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LCBO reaches tentative deal with workers averting strike

TORONTO – The LCBO has reached a tentative contract agreement with its workers, just hours before a midnight strike deadline.

The deal was announced at a news conference by Ontario Public Service Employees Union boss Warren Thomas.

“I’m happy to say for everybody that there will not be a strike at the LCBO, we will not divulge the terms because it has to go to our membership to be ratified first, plus the employer has to ratify it through their processes,” Thomas said.

Details of the deal won’t be released until after the LCBO board studies the agreement an the employees conduct a ratification vote.

He did, however, say that he believes a fair deal was reached.

“I believe it’s a deal that is as fair as can possibly be in tough economic times to the workers, and it’s a deal that certainly in my mind is fair to the taxpayers of Ontario,” he added.

LCBO management appeared to agree, with spokeswoman Heather McGregor saying the tentative deal is fair to both taxpayers and the 67-hundred employees affected.

Thomas thanked both sides of the negotiations, saying they have worked hard to strike a fair balance for everybody involved.

Union officials said they are happy with the deal and will be recommending it to their membership to approve.

When asked about why it took so long to reach a deal, officials with the union said the process was very complex and timely considering they were bargaining with a Crown corporation.

The union had complained during talks that too many LCBO employees are restricted to part-time work, with some getting only two-hours a day.

The prospect of a strike led to uncertainty on whether Ontarians would be able to buy alcoholic beverages for the Victoria Day long weekend. The total sales figure for Thursday has not yet been released.

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