LCBO info picket in Tim­mins

LCBO work­ers were urg­ing res­i­dents to sup­port Keep It Pub­lic cam­paign

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - LEN GILLIS

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 keep­it­pub­ 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.

LEN GILLIS/The Daily Press

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.

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