LCBO workers rally across province

Unionized workers supported their bargaining team in contract negotiations with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, held an information picket in the Glebe Friday.

An estimated 60% of the 6,700 members across the province are casual or part-time employees, said OPSEU spokesman Devon Ford, making wages and benefits key issues.

“We’re seeing entirely too many part-time jobs and not enough full-time careers,” said Ford.

Members want more stability and to be able to “go into a bank and get a loan or a mortgage.”

OPSEU Local 497 president Eric Davis of Kingston said he’s been a casual employee for six years, and works four hours a day, seven days a week.

“It is a financial burden because it makes it hard to find a second job,” said Davis.

Sticking it out doesn’t pay off either, since “it takes an average of 17 years in my area to get a full-time job. We’ve had people waiting 30,” said Davis.

Given the union workforce is seniority-based, “we advocate for a merit-based approach, so that might explain some of the disparity,” said LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor.

Casual versus full-time employees “speaks to our need to run the organization like a business,” MacGregor said, adding “no workforce is made up of completely full-time employees.”

LCBO workers recently voted 95% in favour of strike action should contract talks break down.

The employees’ contract with management expired on March 31.

There’s never been a strike at the LCBO, said MacGregor.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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