There’s only seven days left before a potential strike for workers at LCBO stores across Ontario.

While negotiations are ongoing ahead of the 12:01am deadline on June 26th, both sides have been making their feelings public and keeping the public informed of what can or cannot happen if there is a work stoppage.

President and CEO for the LCBO George Soleas says select stores across the province will have extended hours to allow people to plan ahead, especially with this strike mandate falling around the Canada Day weekend.

(The LCBO location at Hollinger Court is operating with normal hours, according to the LCBO website.)

However, Soleas adds the LCBO has “started to make arrangements to ensure that our retail and wholesale networks will be able to operate in the event of a labour disruption.”

“We’re proud of the good jobs we offer at the LCBO,” he said in a video update posted Friday, “And (we) remain committed to reaching a deal that is fair to our employees, our customers and the taxpayers of Ontario.”

(Due to privacy settings, we cannot embed Soleas’ full video on our website. CLICK HERE to view the video update.)

Meantime, the union representing workers launched a website to “expose the reality” of what it is like working at an LCBO store.

Titled, the website features first-hand interviews in a section called “Real People. Real Stories.”

One of the videos is of a woman named Bonnie, who works at the LCBO store in Timmins.

In a release, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the employer “has brought this on itself.”

“The way that senior management has acted, and the pressure from the provincial government to drive up profits, no matter the cost to workers, has brought us to the brink of a strike,” said Thomas. “No worker should be treated the way these folks are being treated right now – especially not at a profitable Crown corporation that can afford to do better.”

“The LCBO should be setting an example for Ontario employers, not joining a race to the bottom with Walmart.”

Thomas goes on to state that the situation isn’t complicated.

“If Premier Wynne really wants to improve the lives of workers, she should start with the companies her government runs,” he says, “We need her to pick up the phone and tell LCBO President George Soleas that enough is enough, and it’s time management worked together with our members to build the better LCBO we all know is possible.”

93 per cent of workers voted in favour of a strike mandate and held pickets at stores across Ontario over last couple months. One was in Timmins towards the end of May.

It was then that Rogers Media Timmins spoke with Denise Davis, OPSEU’s Liquor Board Employees Division Chair.

She told us the main sticking point was the province granting 76 grocery and department stores the opportunity to sell beer and cider as of June 30th—including the Timmins Walmart.

“It doesn’t make us feel very trustworthy of the LCBO,” Davis said back in May, “What they’re up to, we can see them push the privatization agenda and we are out here to protect our jobs. Job security, time with our families, working alone is a huge issue and contracting out work and stopping privatization.”

For those wondering, we spoke with an unnamed Walmart Manager in Timmins on alcohol sales.  They say while the store did get approved to sell beer and cider by the end of the month, the product will not be available in store right away.

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