Ontario liquor workers poised to walk - Canada - Canoe.ca Ontario liquor workers poised to walk By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU CHIEF The Toronto Sun
TORONTO -- Ontario's LCBO workers are poised to hit the bricks at midnight tonight if an agreement isn't reached with management over the use of casual employees at liquor stores.
If the roughly 6,000 unionized employees go on strike -- a first for the LCBO -- about 800 managers would step in to provide limited service.
Both sides in the dispute say a key issue is the agency's reliance on part-timers.
LCBO spokesman Chris Layton said the provincial booze agency maintains a staffing mix -- 43% full-time workers and 57% casual employees -- to ensure it can respond efficiently to fluctuating consumer demand.
"We actually have a lot more full-time employees than most retailers," Layton said. "But we need to have some flexibility because of the nature of the business ... to be able to staff up when the business spikes."
LCBO worker Craig Hadley, of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union -- which represents LCBO staff -- said casual employees receive no vacation, sick time or benefits and can be called in for as little as two hours work at a time.
Part-timers usually have to work sporadic schedules for as many as 15 years before landing a full-time position, he said.
"This isn't fair to them," Hadley said.
OPSEU has launched an advertising campaign that draws attention to the spending scandal at another government agency -- eHealth Ontario.
OPSEU spokesman Randy Robinson said the point of the ad blitz is to engage the Dalton McGuinty government in the bargaining process at the LCBO.
"And second of all to draw attention to the fact that it seems these days like the people at the top keep getting a lot of treats while the people at the bottom are struggling and scraping by, and certainly a lot of our members who are casuals fall into that category," Robinson said.
Alicia Johnston, a spokesman for Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who provides government oversight to the LCBO, said the minister wouldn't comment on the ad campaign.