OPSEU/SEFPO Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) ratification vote reminder

President’s message

With next week’s ratification vote fast-approaching, I’d like to extend my warmest thanks to the LBED bargaining team for their fierce dedication and tenacity at the bargaining table.

Bill 124 has presented us with many challenges, but your bargaining team was able to push back against the employer’s demands for concessions and negotiate a deal that all LBED members can be proud of; a deal with the highest wage increase permitted by law.

As front-line heroes, we know you deserve even more. During this pandemic, you’ve put your own health and safety on the line to continue serving Ontarians and to keep this province running. OPSEU/SEFPO will always have your back – that’s why we’re committed to fighting for the repeal of Bill 124 and its unconstitutional wage cap.

Until then, please be sure to participate in next week’s ratification vote from June 8-10. This is your tentative agreement, and your voice matters.

And once again thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything you do – at work, in our union and for Ontario.

In Solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU/SEFPO President

Reminder: LBED ratification vote from June 8 – 10

Voting on the LBED tentative agreement will run from June 8 at 8 a.m. until June 10 at 9 p.m. All voting will take place online on the secure Simply Voting platform and will remain confidential.

By now, you should have received a confirmation that you’re registered to vote by email. Simply Voting will email you with a link to your ballot, your elector ID and password when the vote opens on June 8th. It will come from the address vote@simplyvoting.com.

Don’t see the confirmation email? Check your junk mail folder!

For those voting by phone, you should have received your elector ID and password by regular mail. The phone number for voting is also enclosed.

If you haven’t received this information by email or regular mail, please call 1-833-357-2384 immediately.

How to vote:

Once you receive your unique Elector ID and password in an email, the email will also contain a link that will allow you to quickly cast your ballot. You can also visit https://opseulbedvote.simplyvoting.com and enter your unique Elector ID number and password – you’ll then be taken to the ballot.

If you receive your unique Elector ID by physical mail, phone the number provided by Simply Voting and enter your unique Elector ID number and password – you’ll then be taken to the ballot.

Please note: all LCBO employees in the bargaining unit(s) represented by OPSEU/SEFPO are eligible to vote, including all full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, fixed-term employees and those on leave.

LBED tentative agreement is a “good deal”:

Despite serious challenges in reaching this deal, your bargaining team is proud to recommend acceptance of the tentative agreement. Click here for details from the team.

For more information on voting, including Frequently Asked Questions about the ratification vote and its outcome, click here.

The vote results will be made public as soon as possible following the count and we’ll notify all members by email. If you aren’t getting emails from the union, it is possible that you unsubscribed from our mailing list at some point in the past. To re-subscribe, please email opseucommunications@opseu.org.

Q&A on the LBED tentative agreement

To download a printable PDF version, click here.

Q. When/how do we get to ask questions about the new contract?

You have a number of opportunities to ask questions about the tentative agreement:

Q. What happens if the majority of members who vote accept the agreement?

The tentative agreement becomes your new collective agreement and will be in force until March 31, 2024.

Q. What happens if the majority of members who vote reject the agreement?

Should the tentative settlement not be ratified, the union will file an application for conciliation and invite the employer back to the table. The application for conciliation goes to the Ministry of Labour and a conciliation officer is appointed. Gerry Lee does not come back to the table as mediator.

Either party can request the No Board report, which triggers a 17-day countdown to a strike or lockout, once it is issued. The employer, by law, could bring back the concessions they tabled at the start of bargaining and which the team pushed back on. In the 17-day countdown, the employer, by law, could table a final offer that the union is forced to bring back to the membership for a vote. That offer could be much worse than the current tentative agreement.

Q. What is a concession, and what does it mean that there are “no concessions” in this Collective Agreement?

In bargaining terminology, a “concession” is something you lose during bargaining from your Collective Agreement.

There are no concessions in the 2021 tentative agreement. In other words, LBED members lose nothing in this agreement – no wages are lost, no benefits are lost, and no rights are lost. Simply put, there are no take-a-ways.

For a list of concessions the employer wanted your bargaining team to accept, see the section with the heading “The Employer’s Proposal” in bargaining bulletin #3: https://sefpo.org/news/a-new-vision-for-the-lcbo-safe-public-and-more-secure-than-ever/120165/

Q. What is the connection between Bill 124 and pandemic pay? What was the employer’s response to our demand for pandemic pay?

Bill 124 made it more difficult for your bargaining team to push for pandemic pay during bargaining. That’s because the value of the pandemic pay would have to be counted as part of your wage increase, which is capped at one per cent.

However, once bargaining has finished, there would be nothing stopping the LCBO to decide to begin offering pandemic pay.

Some employers, including the provincial government, have unilaterally decided to give some workers pandemic pay and not others.

Q. With Bill 124, why wasn’t our contract just extended for one year?

Bill 124 constrains your wage and non-wage compensation increases at one per cent a year for a three-year moderation period.

Q. Does Bill 124, which limits Ontario public sector wage increases to one per cent a year for three years, apply to LCBO workers?

Unfortunately, yes. Bill 124 does exempt a small number of public sector employers from Bill 124, but the LCBO is not one of them.

The LCBO is covered by Bill 124 because of Section 8, Paragraph 2, which specifies that the Act applies to, “An organization that represents employees under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993.”

You can read the entire Act here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/s19012#BK11

OPSEU/SEFPO believes Bill 124 is a clear violation of LBED workers’ constitutional rights, and was one of the first unions to launch a Charter challenge against the bill. Unfortunately, a decision on our challenge is unlikely to be passed down before LBED members have voted on the tentative agreement.

Q. Why are we saying that we should accept the contract when it seems it was done very quickly with few changes?

Your bargaining team is recommending the tentative settlement, which reflects what the parties were able to negotiate as the best possible Collective Agreement for our members. The assistance of the mediator was instrumental in achieving a settlement.

Keep in mind that the tentative agreement contains a “wage reopener.” If Bill 124 is repealed, amended, or declared unconstitutional, your bargaining team will return to negotiate a remedy in the monetary proposals. The mediator also returns to the table to assist the parties.

Q. Shouldn’t we have received a signing bonus?

Unfortunately, Bill 124 takes signing bonuses into account when calculating total annual compensation, which cannot exceed one per cent in each year of the three-year moderation period.

Q. Why wasn’t there an option for a fourth year in the contract? Couldn’t the wage increases in the fourth year make up for the three years of one per cent?

The bargaining team did explore a four-year term. However, a fourth year came with concessions that the Employer had proposed.

Also, Bill 124 does not let the parties negotiate in the fourth year a “make-up” for the three-year moderation period.

Q. Was there any talks of increasing the hours for casuals from four to five?

Yes. There was a fulsome proposal tabled by the Union’s bargaining team.

Q. The employer had a record sales year, but we didn’t receive pandemic pay. Why not?

The Union consistently asked for the Employer to provide pandemic pay to members working at the LCBO, as you were deemed essential workers by Emergency Order. The LCBO did not provide pandemic pay on an hourly basis for all employees. They did provide 32 hours leave for COVID-related issues. The Union continues to request pandemic pay for LBED members.

Q. What happens if I vote no? Will the Employer give us more?

No, the employer will not give us more. It is important to note that there is nowhere the parties can go, legally, regarding monetary proposals. The bargaining team achieved the entire one per cent total compensation allowed under Bill 124.

Should the tentative settlement not be ratified, the union will file an application for conciliation and invite the employer back to the table. The application for conciliation goes to the Ministry of Labour and a conciliation officer is appointed. Gerry Lee does not come back to the table as mediator.

Either party can request the No Board report, which triggers a 17-day countdown to a strike or lockout once it is issued. The employer, by law, could bring back the concessions they tabled at the start of bargaining and which the team pushed back on. In the 17-day countdown, the employer, by law, could table a final offer that the union is forced to bring back to the membership for a vote. That offer could be much worse than the current tentative agreement.