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Local LCBO workers want alcohol removed from grocery stores

Last Updated Nov 26, 2016 at 3:18 pm EDT

Photo by Lindsay Grisebach

LCBO workers want to see alcohol sales removed from local grocery stores.

Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) protested outside LCBO stores in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and Guelph Saturday afternoon.

They say they are against the expansion of alcohol sales to grocery stores, and do not support the privatization of the LCBO.

In a statement, Local 285 president Chris Patterson says “in the midst of many conflicting messages people are receiving on the privatization of the LCBO, we see this as an opportunity to present the facts, and inform the public, allowing them to come to their own conclusions.”

Patterson had a booth set up at the Franklin Blvd LCBO in Cambridge, and as well as talking about the rising prices of alcohol in grocery stores and the loss of the public’s part ownership that would come with privatization, he also had a personal attachment.

“There’s no reason as far as I’m concerned for alcohol to be anywhere outside of LCBO stores,” says Patterson. “My brother, who is a recovering alcoholic, now he’s in a position where he can’t even go buy his food without having to run the gauntlet of alcohol.”

Karon Holdsworth is the vice president and she had her own table set up at the Fairway Road LCBO in Kitchener.

“This is taking it away from the public,” she says about privatization. “This is a Crown Corporation that’s publicly owned, the public own us. So the customers that come here every day, they’re the owners of this company. When that goes private, they lose that ownership, just like with Hydro One.”

She adds that privatization would see the rising of alcohol prices so that grocery stores would still make a profit, and stresses the importance of keeping alcohol out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have easy access to it.

“Lack of social responsibility is huge. We train for hours to make sure that alcohol doesn’t get into the hands of minors and intoxicated individuals.”