Liquor workers getting strong support from OPSEU

'Unfortunately we are bargaining with an employer that does not realize just how much has changed.' - Vanda Klumper.

Toronto (29 April 2009) - Ontario's liquor store workers are happy with the representation they are getting from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).

The former Ontario Liquor Boards Employees Union (OLBEU/NUPGE) joined OPSEU in 2005, becoming the Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) within OPSEU.

The division is currently engaged in a new round of contract bargaining with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Its members were given a standing ovation last week by delegates attending OPSEU's provincial convention.

“Liquor board members are really happy and frequently amazed at how bargaining has worked under OPSEU,” Vanda Klumper, bargaining chair for the division, told the convention.

“We have a democratically elected bargaining team. We have bargaining demands that were democratically debated and voted on by our members. We have direct and open communication between our members and the bargaining team, and vice versa. We have excellent professional staff who are actively supporting us. And we are well aware of the support we’ve received from our executive board members," Klumper said.

“Unfortunately we are bargaining with an employer that does not realize just how much has changed. Despite its enormous profits, the LCBO is determined to destroy good permanent jobs with benefits and replace them with temporary, casual, throwaway jobs with low wages, no benefits, no job security, and no way to support a family, purchase a home, or live a decent life."

Klumper said LCBO employees are "determined to make things better, not just for themselves, not just for their families, but for their communities and the entire province of Ontario.”

OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas gave full support to the division in its efforts to reach a new collective agreement.“I've said many times before that whatever our members in LBED need to make this round a success, you’ll have it,” Thomas pledged. “The executive board supports you, convention supports you, and all 120,000 members of OPSEU support you.”

Negotiations between OPSEU and the LCBO resumed this week with the assistance of a conciliator.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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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