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Ontario liquor store workers to take strike vote

An LCBO outlet in downtown Toronto in this photo from Dec. 14, 2012. LCBO unionized workers will take a strike vote next month.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Unionized workers at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario are stepping up pressure on management as the two sides negotiate a new contract.

The 7,000 members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union say they'll take a strike vote next month.

OPSEU says its members are angry that management has proposed a four-year wage freeze and a host of other concessions.

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OPSEU spokeswoman Denise Davis says the strike vote doesn't mean employees will walk off the job, adding more bargaining is planned for next month.

Most of the employees work in LCBO retail stores, but some work in warehouses and at head office.

The current contract with the provincial government-owned company is set to expire March 31.

"We never bargain with the intention of striking but our employer needs to roll up its sleeves and get down to some genuine negotiations," Davis said in a news release issued Saturday.

The LCBO said in an e-mailed statement that the union only put in 10 hours of face-to-face bargaining before going public with plans for a strike vote.

The Crown corporation says restraint in the area of employee compensation is a key part of the provincial government's plan to eliminate the deficit and the LCBO must negotiate in the context of that economic reality.

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