Issue 24 - November 27, 2008
Delegates put stamp of approval on final bargaining demands
A process that began almost one year ago with focus groups
asking LBED members what issues they wanted addressed in their new contract
ended on Saturday Nov. 22 when a roomful of delegates gave their
overwhelming approval to a package of fi nal demands that negotiators will
take to the bargaining table with the LCBO.
“This is all about solidarity and what we’re witnessing
today is something that started with the membership and worked its way to
the top,” said LBED chair Vanda Klumper. “It’s history in the making - we’ve
never had this opportunity before!
“Now is the time for each one of you to get out there as
mobilizers and get our members solidly behind the negotiating team.”
LBED’s contract with the LCBO expires on Mar. 31, 2009.
Saturday’s Final Demand Setting Meeting at a hotel in Mississauga marks the
end of the process for LBED members and activists in shaping the bargaining
demands before negotiators present them to the employer when talks begin in
Saturday’s meeting, which attracted 58 delegates representing all
regions of the province, was an historic first for organized liquor board
employees in Ontario. Never before had representatives of the bargaining
unit gathered under one roof to endorse those issues which the
membership, through a series of surveys and local and regional meetings,
have identified as their priorities going into negotiations.
That point wasn’t lost on several speakers.
“Let me congratulate every member of LBED on being a part of
history,” said OPSEU president Smokey Thomas. “You now know what we
mean: in OPSEU it’s the members who tell us what they want to see in
their contract. It all starts with the membership.”
Thomas said the LCBO numbers tell the whole story.
“I don’t think they Liberals want to get into a punch-up with you
folks. Not when the LCBO is earning $200,000 in profits from each and
every member of the bargaining unit. They’re always telling us ‘The
cupboard is bare,’ but obviously that’s not the case in the Liquor
LBED senior negotiator Rob Field told delegates the heavy lifting is
about to begin.
“Today you will identify what the mandate of your negotiating team
will be. Tomorrow we begin the job of getting a bit of something for
everyone into our next contract.” He added that for too long “the LCBO
has gotten away with Collective Agreement murder. That’s going to stop.”
LBED activists declare:
“It will be our strongest contract ever!”
ECHO asked members attending the Nov. 22 Final Demand Setting
Meeting their thoughts on the LBED’s pre-bargaining process that led
up to this historic meeting and its impact on members in general.
This is what some activists had to say.
MELLISSA JACKSON, VICE PRESIDENT, LOCAL 682, NORTH BAY
“This is my first time in a process like this and it’s been
fantastic. Everyone has been given the opportunity to make a
contribution to the process. This brings the members a lot closer
together. We will have a much stronger bargaining team. It will be
our strongest contract ever!”
RICK WOODALL, VICE PRESIDENT, LOCAL 375, GRAVENHURST
“The greatest effect of this will be on the
grassrootsmembers. They will get a feel that they’ve actually made a contribution to the collective agreement. I
think all members see a bit of themselves in the final demand setting. I can take this back to my members
and feel good about it.”
MARIE NUNZIATA, STEWARD, LOCAL 288, WEST GTA
“I’d never been involved in the bargaining process previous to this. It
really is a democratic process that involves everyone from the members up.
It has opened up communications to the grassroots because it gives us a lot
to talk about. It wasn’t this way before.”
CRAIG HADLEY, CHIEF STEWARD, LOCAL 5109, HEAD OFFICE TORONTO
“Going through the pre-bargaining process and now at the final demand
setting meeting you can see how many of the key head office concerns have
been addressed. A lot has been said about casuals. Issues affecting casuals
don’t only impact on the retail sector but also on head office and the
Toronto warehouse. It’s been very worthwhile for all LBED members.”
Your demand priorities
The road leading to the Final Demand Setting Meeting was a long one
that led through every region of Ontario, through written surveys and by
members having their voices heard in committees and at local and
regional demand setting meetings. In May 2008, elected delegates to the
pre-bargaining conference set out the key issues that members were asked
to vote on in meetings earlier this autumn.
At the end of this democratic exercise, these are the Top 5 Priority
bargaining issues identified by LBED members:
A better deal for casuals, seasonal, PPTs and fixed term workers
Wage increases for all employees that reflect the excellent
productivity of the LBED bargaining unit and that don’t fall below inflation
Job security through the elimination of privatization threats,
contracting out, divestment and agency stores
Improvements to health and safety language, including a minimum staffing
complement by store or service
Pensions and improvements to early retirement options
LBED Emergency Assistance Fund grows by $650
Thanks to strong sales at last weekend’s LBED has now reached
almost $2,000. “product knowledge” social held on the eve of LBED’s
Divisional Executive is looking into the Final Demand Setting
Meeting - plus raffle other ways and events where assistance funds
sales on Nov. 22 - the Division’s Emergency can be raised.
Assistance Fund has increased by $650.
The EAF was established earlier this year at the pre-bargaining conference for those LBED members who suddenly find
themselves in tough financial
straits caused by unforeseen circumstances. The total amount in the fund
has now reached almost $2,000.
LBED's Divisional Executive is looking into other ways and
events where assistance funds can be raised.
For more details about the Emergency Assistance Fund,
local presidents are invited to contact DivEx member Paula Sossi at email@example.com. The fund does not allow for cash donations and the
identity of recipients
will remain confidential.
LCBO can’t plead poverty
The LCBO is a cash cow for the province of Ontario. The numbers prove it.
Unfortunately, LCBO employees aren’t getting their fair share thanks to a
multi-tiered classification system that deliberately prevents equal pay for
LCBO net sales in the 2007-08 fiscal year amounted to a staggering $4.1
billion, with profits of $1.345 billion. That works out to more than $200,000
from each and every LCBO employee, regardless of classification. No other
business in Canada can boast the same rate of return on investment. In
addition to the $1.345 billion dividend to the provincial government last
year, LCBO sales also collected $382 million in provincial sales tax, $119
in GST and $339 million in excise taxes and import duties.
As OPSEU senior research officer Joyce Hansen told delegates to the Final
Demand Setting Meeting, “The government might say they’re in an economic
crisis but that certainly doesn’t apply to the LCBO.”
Highlights of Hansen’s presentation to the meeting included:
Between August 2007 and April 2008, the number of permanent full
time LBED members has dropped from 2,701 to 2,659 while the number of
casuals has shot up from 3,168 to 3,606;
Between 1996 and 2008 inflation in Ontario has gone up by 27 per cent
while the wages of LCBO fixed term workers has lagged behind at an
increase of only 17 per cent;
LCBO fixed term workers have lagged behind with a one-time only
increase, from $8.50 to $10, in 2000.
In 2000-01, salaries and benefits paid to LCBO permanent
workers made up 9.8 per cent of net sales; in 2006-07 that figure was
9.0 per cent – a 10 per cent drop in share of sales;
In 2008-09 the LCBO is projecting an increase of 5.1 per cent in net
sales. LBED members, with the exception of fixed term workers, will earn
an increase of three per cent.
Your 2009 LBED bargaining team!
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