The union representing more than 7,000 LCBO workers said it applauds the recommendation today of a provincial panel that the giant Crown retailer of spirits, wine and beer stay in public hands.
“In its recommendation to the provincial government Ed Clark and his panel have reinforced our firm and long-standing position that the LCBO remain publicly-owned for the benefit of all the citizens of Ontario,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, noting that by staying public the provincial treasury can rely on a steady income stream which in the last fiscal year amounted to more than $2.4 billion in dividends, taxes and fees – revenue which helps pay for health care, education and public services.
“His recommendation on the LCBO, combined with the no-privatization position of Premier Wynne and Finance Minister Sousa, should put this issue to rest for a long, long time. Let’s move on to other policy issues like building our public services.”
On Clark’s recommendation that more private wine stores be located in grocery stores, Thomas said he looked forward to more discussion on the issue but said the LCBO’s proposed Express Stores meets the panel’s goal of expanding retail operations and customer convenience.
Thomas also took issue with Clark’s contention that wages at the LCBO are too high, saying the matter was one better addressed at the bargaining table.
“The LCBO’s greatest asset is its dedicated and professional workforce,” said Thomas. “They are the ones who enforce social responsibility that makes the LCBO a global leader in the sale of a controlled substance like alcohol.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas