A historic and successful two years
It’s my privilege and pleasure to greet every member of the Liquor Board Employee’s Division of OPSEU on the occasion of my recent election as Chair of the Division. With your support I look forward to serving the needs and strategic aspirations of our great division over the course of the next two years.
The past two years have been historic ones for LBED. Not only did we become integrated into a strong union like OPSEU, but we tested our new-found strength through a very tough round of bargaining with the employer last summer, culminating in a new collective agreement. We would not have achieved this success without the tireless work put forward by my colleagues on the bargaining team, starting with Vanda Klumper.
No one is more deserving of our thanks and gratitude than Vanda, who served with distinction as LBED’s first chair and as chair of the bargaining team. Her leadership, vision and hard work on behalf of all 6,000 LBED members is a testament to her commitment to working people like ourselves.
Much the same can be said of Dora Robinson and Laurie Miller, two other members of the bargaining team and former committee chairs for the Division. On those few occasions when things looked bleak at the bargaining table, Dora and Laurie were there to lift our spirits and rally our strength.
We have plenty on our agenda over the next two years. With a new contract behind us we must concentrate on enforcement and our work at the committee level where positive changes to working conditions can be achieved. I look forward to working with all of our new and returning committee members. In turn, I urge you to give these hard-working individuals your full support and encouragement.
In the meantime, the holiday season is fast approaching. Even though this time of year is the busiest time for us at the LCBO, please find the time to enjoy some rest and relaxation in the company of family and friends.
Season’s greetings to each of you and all the best for 2010!
Denise Davis, Chair
Introducing Your New Divisional Executive
Denise Davis – Chair
Denise is president of Local 378 at the Durham warehouse and former vice-chair of the divisional executive. She has been employed by the LCBO for more than 20 years and over that time has worked in retail, as a customer service representative, and in warehousing. Denise previously served as chair of several LBED and OLBEU committees, including grievance and provincial health and safety.
“My goal for this term is to keep everyone – activists and members alike – up-to-date on the issues we face together. Along with our committees we all need to enforce our new Collective Agreement and keep pushing the priorities of our Division. We need to ensure that every local gets the information and the assistance they need and deserve.”
Lori Davis – Vice Chair
For the past 11 years Lori has been a product consultant at Store 412 in Ottawa. She has also worked as a casual, permanent part-time and now a permanent full-time customer service representative. Lori has been a local steward and vice-president, and is now president of Local 499. She was the former chair of the Eastern Regional Labour-Management Committee, and is now Region 4 representative to the Provincial Women’s Committee.
“My goal is to educate our members on their rights under our new collective agreement and to seek improvements and fairness through the grievance committee.”
Robin Reath – Secretary / Treasurer
Robin has been a retail casual with the LCBO since 2000 and works at Store 393 in London. A member of Local 193, he has been elected as a steward (2005), treasurer (2006) and, most recently, as vice-president of the local. Robin is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in science.
“My goal is to get reports out to our members in a timely fashion so that everyone’s kept informed of our actions.”
Susan Lusty, Chair, Benefits & Pension Committee
Sue has been an employee since December 1989 and currently works in retail at Store 22 in Barrie. Her union activity dates back more 14 years from the time she was elected a steward in 1995. Since then she was a member of the audit committee before moving on to the benefits committee. At the BPS conference in 2007 she was elected chair of the benefits and pension committee and re-elected in November.
“My goal is to meet with the employer on a regular basis to discuss issues arising from our benefits and pension plan. I would like to see as many union members as possible trained as benefits counsellors over the next two years. It is important that our casuals learn about the new benefits contained in our new contract.”
Colleen MacLeod, Chair, Education and Communications Committee
Colleen was elected president of Local 5107 in March, 2008, a position which she currently holds. She started with the LCBO in 1997 and gained permanent full-time status 18 months ago at a retail location in west-end Toronto. Her union activity began three years ago when she volunteered to develop a website for her local and to assist with other communication needs. She was elected chair of the Education and Communications Committee at the 2007 BPS conference and also served as a member of the bargaining team this year.
“My goal is to work with the DivEx on ways to better finance the work of this committee and to ensure we maintain a steady flow of timely information for the benefit of all LBED members.”
Rick Woodall, Chair, Privatization Committee
Rick is vice-president of Local 375 and steward for Store 130 in Gravenhurst, where he has worked as a customer service rep since 2004. He is also the health and safety representative for his store. When Liquor Board employees joined OPSEU in 2006, Rick was active in organizing the new local executive. During the past two rounds of bargaining he took an active role in mobilizing members for a possible strike.
“I have two goals for our committee. We need to communicate clearly to all our members about privatization issues affecting our head office, warehouses and our privately-run Agency stores. It affects us all. My other goal is to mobilize our members and communities in order to create an effective force that will bring about repatriation of the most profitable agency stores.”
Tracy Vyfschaft, Chair, Health and Safety Committee
Tracy has been a long-time member-activist on behalf of Liquor Board employees, starting as a steward. She is currently acting president of Local 377 in Durham region. An employee of the LCBO since 1988, Tracy works as a full-time customer service rep in Whitby.
“Health and safety never takes a break, regardless of the season. Members must never accept an unsafe workplace. One of my key goals is to focus more attention on repetitive stress injuries (RSI) in the workplace through ergo improvements.
McGuinty turns to the banks for advice
Spectre of privatization rears its head – again!
Just when we thought we had buried any further debate over whether the LCBO should be sold off in whole or in parts, it seems the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty wants to revisit the issue.
This is the same Dalton McGuinty who, four years ago, rejected the findings of the Lacey panel which had recommended selling off the LCBO to the private sector.
But in a news report Dec. 16, it turns out the premier has turned to the banking community for advice on the possible privatization of several prominent Crown corporations. This includes the sale of the LCBO as a one-time cash windfall to reduce the provincial deficit, now estimated at $25 billion.
“How many more times are we going to go around the block on this issue,” asked OPSEU president Smokey Thomas in a news release from the union. “We beat back privatization under Mike Harris and we were pleased when Premier McGuinty rejected the recommendations of the Lacey panel. It should be a dead issue by now but somehow it keeps creeping back.”
Thomas noted that in 2008 the LCBO earned more than $1.4 billion for the government, cash that was used for health care, education and other public services.
“Slaughtering the goose that annually lays golden eggs for the public purse is a half-baked strategy that should be put to rest for good,” he added.
Here’s a word of advice to the premier from LBED: don’t even begin to think you can somehow get away with privatization without getting into the fight of your life from Liquor Board employees. We’ve defeated the move before and we’ll do it again.
LBED’s anti-privatization committee, under new chair Rick Woodall, is scheduled to meet in January and the latest developments from Queen’s Park will be at the top of the agenda.
Every local needs health and safety reps – select yours today!
Regardless of season, health and safety always a priority
As we all know too well, the Christmas-New Year holiday period is the busiest time of the year for LBED members. With heavier workloads come increased risks of injuries in the workplace and safe practices should always apply. “The law states very clearly that you have the right to refuse unsafe work, so work safe and most of all don’t take shortcuts,” said Denise Davis.
An important safeguard against injuries in the workplace, and to ensure hazards are eliminated and that precautions are in place, is the election of health and safety reps. If your workplace hasn’t done so already, please schedule a meeting where these reps can be selected by the members.
It is the union’s role (not the employer’s) to select the health and safety reps and Joint Health and Safety Committee members for the local. The Provincial Health and Safety Committee has acknowledged that district managers should contact the local president if they become aware of a location in need of a rep or committee member. The local president should then canvass the members to select the appropriate person.
EAP Hotline: 1-800-263-1401
The LCBO Employee Assistance Program is a confidential, hassle-free counseling service.
Thanks to gains in our newest collective agreement, this service is now free for ALL LCBO employees and their immediate families. For assistance, please call 1-800-263-1401.
To find out more about the program, visit: www.opseu.org/lbed/eap/
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Authorized for distribution by Denise Davis, Chair and Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President.