Will Union Contracts Stop Liquor Store Privatization?

Desperate to protect the monopoly that provides his cushy $287,000 salary and benefits package, liquor store union boss Wendell Young IV has launched yet another dishonest attack.

Mr. Young is triumphantly claiming that liquor store privatization is a moot discussion because of the newly negotiated liquor store workers’ union contracts that make privatization undesirable for private companies.

As our own Jay Ostrich pointed out in the Philadelphia Inquirer, this is another example of the union party bullying taxpayers:

“Mr. Young can wave the victory flag for special interests all he wants,” Ostrich said. “This latest ploy is simply just a ruse to distract from the bipartisan broad-based support that wants government out of the booze business.”

This is the same message coming from the Governor’s office captured by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“It has zero bearing on privatization efforts,” Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said. “You can’t force a private employer to abide by that contract. If the Legislature passes a law privatizing the Liquor Control Board, that’s the idea of it: It gets the state out of it. Private sector workers are not state workers with generous wages, benefits and pensions.”

Seventy percent of Pennsylvania voters support getting government out of the booze business. The state-run monopoly on wine and spirits should be dissolved, allowing private businesses the ability to sell wine and spirits in a competitive market. This will give Pennsylvanians the same freedom, convenience and pricing offered in neighboring states. Anything short of absolute privatization is a disservice to Pennsylvanians.

For more on the failure of government-run liquor stores, visit FreeMyDrink.com. And for more on how the UFCW uses government-collected union dues for political action and to enrich union bosses, check out our policy report The Squeeze.