Workers at LCBO taking strike vote as negotiations continue

The union representing the 75 hundred workers at the LCBO says 'privatization' will not break them.

They are taking a strike vote Monday and Tuesday with results expected late Tuesday afternoon.

The main issue is what OPSEU calls privatization, but what the government says is the sale of beer, wine and cider at grocery stores in the province.

Smokey Thomas is the President of OPSEU and he says the issue is about lost revenue for the province.

"It's not really a job killer, but what it does is take money out of the public coffers and puts it in private hands."

He says profits from the LCBO is used to pay for things like roads and schools across the province.

And Thomas adds, that makes any sort of privatization a lose-lose situation for both sides.

There's also health and safety issues and scheduling, which are sticking points in the negotiations.

He says workers are being asked to man stores alone, more and more.

"When you're alone in the store just before closing time and someone comes in beligerent and drunk when you won't sell them alcohol, that becomes a health and safety concern, you need someone to help with backup." explains Thomas.

According to the union, the LCBO says they need to save money, despite making 2.4 billion dollars in profit last year.

But Thomas says they are keen to come to a negotiated agreement, rather than force a strike or a lockout.