Ontario inches closer to liquor-store strike before long weekend

J.P. Moczulski/CP

A strike that would shutter Ontario liquor stores during the May long weekend, and possibly beyond, could happen as early as 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

The strike threat comes as the 7,000 workers for Ontario’s government-owned LCBO liquor stores negotiate a contract with the provincial government. The workers’ contract ended on March 31, 2013 and they have been without a contract since then.

One of the sticking points between the province and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents LCBO staff, is hours, pay and benefits for casual and part-time workers.

On Thursday, some LCBO stores were reporting long line ups as customers stocked up, just in case.

Should the workers strike, the province’s Beer Store shops will remain open, but access to wine and hard liquor over the holiday weekend will be severely curtailed.

In 2003 and 2009 LCBO workers voted in favour of a strike, but didn’t end up walking off the job. If the LCBO workers do strike, it will be the first strike in the store’s 87-year history.