LCBO info picket in Timmins
LCBO workers were urging residents to support Keep It Public campaign
Unionized employees of the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) took their Keep It Public campaign out to the public across Northeastern Ontario Friday by meeting customers at the LCBO store fronts and asking them to urge their MPP to bring the message back to Queen’s Park.
The Keep It Public campaign has been launched by OPSEU in a bid to discourage the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives from the idea of having more beer and wine sales outlets set up in private grocery stores, corner stores and even large department stores.
Unionized employees were out meeting the public in Timmins, in Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, among others. They were giving out stickers and packages of chewing gum promoting the keepitpublic.ca website.
LCBO worker Leslie Gagnon of Smooth Rock Falls, who is also president of OPSEU Local 683, was with her fellow workers at the Hollinger Court LCBO store in Timmins.
She said customers were being urged to support the campaign by going to the website and finding the name of their local MPP.
“I have been telling people to click on their MPP’s name, which in Timmins would be Gilles Bisson. There is a form letter that comes up, sign your name at the bottom and email it. That’s all we’re asking,” said Gagnon.
She said most members of the public that she and her co-workers have met with are empathetic.
“It’s seems pretty good. They seem to understand when we tell them how much money we generate for the charities, they realize that the LCBO is a good thing to have,” she added.
Gagnon said her reference to generating revenue for charities is part of the job function for LCBO workers at their cash checkout. The workers encourage customers to add a donation as they pay for their LCBO purchases.
“At the cash we get prompts to collect money for Sick Kids Hospital and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) campaign which is a push on for Christmas right now. In the spring and fall, we usually do United Way. We have the Poppy campaign and other fundraisers all throughout the year where we look after the boxes at our cash,” she explained.
In Ontario last year, Gagnon said LCBO employees helped to collect more than $13 million in donations.
“It usually keeps going up. Every year they ask us to try to do more,” she said.
OPSEU’s website said the “keep it safe” reference is aimed at keeping liquor sales out of the hands of young people who are not old enough to legally purchase beer and wine, something the union claims will happen much more often if the LCBO moves toward privatization.
Joel Rice of Timmins, left, met briefly with unionized LCBO employee Leslie Gagnon at the Hollinger Court LCBO outlet Friday where OPSEU was urging members of the public to support the campaign to keep the LCBO as a publicly owned and operated entity in Ontario.