LCBO workers vote 97% in favour of strike, union says

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says it made record turnout over the past few days after more than 86% of LCBO members in the union took part in its strike vote, with 97% voting in favour of potential job action. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

More than 8,000 members of a union representing LCBO workers have voted in favour of going on strike.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says 97 per cent of members who took part in the vote, were in favour of a strike. Some 8,060 LCBO workers participated — roughly 86 per cent — making it their largest strike vote ever.

"Your bargaining team is back at the table this week. Armed with this powerful strike vote, we will reinforce our key demands in this round," an announcement on the union's website on Saturday reads.

"So far the LCBO has refused to bargain. Now, we'll tell them [and Doug Ford] exactly what they need to offer to avoid strike action."

The union has not said when the potential job action could begin. It said it is holding a meeting on Monday to provide bargaining and strike timeline updates.

CBC Toronto has reached out to LCBO but did not receive an immediate response.

Colin Blachar, press secretary for Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, called the potential job action "disappointing," adding that it "threatens people's ability to enjoy their summers," in an statement to CBC News on Sunday.

"It's never been more clear that Ontario consumers need and deserve the same choice and convenience every other Canadian enjoys," Blachar said.

"While we hope OPSEU puts consumers first by working constructively at the negotiating table toward a deal, we have never been more committed than we are now to delivering on our promise to deliver more choice and convenience with beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages in convenience, grocery and big box stores."

The vote comes after documents obtained by Radio-Canada revealed that Ontario Premier Doug Ford's order to the LCBO to bring back paper bags caught the provincial liquor store's senior executives off guard and sent its management scrambling to procure new supply.

The province also recently announced convenience stores, big box outlets and some gas stations will be able to sell beer, wine and other ready-made drinks starting in September.