LCBO employees ratify new contract that caps number of casual workers

The 3 Week Diet

The union representing LCBO employees says it successfully approved a new contract with the province on Wednesday night.

The ratification comes a few weeks after a tentative agreement averted a strike before the Canada Day long weekend.

The 8,000 unionized LCBO workers had been without a contract since March 31, and voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike in April.

The new agreement puts a “hard cap” on the percentage of precarious workers at the LCBO, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) stated in a news release.

Only 56 per cent of LCBO employees voted in favour of the new agreement, but OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said ratification was still a victory.

“If you read the news, the growth of precarious work is far too often seen as simply the new reality,” Thomas said in the release. “Instead, this bargaining team took on the challenge of not just limiting the growth of casual positions, but actually pushing back and demanding an increase in the number of good, full-time jobs.”

Thomas’s statement did acknowledge that the narrow success of the vote shows there’s still room for improvement at a Crown agency like the LCBO.

‘Push back against precarious work’

“Though obviously contentious, this deal sends a clear message: workers can win when they stand together to push back against precarious work and demand better,” he said.

The new agreement caps casual workers at 70 per cent of employees, down from the current amount of 84 per cent. The LCBO must also reach that figure within four years, the statement reads.

The new agreement also improves scheduling, increases job security and ends the scheduling of two-hour shifts.

OPSEU bargaining team chair Denise Davis said in the statement that reaching an agreement was a credit to employees across Ontario.

“At the end of the day, this deal will improve the lives of thousands of workers. It has put the issue of precarious work on the political radar. And that’s all thanks to the members who worked tirelessly over the past months to make it possible,” Davis said.

The LCBO did not immediately comment on the new collective agreement.


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