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Liquor strike to continue; MBLL accepts conciliator recommendation to end strike

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) is accepting a recommendation from a conciliator to move ahead to binding arbitration with unionized workers, but it doesn't appear the union has the same plans.

MBLL said Monday afternoon that an independent conciliator recommended the strike end and both sides move ahead with binding arbitration on wage increases.

"MBLL has now confirmed that it accepts the independent conciliator's recommendations," MBLL said in a statement.

Gerry Sul, the president and CEO of MBLL, said the conciliator's recommendations provide a "clear pathway" to end the strike.

"It would end disruption for our employees and all Manitobans – our customers and over two thousand Manitoba businesses," he said.

Short-term strikes started in July, but longer, more significant strikes have been happening over the last few weeks, with the majority of stores being closed over the weekend, with the exception of two in all of Manitoba.

Despite MBLL's acceptance, the union representing workers doesn't have the same plan.

Speaking to CTV News Monday, Kyle Ross, the president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU), said more assurances are needed before going to binding arbitration.

He said the MBLL hasn't moved an inch over the last four weeks and called MBLL's latest move a "Hail Mary."

The MGEU plans on continuing to consult committee members, with Ross noting they are still hopeful a fair resolution will be made for its members.

In a statement from Ross later on Monday, he said workers want a fair deal to be negotiated at the bargaining table.

"There is much more work to be done at the bargaining table, and we call on government to come to the table with a fair offer," said Ross.

"We are telling the conciliator that, while we would prefer to reach a negotiated settlement at the bargaining table, we will consider binding arbitration if a 'fairness floor' is built into the process."

In the meantime, Ross said employees will be back to the picket lines on Tuesday.

The MGEU said members will be marching from Union Centre to the Manitoba Legislature on Tuesday beginning at 11:40 a.m.


While the strike continues, it is impacting multiple industries as well as every day Manitobans.

It is peak wedding season in Manitoba and the strike is creating logistic headaches for wedding venues in and around the city.

St. Norbert Arts Centre hosts several events each week and they all come with their own challenges.

"Our weekends are booked solid for weddings. You know, we have an event tonight for a tour group from California," said Sharon McIntyre, the executive director of the centre.

She said lately, the challenges have all had something in common.

"It's been keeping up with the stock in the spirits for all the weddings and functions we have booked," she said. "These are special days for people. Some have been planning for two years and more. We want to do everything we can."

McIntyre said it means travelling to multiple liquor stores in a day to ensure the bar and fridge is stocked up.

It's a similar story for the St. Boniface Golf Club.

"We're really trying hard not to let this affect the customers and the weddings," said Carly Dalmyn, the operations director at the golf club.

Dalmyn said it hosts two to three weddings each weekend during the summer and those celebrations can come with big bar tabs.

"Our average wedding is about 150 people ad so, I would say, it's probably in the $10,000 to $15,000 range per event."

Dalmyn said they are trying to limit the stress for clients as much as possible, knowing it is already a stressful enough day for most. Top Stories

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