Equal pay for equal work finally a reality for LCBO retail workers

“The LCBO has discriminated against workers in its largest female-dominated job classification for decades, and now that is coming to an end. It is a huge step forward for these precarious workers and their families.” — Denise Davis, Chair, OPSEU's Liquor Board Employees Division

Toronto (15 Feb. 2017) — A historic arbitration award affirming the right to equal pay for equal work will boost the wages of thousands of casual workers at the LCBO, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) says.

LCBO's discrimination against casual workers ends with arbitration ruling

The union, which represents more than 7,500 LCBO workers, filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in 2013, arguing that the LCBO’s pay structure discriminated against retail workers in the female-dominated “casual” classification. Now, a February 10, 2017, arbitration award creates a single wage grid for both full-time and casual retail workers. 84 per cent of Customer Service Representatives (CSR) are classified as casual. The new grid will mean an average increase of 9.5 per cent for 75 per cent of those casual CSRs, along with an improved guarantee of hours of work and the creation of 200 new full-time jobs.

“This award corrects a historic wrong,” said Denise Davis, Chair of OPSEU’s Liquor Board Employees Division. “The LCBO has discriminated against workers in its largest female-dominated job classification for decades, and now that is coming to an end. It is a huge step forward for these precarious workers and their families.”

But Davis said the union was “extremely disappointed” that the arbitrator’s award eliminated Sunday shift premiums for retail workers. “Unfortunately the LCBO used the need to fix discrimination as a chance to push for concessions,” she said. “Our bargaining team was firm in resisting this, and in the end the arbitrator gave the employer only some of what they asked for, while setting new limits on their agency store program.”

Changing Workplaces Review is opportunity to eliminate other discriminatory acts against part-time, casual workers and workers faced with precarious work

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President congratulated the union’s bargaining team on its work and called on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to bring in stronger employment standards legislation to make equal pay for equal work a reality in all Ontario workplaces.

“This is 2017 — equal pay for equal work should be the norm, not something that workers have to fight for,” he said. “In this case, however, these workers did fight, and I’m proud of the stand they took. While we have yet to achieve all that is fair, we’ve certainly moved the yardsticks.

“The reality is that employers have devised a number of ways to discriminate against part-time, temporary, precarious workers, whether they are female or male. The Premier’s Changing Workplaces Review presents an opportunity to fix that, and working people everywhere are hoping she will.”


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE

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