Let the booze hoarding begin: Ontario liquor store workers vote for strike

(J.P. Moczulski/CP)

Members of the union that represents workers at LCBO stores — Ontario’s provincial liquor stores — have voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike.

“That number should send a pretty powerful message to LCBO management that their own employees are profoundly dissatisfied with the pace of negotiations,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), said in a press release.

OPSEU represents more than 7,000 LCBO retail staff, warehouse workers and head office employees. Their four-year contract ended on March 31 and the union says that the two sides have been in bargaining since February with little progress.

The news created some concern among Ontarians, who would be forced to buy their booze at the Beer Store (which only sells beer), should the strike occur.

But, before everyone runs to their nearest LCBO to stock up, take this into account: LCBO employees have no immediate plans to strike and they also voted in favour of a strike mandate in 2003 and 2009, without going on strike in either of those years.

However, it did resemble the apocalypse in LCBO stores before the last potential strike in 2009, as antsy shoppers crowded into liquor stores and pretty much emptied shelves in the days before the union and managers reached a new agreement.

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