TORONTO – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has set June 24 as its strike deadline in contract talks with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
“This week we went back to the bargaining table with high hopes that last week’s 93 per cent strike vote would convince the LCBO to bargain seriously on the main issues in this round,” said OPSEU bargaining team chair Vanda Klumper. “Unfortunately that has not happened.
“It is clear to our bargaining team that the LCBO needs the added motivation of a strike deadline before it will pay attention to what we’re saying.”
“We do not want a strike,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, a veteran of many strikes over his 30-year career as a union activist. “Our members have no desire to inconvenience their customers or go without pay. But at the same time, they have made it clear that they cannot accept the LCBO’s plan to destroy 2,400 permanent, full-time, full-year jobs, and that they will not let up in their struggle to improve the lives of more than 3,600 casuals who are struggling to survive.
“At a time like this, rich employers like the LCBO have a responsibility to protect and create as many good jobs as they can,” Thomas said. “It’s what our families need, it’s what our communities need, and it’s what this province needs.
“If we don’t have a deal by June 24, we will be out.”
Negotiations are scheduled to resume June 8-10 and then from June 15 up to the strike deadline. The OPSEU collective agreement with the LCBO expired on March 31, 2009