The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 12r24, the union representing Ontario’s Beer Store 6500 workers, responds to the Ontario Government’s announcement to not re-negotiate the Master Framework Agreement (MFA) and sell beer in gas stations and corner stores.
“Premier Ford’s decision to prioritize altering the alcohol retail system in Ontario could be disastrous for our members,” said John Nock, President UFCW Local 12r24. “Our members go to work every day in local communities across the province. We sell beer responsibly and deliver it efficiently. We keep our communities safe, and we carry out extremely important work processing and transporting recyclable materials across Ontario through the Beer Store’s recycling program,” continued Nock.
The previous government, led by Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, signed onto the Master Framework Agreement with the Beer Store in 2015. The Agreement codifies the rules governing the retail of alcoholic beverages. The 10-year Master Framework Agreement is scheduled to expire December 31, 2025. The Master Framework Agreement is the only contract of the sort that has ever existed between the Beer Store and the Government of Ontario.
“I am more concerned with what comes after the Master Framework Agreement expires,” said Nock.
“The Beer Store has operated in the sector from 1927 until 2015 without a Master Framework Agreement. The MFA is not necessary for us to continue. We have been doing this work for a very long time. Our work is intertwined in the infrastructure of Ontario’s communities. With the Ontario Bottle Deposit Program, our members process and transport over 1 billion units of recyclable materials every year from local communities in Ontario. Also, the current system maintains price consistency across Ontario. All these things could change. The price of beer may go up. As popular as it is to be promised a beer, changes to the current system could be extremely chaotic, and could bring many unforeseen consequences. I’m not sure how necessary any of this is,” continued Nock.
The Beer Store operates over 420 retail locations and a province wide logistics network consisting of Distribution facilities and transport fleet. The Beer Store employs roughly 7000 people, 6500 of whom are represented by UFCW Local 12r24. The Beer Store is also the site of the Ontario Bottle Deposit Program (ODRP), a bottle deposit system created by the Government of Ontario in 2007 where all empty alcohol containers sold in Ontario’s LCBO’s and Beer Stores can be returned at Beer Store retail locations. The ODRP is a celebrated environmental program. The ODRP also expires in 2025.