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Unionized LCBO employees to walk out May 17 unless deal is reached

An LCBO store in Toronto, Ont. on Dec. 14, 2012.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Unionized employees of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario say they're prepared to walk off the job next month if they can't reach a fair contract with the retail giant.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents more than 7,000 LCBO workers, says it has filed an application with the Ministry of Labour for a May 17 strike deadline.

The employees' four-year contract with the LCBO ended March 31 and the union says "very little progress" has been made at the bargaining table.

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Earlier this month, the employees voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

At the time, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas had said there were no plans for any job action, but in a statement released Tuesday, he said the union has "no choice" but to prepare for a walkout.

The union says key issues include boosting part-time wages and upgrades to health and safety standards.

"We are looking to the LCBO to negotiate a deal that recognizes fair jobs for all its employees," Thomas said in the statement.

The province has said it has no money to spend on wage increases.

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