MEMO TO MANAGEMENT:
Hands off Albert Salmon!
Management and human resource personnel at the LCBO
warehouse in Durham seem to have gone into hiding in the wake of a bizarre
incident recently that saw the director of operations allegedly attempt to
remove an “Obamania” slogan from the back of Local 378 steward Albert
The altercation led Salmon to file a grievance against the
LCBO and later to file a complaint with the Durham regional police
But management has gone
strangely silent on the issue. No meeting was held after Salmon filed
his stage one grievance and further attempts to meet with the employer
has been met with a wall of silence from the LCBO human resources
department. Apparently the LCBO has been huddling with its lawyers,
figuring out what to do next.
Management’s case against
Salmon wasn’t help by the sympathetic news coverage the incident
received in the local Oshawa-area media and from the Toronto Sun and
Offending slogan? Albert Salmon, union steward
for local 376, displays the jacket deemed forbidden by the LCBO.
“All I want to do is wear my Obama
shirt if I want,” Salmon told a local newspaper. “People pass me by and say ‘Go
Obama.’ Why would the name offend somebody?”
In fact, Salmon has been wearing the
same “Obamania” slogan on his work clothes for the past five months without any
objections from co-workers or management.
But apparently warehouse director
Bruce Pizzolato isn’t as enamoured with the popular, new American president as
is Salmon, who has worked at the Durham facility for 26 years.
According to Salmon, he was approached
by Pizzolato, who told him to either remove the “offending” slogan, or to turn
his vest inside out. The supervisor said he was acting on a complaint from a
Salmon said Pizzalato attempted to
maneuver him by “yanking on my right shoulder three or four times,” in an
attempt to read the Obamania slogan. The director’s action caused Salmon seek
medical attention and later to file a claim with WISB and file an assault charge
against the supervisor.
Salmon suffers from a permanent injury
to the shoulder that Pizzalato yanked on.
Police confirmed they are
“This is just another example of the
freeze in labour relations at the warehouse,” said Denise Davis, president of
Local 378 and vice-chair of the Liquor Board Employees Division. “The director
had no grounds whatsoever to either touch Albert or to order him to remove his
As far as OPSEU senior negotiator Rob
Field is concerned, the matter should go all the way to the Ontario Human Rights
Commission for a ruling.
“This is a farce of the highest
order,” said Field. “The warehouse has no dress code and there is nothing
offensive about the term ‘Obamania.’ The only thing offensive here is in the way
the employer treats its workers.”
Agency store campaign goes public in Mount Albert
Residents of the small community of
Mount Albert, east of Newmarket, met last week to learn more about the Liquor
Board Employees Division’s proposal to replace the local privately-owned and
operated agency store with a real LCBO outlet.
More than 70 residents attended a
meeting at the local community centre, organized by OPSEU, to hear the details
behind LBED’s campaign to replace the agency kiosk, located inside the Sobeys
Foodland on Highway 48, with a full-service LCBO store.
“Our proposal is pretty
straightforward,” Laurie Miller, chair of LBED’s ‘Keep it Public’ campaign, told
the audience. “When the current agency store contract with Sobeys expires in
November, 2009, it should be replaced by a real LCBO store located next door to
the grocery store.”
A poll of 151 residents of Mount
Albert in September 2008, conducted by Strategic Communications Inc., of
Toronto, showed that two of three wanted to see the agency kiosk replaced by a
real LCBO store.
LBED consultant Russ Christianson
presented the crowd with the business case in favour of a real LCBO store for
Mount Albert based on sales figures provided by the LCBO in 2006-07. It showed
that the agency store had revenues of about $3.5 million and paid an annual
commission of more than $300,000 to Sobeys, which is headquartered in Stellarton,
“The numbers make it very clear that
Mount Albert could very easily support a real LCBO,” Christianson told the
crowd. “In fact, the Mount Albert agency store does better business than many of
the smaller LCBO retail outlets.”
LBED made a similar presentation to
members of East Gwillimbury town council on Jan. 26 which represents Mount
Albert. The union has asked town councilors to adopt a resolution asking Queen’s
Park to order the LCBO to open a real store when the current agency contract
expires later this year.
Town council has yet to vote on the
At the public meeting several audience
members questioned LBED’s campaign in Mount Albert, based on concerns that
without the in-store agency kiosk the Sobeys Foodland might be forced to close.
On the contrary, Christianson said. By
locating a real LCBO on the grounds outside the Sobeys Foodland, the grocery
store stands to increase its sales
“LCBO stores are destination stops for
consumers. With double the product selection (over the in-store kiosk),
professional staff and a higher standard of social responsibility, a real LCBO
store will draw more customers to the Sobeys Foodland store. It’s really a
win-win for everyone,” he said.
Citing the results of its independent
polling, LBED intends to continue its campaign to bring a real LCBO store to
Mount Albert and to expand the campaign to other communities in southern
With the start of bargaining underway,
the next round of mobilization will begin shortly. Liquor board employee
mobilizers will soon begin fanning out across the province to schedule and
organize membership meetings that will keep you up-to-date on our bargaining
plans and what you can do to help achieve a good contract. Look for mobilizers
coming to your work locations soon with details of the meetings.
The union has filed Notice to Bargain
with the employer early last month. The first meeting with the employer is
scheduled this week.
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Warren (Smokey) Thomas