Connect with us


All LCBO stores could close Friday as strike deadline approaches | CBC News



All LCBO stores could close Friday as strike deadline approaches | CBC News

The union representing workers at Ontario’s main liquor retailer says the two sides remain far apart ahead of a strike deadline.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Friday for its approximately 10,000 workers at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

The union is bringing a hefty strike mandate to the bargaining table, with members voting 97 per cent in favour of job action if a deal isn’t reached. 

A union spokesperson says they are committed to bargaining a good deal for workers, but they expect it will be a long day.

The workers are seeking wage increases and more full-time jobs, saying part-time roles have become 70 per cent of their workforce.

The union is also fearful of job losses after Premier Doug Ford’s government announced plans to open up the alcohol market to allow convenience stores and all grocery stores to sell beer, wine and ready-to-drink cocktails.

“LCBO workers don’t want a dry summer. We have put forward a plan that would grow the LCBO to meet demand and increase convenience, to expand public revenues, and to support jobs at the LCBO and in our communities,” the union said in an email statement Wednesday.

“But Doug Ford wants to hand more of the $2.5 billion in public revenues generated by the LCBO over to the CEOs and big box grocery and convenience chains, like Loblaws and Circle K.”

WATCH | LCBO workers have never gone on strike before. Here’s why that could change: 

LCBO workers have never gone on strike before. Here’s why that could change

The LCBO and its unionized workers are in contract talks ahead of the strike deadline on July 5. There has never been a strike in the history of the provincial liquor store, but as CBC’s Mike Crawley reports, this could change.

The LCBO has said that if a strike takes place, all locations will close for 14 days and after that point, if the strike continues, the Crown corporation will open 30 stores three days a week with limited hours.

The corporation says its website and app will continue to accept orders for free home delivery for the duration of a possible strike, but there would be “reasonable caps” on products both in store and online.

‘Unnecessary’ strike threatens summer enjoyment: minister’s office 

A spokesperson for Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said it’s “disappointing” the union could be heading to an “unnecessary strike that threatens people’s ability to enjoy their summers.”

“It’s never been more clear that Ontario consumers need and deserve the same choice and convenience every other Canadian enjoys,” Bethlenfalvy’s press secretary wrote in a statement.

“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.”

LCBO stores have expanded their hours in the days ahead of the strike, with all stores in the province opening early at 9:30 a.m. and many stores staying open until 10 p.m.

Over the years, unionized LCBO workers have always been able to get a deal without walking off the job, even when they’ve voted strongly in favour of a strike. 

LCBO workers voted to strike in 200520092013 and 2017, yet reached agreement on a contract without a strike in every one of those rounds of bargaining. 

Continue Reading