitted the actual negotiation of those new scheduling provisions to the parties so that they could agree on them, and on consequential amendments to the collective agreement. The only reason the protections were introduced was because Sunday was to become, with the

elimination of the premium, a regular workday. The parties were directed to amend Article 7 to give effect to the fact that the regular workweek is now Sunday through Saturday and to incorporate the newly awarded protections. Unfortunately, a dispute arose and I am confirming what was set out in the earlier award. Sunday is, with the elimination of th premium, a regular workday for all retail employees. The union’s submissions on this point, if accepted, would have almost

completely negated the impact of the change rendering it almost meaningless. As Sunday is now a regular workday, Sunday work is not, and cannot, be voluntary. Sunday is the third busiest day of the week and the employer sought as its main priority in the mediation/arbitration that it be treated as a regular work day allowing it to schedule a mix of employees without attracting any premium (other than overtime where appropriate). The award then introduced protections for full-time employees  who were losing an important benefit because of that change. The award is a simple and straightforward as that. As earlier observed, although it bears repeating, the awarded provision was the result of an extended mediation/arbitration process and it was one that sought to carefully calibrate the outcome. The employer’s proposed collective agreement provisions

dealing with this issue only, as set out in its brief submitted at the March 21st hearing, are, therefore, awarded as either necessary to give effect to the award, or because they

are made necessary for housekeeping, or because deletions are now necessary because certain provisions have become moot, for example the Letter of Agreement – Sunday

Openings. This in no way amends or supplements the award: it gives direct effect to it. The parties could have and should have done so themselves (including necessary

housekeeping changes) as a result of the direction given in the initial award. This award merely implements that direction. As discussed at the hearing, nothing in this award

affects overtime provisions as they are otherwise engaged.Issue Two

Impact of the awarded provision on existing Letter of Agreement Re: Agency Stores

The award could not be more clear. It indicates that notwithstanding the provisions of the Letter of Agreement Re: Agency Stores, the employer can open a new agency store if it repatriates an existing agency store. This is an entitlement separate and apart from what is set out in the Letter of Agreement Re: Agency Stores. The purpose of the

provision was to provide additional relief not to circumscribe what was already in place, and to do so in an extremely modest, digestible and fair-minded fashion. The

Letter of Agreement Re: Agency Stores, with all of its many protections for the union, and restrictions on the employer, continues. The parties are, accordingly, directed to

incorporate the specific language of the award in a separate Letter of Agreement Re:

Repatriation and to include it in their collective agreement.

It was agreed at the hearing, and at the request of the parties memorialized here, that nothing in this award in any way affects the ability and entitlement of either party to make bargaining proposals in the current round. At the request of the parties, I continue to remain seized with respect to the implementation of my award.

DATED at Toronto this 27th day of March 2017.
“William Kaplan”
William Kaplan, Sole Arbitrator
2017 CanLII 15903 (ON LA)

2017canlii – Clarification of award



Day One of Bargaining – January 21, 2017

Day One of Bargaining


Publication Date

Friday, December 16, 2016 – 4:15pm

Information for OPSEU members in the Liquor Board Employees Division – Issue #1 – December 19, 2016

Get ready to bargain!

This year was a busy one for OPSEU members at the LCBO. The New Year will be even busier!

The OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) has been hard at work in 2016, delivering a strong campaign against the privatization of our work. But as we turn the corner into 2017, it’s time to make way for contract negotiations between the LCBO and your OPSEU bargaining team. Our collective agreement expires on March 31, 2017.

“We’ve already spent months getting ready to bargain,” says Denise Davis, chair of the LBED bargaining team. “We’ve elected our bargaining team, we’ve set our demands, and we’ve started laying the foundation for our next contract.

“We are well under way, but this is just the beginning of a long journey.”

Human rights talks come first

Bargaining in this round will officially begin on February 20, 2017. But before it does, the LCBO and OPSEU must iron out the details of an historic agreement reached November 1 to settle a major human rights complaint.

As a result of that agreement, customer service representatives (CSRs) working as casuals in LCBO stores and depots will soon be placed on a new wage grid. This new grid will allow them to reach the same top pay rate earned by permanent part-time and permanent full-time CSRs. This settlement represents a huge victory for more than 4,000 casual CSRs.

In November, the parties agreed to several things:

  • All CSRs – casual, permanent part-time, and permanent full-time – will be on the same pay grid.
  • All the details of the new pay grid will be negotiated between OPSEU and the LCBO.
  • If OPSEU and the LCBO cannot agree, all outstanding issues will be decided by arbitrator William Kaplan, and his decisions will be legally binding on both parties.
  • No CSR will see her or his pay go down as a result of the settlement.

Negotiations are currently under way, and the outstanding issues will be decided before bargaining of the new collective agreement begins. The parties have agreed to a “blackout” on these talks. Neither of the LCBO and OPSEU will be releasing details until a final settlement is reached, either through negotiations or by order of the arbitrator.

For more details of the November 1 agreement, read our Q&A.

Bargaining kicks off February 20

So far, OPSEU and the LCBO have agreed to 17 dates for negotiations: February 20-24, March 6-10, April 3-5, and April 10-13.

The OPSEU bargaining team is optimistic about this round, says bargaining team Chair Denise Davis.

“This is our round,” she said. “The fight against Premier Wynne’s privatization agenda is sweeping across the province, and has been taken up by folks all over. And the progress we’ve already made on equal pay for equal work gives us more room to focus on other key issues like job security, wages, benefits, and hours of work.”

Meet your bargaining team

The OPSEU bargaining 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.

Meet your mobilizers

OPSEU mobilizers are your co-workers at the LCBO. Their job is to help keep you informed of what happens at the bargaining table, and how you can support the bargaining team as they work to get you the best collective agreement possible. LBED members have elected mobilizers in each of the seven OPSEU regions:

Guy Jeremschuk, Local 162

Bonnie Jolley, Local 284

Tracy Vyfschaft, Local 377

Dianne Perry, Local 497

Craig Hadley, Local 5109

Amanda Pellerin, Local 682

Rob Mithrush, Local 741

Stay informed!

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 And be sure to attend upcoming bargaining information meetings in your area.

EAP Hotline: 1-800-263-1401

The LCBO Employee Assistance Program is a confidential, hassle-free counseling service for eligible LCBO employees and their immediate families. For assistance, call 1-800-263-1401.

Your 2017 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:

Denise Davis, Chair, Liquor Board Employees Division

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU



November 5, 2017

There was a Final Demand set meeting at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. There were 3 Delegates (including the local president) that attended on behalf of our local.

The delegates are yet to share the information from the meeting with the local. There was information regarding the Provincial top ten bargaining demands for our next round of bargaining

Updated:December 16,2016


On October 30, 2017, OPSEU called a General Membership Meeting. We are still waiting for minutes from the Local Secretary and Local President.


Call out letter sent to all local Presidents September 17, 2017



Demand Setting Fact Sheets


The day the middle class died!!

I have to share this story. It is so true and really hits home for me.

Here is the link  written by Michael Moore

And here is the story….

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they’ve succeeded.

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only two unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?

Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started — a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.

Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:

* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.

* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here’s your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.

* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help — or not.

* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can’t leave now, we’re not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.

* You want to go to college? No problem — just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!

* What’s “a raise”? Get back to work and shut up!

And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help:


The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that’s just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers — they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.

Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.

And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything — and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn’t accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.

And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The “masses” did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.

I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, “Give those controllers their jobs back or we’re shutting the country down!”? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.

But we didn’t do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we’re now suffering with had it’s beginning in 1981 (here’s a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).

It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?

Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party — we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they’ve done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.

When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street’s plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?

Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?

P.S. Here are a few places you can connect with to get the ball rolling:



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In Solidarity

Maria Bauer