Ontario liquor store strike looms for midnight

Negotiations between the LCBO and the union representing its 7,000 employees are heading into the final hours.

LCBO strike threat

9 years ago
Duration 2:14
LCBO facing its first-ever strike.

Ontarians are starting to pay more attention to the possibility of a strike at the province's liquor stores.

A strike could happen as early as 12:01 a.m. on Friday — that's when the union representing 7,000 Liquor Control Board of Ontario workers has set its strike deadline.

The major issue, according  to the union, is part-time and temporary work.

"Two-thirds of LCBO employees are casuals with no guaranteed hours, few benefits and an average income that is less than $26,000 a year — at a corporation that made $1.6 billion in pure profit last year," said a statement on the OPSEU website.

For the LCBO it could be a first: the liquor seller has never had a strike, ever.

Spokesperson Heather McGregor says the LCBO is ready in the event of a strike.

"We do have contingency plans to deliver some level of service in the event of a strike," she said. "The details of the plan — all that will be released if and when it is needed."

Craig Hadley, of OPSEU, says "nobody wants a strike but we are prepared if we have to — and yes there will be pickets."

For consumers — if there is a work stoppage — the problem will be obtaining wine and liquor.

Although wine is available in some smaller retail locations operated by private wineries, those stores are few and far between in the province.

The retail sale of liquor is almost 100 per cent through the LCBO's own stores.  The LCBO operates 630 stores across Ontario.

Beer will still be available through Ontario's Brewers Retail stores.