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LCBO Strike Wrong Way to Go

July 2005
(Note: in July 2005, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the sole retailer of spirits in Ontario, threatened to go on strike.)
Firstly let me say that I have great respect for someone who has a job, ANY job, as opposed to an able-bodied person sucking off the teet of our welfare system. I also respect the fact that this job should pay a decent wage for the work done. That said, let’s call a spade a spade: the average union person working in a LCBO store is a “store clerk”. That’s not to put them down, but they are unskilled labourers, not highly trained technicians or professionals who require great skill, talents and/or knowledge. I don’t see why they should be paid $21.00 per hour; especially when there are people who do less desirable jobs for significantly less money.


Now I know that our economy needs more high paying jobs and less minimum wage jobs (hello Park Place), but these high paying jobs are usually “skilled jobs” or ones that require working in undesirable environments, sometimes for very long hours. When I was in the Navy, I sometimes worked 16 – 18 hour days, all for $25,000 per year!

If the LCBO workers go on strike, it will have a significant impact on restaurants and bars. This is an industry whose workers often work for “hospitality minimum wage”; the idea that the bulk of their income will come from tips for good service (something the LCBO workers might want to learn). Although the LCBO is not an essential service in the same way as police or fire departments, they do have a monopoly on alcohol distribution in this province. It is illegal for bars & restaurants to buy alcohol from other than the LCBO, so a strike could be devastating to an industry still recovering from the NHL strike and SARS. There’s only so much beer and wine that they could sell.

You would never see McDonalds workers going on strike for higher wages or job security because I could always go to Burger King or Wendy’s.

I hope someone who works for the LCBO union will answer two questions for me:
1) What do the workers do, besides stocking the shelves and working the cash register, that deserves such a high wage.
2) How many people over the history of the LCBO have remained unionized store workers for an entire 20-30 year career, as opposed to who are promoted to the management or executive branches or move onto other jobs? In other words, how many workers need the job security that the union is seeking, and willing to risk the livelihoods of other people to achieve? That’s supposedly what this possible strike is all about.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/lcbo-strike-wrong-way-to-go/

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