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OPSEU visits Guelph to state its case for LCBO workers

Union holds information picket as it continues contract negotiations with province
20170524 lcbo ts
Judy Irving, president of OPSEU Local 288 from Halton, joined other OPSEU members at an information picket at the LCBO store on Speedvale Avenue Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

The union that represents LCBO workers brought its message to Guelph on Wednesday.

OPSEU is currently in the midst of contract negotiations with the provincial government, with more bargaining sessions planned for early June.

The union, which represents 7,500 workers in 640 stores, five warehouses and a head office, had representatives outside the LCBO outlet on Speedvale Avenue holding an information picket, handing out pamphlets and talking to customers.

Job security, worker safety, casual workers and what OPSEU calls the slow privatization of alcohol in Ontario are some of their main concerns.

Denise Davis, Chair of the OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division and Chair of the bargaining team, said the union needed to come out and start talking to people about those key issues.

"They don't claim it is privatization, which is just ridiculous," Davis said. "It's a slow, back door, piecemeal type of privatization. Start moving sales of the product to all these other locations.

"We want job security. We need to have that."

Davis said 84 per cent of LCBO unionized workers are part-time workers who make less than $30,000 a year.

"Everybody thinks that everyone is full time and they're not. Very few are."

Wednesday's information picket in Guelph was one of 49 the union is holding last week and this week. 

Chris Patterson, president of the local OPSEU local, said people need to be informed about what's going on.

"For the public, I don't think they're aware that in other provinces where you either have a public/private arrangement or a fully private arrangement, when the revenue starts disappearing from the government coffers it has to come from somewhere else," namely taxation, Patterson said.

"This isn't just something we're talking about, it's something that's already happening," Patterson said.

"It's privatization through the back door," he said.

Davis said OPSEU doesn't want to go on strike, it wants a contract.

"We all own the LCBO. You and I and every citizen in Ontario. We should all have a say if we are going to privatize this slowly to the Galen Westons and the WalMarts who will start taking those dividends and those profits," Davis said.



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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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