Striking LCBO workers express concerns over ‘lack of bargaining’ at union townhall

  [[{“value”:”Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members on strike voiced concerns to union management at a virtual town hall Wednesday night, including some saying they were “growing frustrated at the lack of bargaining,” according to a transcript obtained by 680 NewsRadio. “You guys need to get back to the table,” said one union participant, to
The post Striking LCBO workers express concerns over ‘lack of bargaining’ at union townhall first appeared on Panamá-Canadá.”}]][[{“value”:”

 Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members on strike voiced concerns to union management at a virtual town hall Wednesday night, including some saying they were “growing frustrated at the lack of bargaining,” according to a transcript obtained by 680 NewsRadio. “You guys need to get back to the table,” said one union participant, to [[{“value”:”

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members on strike voiced concerns to union management at a virtual town hall Wednesday night, including some saying they were “growing frustrated at the lack of bargaining,” according to a transcript obtained by 680 NewsRadio.

“You guys need to get back to the table,” said one union participant, to which union management replied, “We want to be back at the table. Unfortunately, Doug [Ford] is not ready to offer us a fair deal.”

Several employees asked throughout the meeting when they would get the chance to vote on LCBO management’s last offer.

“When do we, as a whole union, get to vote on the contract? Some of the proposals put forward by the company were not terrible,” said one member. “But OPSEU officials responded by saying that “There is no contract yet to vote on.”

“Ford is lying about the LCBO’s offer,” one union representative said. “We didn’t walk away from the table — the LCBO told us not to come back unless we were willing to give up on our core demands that included job security and growing the LCBO to meet demand and improve convenience.”

Questions about ready-to-drink cocktails

Union members quizzed OPSEU leaders at the town hall on Premier Ford’s comments Wednesday regarding the ready-to-drink liquor cocktails (RTDs) that the government plans to start allowing convenience and grocery stores to sell starting in September.

Dropping that plan was a key union demand, but Ford said he was not going to budge on it.

“If they want to negotiate over [ready-to-drink beverages], the deal’s off. I’m going to repeat that: that ship has sailed,” he said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford gestures to a display of alcohol at an announcement saying the province is speeding up the expansion of alcohol sales in Toronto on Friday, May 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov.

“How long can we expect not to be working if Doug Ford is not changing his stance on the RTD matter?” asked one union member at the town hall, to which OPSEU management replied, “How long did it take to roll back the Greenbelt?”

Union leadership said they felt Ford’s comments meant union pressure was working.

“He’s never done so much press and so much work to try to divide union members. He’s feeling the pressure.”

Colleen MacLeod, chair of the union’s LCBO bargaining unit, told 680 NewsRadio on Wednesday that they’re willing to discuss it when asked if a deal can be had with RTDs off the table.

Delays to wholesale

The union confirmed during the town hall that its pickets are slowing truck traffic out of LCBO warehouses and depots.

“Union members are holding and delaying trucks in multiple places and slowing down the LCBO’s operations to put pressure on them to come back to the table,” OPSEU said on Wednesday night.

Grocery stores, wine shops, bars, and restaurants are experiencing an irregular supply of alcohol due to OPSEU pickets. LCBO management said Wednesday that “our selection of inventory ebbs and flows as we continue to navigate products in and out of our warehouses.”

When will talks resume?

Throughout the meeting, union leadership expressed willingness to return to the table but said “We have been given no indication that the employer wants to come back to the table and address our core demands in any meaningful way. There was no commitment to job security or the future of the LCBO. The team will return to the table as soon as there is interest in addressing these core issues.”

Earlier on Thursday, the LCBO issued a statement suggesting leaders were confused about OPSEU’s bargaining preferences regarding ready-to-drink beverages after the union claimed that the strike is more about Premier Ford’s plans to expand alcohol sales to convenience and grocery stores rather than wages.

LCBO said officials are ready to talk about job security, wages and benefits.

“If OPSEU is now prepared to agree that ready-to-drink beverages are a matter of public policy and not something that should be discussed as part of bargaining, we strongly encourage them to respond to our July 4 offer,” the statement continues.

“We are at the table, ready for active negotiations to restart today.”

With files from Lucas Casaletto of CityNews

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The post Striking LCBO workers express concerns over ‘lack of bargaining’ at union townhall first appeared on Panamá-Canadá.

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