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Employees, supporters rally outside LCBO headquarters

TORONTO – With a Victoria Day weekend strike threat looming, LCBO employees and supporters rallied outside the Liquor Control Board’s head office in downtown Toronto on Thursday afternoon.

The midday demonstration at the Lake Shore Boulevard location coincided with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union annual meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

OPSEU spokesman Greg Hamara says the union is not happy with the pace of negotiations.

He said the rally is “a wake-up call” to management to get down to negotiating.”

The union represents more than 7,000 employees whose contract expired March 31.

The bargaining team announced a May 17 strike deadline which is the Friday before the long weekend.

OPSEU said the main issues are wages and benefits, job security and improvements to health and safety standards.

LCBO spokesperson Heather MacGregor tells 680News it’s the workers’ right to hold a rally however LCBO management thinks OPSEU should put more focus on negotiations.

“After only about 17 hours of face to face bargaining, the focus and the energies really should be directed to getting a deal at the table,” MacGregor said.

MacGregor said the LCBO is committed to negotiating a deal that’s fair for employees but also for taxpayers. Talks are scheduled to continue into mid-May.

She said there’s never been a strike in the history of the LCBO and the corporation has a good track record of negotiating a deal.