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2013 Bargaining Strike Vote News Alert 5

LBED Bargaining Bulletin, Strike Alert 5
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LCBO contract "offer" provides nothing for permanent, full-time staff

While the LCBO's so-called contract "offer" provides little in the way of improvements for casuals, seasonals, fixed-term and PPTs, there is another large classification of employees who, similarly, are being offered little more than bones: permanent, full-time (PFT) workers.

As of September 2012, there were 2,683 PFTs on the LCBO's payroll, a number that has increased by a paltry 156 position since December, 2007. Even so, PFTs comprise about 40 per cent of the LCBO's unionized workforce.

But if PFTs thought they are in line for improvements to their contract, based on what the LCBO has offered, they can forget it.

"There's really nothing that the LCBO has shown us that things will be better for permanent, full-timers," said Denise Davis, chair of the bargaining team who's worked for the Crown corporation for more than 25 years.

Your bargaining team has singled out three severe shortcomings in the LCBO's contract proposal that affect PFTs and casuals alike: the four-year wage freeze; cutbacks to benefits, and workplace stressors.

"As our workforce ages and some of us are looking forward to retirement, the four-year wage freeze really amounts to an eight per cent cut in wages based on an annual inflation rate of two per cent," said Nick Foti, a member of the bargaining team and a 30-year veteran who works in building maintenances at head office. "That kind of cut is going to have a big impact on our pensions. It may mean we have to forego retirement for a few years to make up the shortfall."

In its contract offer the LCBO wants to "review" [read: takeaway] benefit provisions in order to maximize its fiscal return to the provincial government. As the workforce ages possible cutbacks to some benefits, like chiropractic and physio-therapy services could have a real impact on those approaching retirement. Combined with an eight per cent wage cut and the delisting of some OHIP services, the financial impact could be enormous.

It's been the LCBO's practice to hire less full-timers. Instead, it prefers to hire more casuals — at   reduced hours — to get the job done. This pattern has a negative effect on all employees. In fact, in our demand-setting surveys members consistently ranked reduced stressors and work overload among their highest health and safety priorities. Your bargaining team has made this a priority issue at the bargaining table.

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