Even I don't always agree with my opinion


LCBO Set To Strike

Posted June 23, 2009 by jim young in Business

– jim young

The LCBO, that’s the Liquor Control Board of Ontario for my out-of-province readers, is set to go on strike.

For those of you that live in less archaic regions than Ontario, at least when it comes to liquor sales, the LCBO is the only place in Ontario that you can legally purchase alcohol to go.

The only exceptions are beer, which is sold only in retail outlets run by the top Brewers, Molson, Labatt, & Sleeman, and wine which can also be sold in some grocery stores and limited other outlets.

But I’m a beer drinker! So the looming strike doesn’t worry me too much.

At least not as a consumer or a drinker.

But as an advocate of justice – I think it sucks.

Normally I wouldn’t side with the union and I’m not saying I’m 100% there – but I think the OPSEU (Ontario Public Service Employees Union) make some good points.

While I can appreciate any business can be best run with a balance of full-time as well as part-time and casual labour, the LCBO is moving towards all part-time and casual labour.

Part-time and casual labour of course, receive no benefits, sick leave or paid vacation.
(OPSEU will also tell you they make less money but I don’t consider that to be a valid excuse in their call for a strike.)

Obviously, a work force of all part-time and casual labour would be a great benefit to many businesses that are looking only at increasing their bottom-line profitability.

But does not every business have a moral responsibility to society and the communities it serves, even if those costs may slightly lower their profitability?

The LCBO’s reported profit is $1.5 billion per year, by the way.

Of course every business should be entitled to a profit. But at what point does profit become greed?

How will our society function as a whole if there are one day NO full time jobs?

Do we really want to live in a world where the workers must work 10-hour days, 6 days a week? Hell – I could move to a third world country like Cuba if I want that. At least their days and hours are spent at one job.

Back in Ontario, it would not be inconceivable to find that, while attempting to juggle the work hours of 2 or 3 part-time jobs to accomplish the same income as one full time job, one might be required to work split hours spread over 7 days.

According to 680 News, “The LCBO said it’s all about staying profitable. ‘If you have nothing but full-time workers standing around with no business, then your costs are going to go through the roof,’ Chris Layton, spokesman for the LCBO, said.”

And there’s the rub. Maybe the LCBO should be less concerned about profitability and more concerned about serving and protecting society in a responsible manner as they profess to be.

And if the LCBO is worried about having “full-time workers standing around” with nothing to do – why did they farm out their bottle returns to the Beer Store? I’ll bet the Beer Store is laughing all the way to the bank with the profits they are reaping on their new recycling program.

Profits the LCBO just gave away.

The LCBO is a Crown Corporation of the Province of Ontario. If their mandate is simply to show a profit, perhaps it is time they gave up their monopoly and turned liquor sales in Ontario over to the private sector.

I’m certain there are plenty of entrepreneurs that would love the opportunity to make a profit from liquor sales with full time employees and at the same time accept the responsibility to ensure that liquor is not sold to minors.

Hell – we trust the bars to do it.

And we even entrust Variety Stores to ensure tobacco products are likewise not sold to minors!

Is the LCBO’s only real purpose to make money for our provincial government? Are the exorbitant taxes charged on liquor products not enough?

Maybe the Ontario Government should turn liquor sales over to the private sector – let them (the private sector) manage the business and the government’s lost revenue could be recouped by the income taxes they charge those companies.

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One Comment


    And it just keeps getting better. And by “better” I mean more ridiculous.

    According to City News “(The LCBO) argues making (employees) part time only makes economic sense and is a better use of taxpayers’ dollars.”

    Since when is creating adverse employee situations a “better use of taxpayers’ dollars”?

    The LCBO continued with “Just under 60 per cent of current employees are casual workers.” Isn’t that just another way of saying “Almost 60 per cent of current employees are casual workers”?

    I guess it depends on whether your whiskey bottle is half full or half empty.

    – jim

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