MGEU Liquor and Gaming Authority members vote to strike

MGEU members at LGA have "reached the limit of what they’re willing to accept and knew they had only one choice moving forward: give their bargaining committee a strong strike mandate." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (12 June 2015) — Members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) who work at the Manitoba Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) voted 92 per cent in favour of possible strike action in the ongoing negotiation toward a new contract.

Workers at the Manitoba Liquor and Gaming Authority were told by their employer that no one would lose anything as a result of the recent merger, but it became clear to the LGA bargaining committee that was incorrect. As a result, the bargaining committee asked the members to take a strike vote.

LGA proposal contradict reassurances that workers would maintain benefits and wages

“Without getting into specifics that would constitute bargaining in the media, the LGA is looking to roll back health benefits for these employees, while putting a substandard wage proposal on the table. The members have been exceedingly patient with the employer as the merger has been proceeding, and have lent their knowledge and expertise to ensuring it went well.  Now they’ve reached the limit of what they’re willing to accept and knew they had only one choice moving forward: give their bargaining committee a strong strike mandate,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky.

A strike mandate does not always mean a strike will follow; it means authority is given to the bargaining committee to establish a strike date if no agreement is reached on a new contract in a reasonable time frame.

The bargaining committee’s main priority is to remain at the bargaining table until a fair agreement can be bargained in earnest.

What do workers at the LGA do?

The MGEU/NUPGE members at the LGA provide liquor licenses to both bars and restaurants as well as casual licenses for things like wedding socials and fundraisers. They enforce liquor laws of the province at establishments but also in the community when functions take place where liquor is sold. In addition, they provide gaming licenses for events like raffles and fundraisers. They enforce fair gaming, which involves things such as investigating complaints about gaming operations and ensuring the integrity of lotteries and raffles in Manitoba. 

What happens if liquor and gaming workers strike? What’s at stake?

Safety is a big part of what this department oversees. So if a liquor inspector isn’t in the community where alcohol is served, no one is checking for over-serving, capacity issues, or serving alcohol to minors. 

Manitobans will also want the assurance that if a liquor license is being sought, for example, that it is being processed by someone with experience to know if there is an issue or concern that may affect safety. 

Those people looking to host a social or wedding, or sponsor a raffle, contest, or lottery would be affected because the applications for these things would not be processed. In addition, no one wants a delay if a day care or child care centre wants a license to fund raise for new equipment or a new play structure, but this too could be affected.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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