Good wages for workers are good for business | National Union of Public and General Employees

Good wages for workers are good for business

'When working people do well, business does well.' - LCBO.

Toronto (9 April 2009) - Employees of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) have something they want to say to business owners across the province - "When working people do well, business does well."

The Liquor Board Employees Division of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), which represents the workers, says it's a message the public should hear often from LCBO workers as they try to negotiate a new contract with the highly-profitable government agency.

“With a recession on, our communities need good jobs more than ever, and that’s what this round of bargaining is all about,” says Vanda Klumper, chair of the union's bargaining team.

“Our goal is to protect the good permanent jobs our members have right now and create more good jobs for our casuals who are struggling," she says.

“The LCBO is in a position to create good jobs, and in this economic climate it has a responsibility to create good jobs. It’s what our families need, it’s what our communities need, and it’s what our province needs. That’s our message in a nutshell.”

Massive profits

For the year ending March 31, 2008, the LCB0 had net sales of $4.13 billion, including a profit (or dividend) of $1.35 billion transferred to the general revenues of the government of Ontario. It also collected $383 million in provincial sales tax during the year, and sent a further $458 million to Ottawa in federal sales tax (GST).

Over the past five years LCBO profits have totalled nearly $6 billion for the province. The agency operates at a profit margin of 48.9%. LCBO operating expenses as a percentage of net sales totalled only 16.1% during the 2007-08 year.

Part of OPSEU's challenge is to educate customers and the general public about work at the LCBO, Klumper says.

“Most people don’t realize that 60% of LCBO employees are casuals who make less than $20,800 a year on average,” she said.

“But our customers do understand that you can’t bring kids up properly on that income, you can’t live a decent life on that income. When they know the challenges our members are facing, they’ll support us. Our customers like us.”

Good jobs mean good communities

OPSEU says nothing supports local economies better than good jobs.

In a poll of 1,000 Canadians published by Vector Research in January, 95% of respondents agreed with the statement that “When working people do well, business does well.”

“Most people understand that the way to build communities is from the bottom up,” Klumper says. "When workers have good jobs, they spend money, and when they spend money they create more work and more jobs."

NUPGE

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

More information:
LCBO demands rollbacks despite huge profits

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