"These workers weren’t about to accept that. Instead, this bargaining team took on the challenge of not just limiting the growth of casual positions, but actually pushing back and demanding an increase in the number of good, full-time jobs." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (20 July 2017) — A new collective agreement that puts a ground-breaking hard cap on the percentage of precarious workers has been narrowly ratified by Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) members at the LCBO.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, congratulated members on their new agreement, and thanked the bargaining team for the hard work that went into making this deal a reality.
OPSEU/NUPGE members demanded increased number of good jobs, not more precarity
“If you read the news, the growth of precarious work is far too often seen as simply the new reality,” said Thomas. “But these workers weren’t about to accept that. Instead, this bargaining team took on the challenge of not just limiting the growth of casual positions, but actually pushing back and demanding an increase in the number of good, full-time jobs."
“Tonight's ratification vote of 56 per cent in favour is a clear signal that there is still work to do to improve labour relations at the LCBO. This is a Crown agency that creates revenue for services Ontarians need. It should serve as an example of how we expect employers to act in our province. Though obviously contentious, this deal sends a clear message: workers can win when they stand together to push back against precarious work and demand better," said Thomas.
Currently, 84 per cent of LCBO retail workers are in casual positions. The new agreement sets a cap that no more than 70 per cent of retail positions can be casual, and commits the LCBO to reaching that point within the 4-year term.
Contract to improve lives of thousands of workers
The deal will also increase job security, improve scheduling, and bring an end to the LCBO’s practice of scheduling workers for 2-hour shifts.
Denise Davis, OPSEU bargaining team chair, thanked the members for the support they showed the team during negotiations, and credited the deal at the bargaining table to the efforts of members from across the province.
“We went to the table with a plan for a better LCBO,” said Davis. “It was a struggle from day one. But what made that plan a reality was the work done by members in their own communities to build public support for our proposals." OPSEU/NUPGE members campaigned in their communities, held rallies and spoke with customers about the working conditions at the LCBO, and their proposals to improve the Crown corporation.
Davis continued, “At the end of the day, this deal will improve the lives of thousands of workers. It has put the issue of precarious work on the political radar. And that’s all thanks to the members who worked tirelessly over the past months to make it possible,"
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