Reckless Scheme or Reckless Ad?

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is spending a million in order to save a million—every year!

The UFCW announced a $1 million statewide television ad buy attacking “reckless” liquor privatization proposals.  But the real “reckless scheme” is the union’s shameful attempt to mislead the public to protect its own political and financial largess.  The Commonwealth Foundation estimates that UFCW 1776 receives approximately $1.2 million annually in forced union dues collected from roughly 2,100 members employed in the state-run liquor stores.[1]

Let’s look at some of the false claims in their reckless ad:

  • Claim: Liquor privatization will increase taxes.

Fact: There are no new taxes in the privatization legislation.  Tax revenue is expected to increase after privatization because of increased sales. Pennsylvania currently loses hundreds of millions of dollars each year due to residents purchasing their wine and spirits in other states.

  • Claim: Liquor privatization will cost 5,000 jobs and destroy small businesses.

Fact: Ending the government monopoly on wine and spirits sales will mean additional investments in Pennsylvania, creating thousands of new jobs.  Right now, the best paying job a government wine salesman in Pennsylvania can hope for is a union president’s six-figure salary. Under a private system, a wine clerk could own his own store.  That’s the American dream.

  • Claim: Privatization will put alcohol on every street corner.

Fact: The current legislation only allows for 1,200 additional licenses.  That amount doesn’t put Pennsylvania anywhere near the national average of stores based on population.  In fact, the PLCB has already granted more than 25,000 alcohol licenses and permits to restaurants, taverns, and beer distributors.  It is reckless to suggest this proposal to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century spells doom for the state.

Misleading advertising is not the only tactic the UFCW has used to try to stop liquor privatization.  In March, union president Wendell Young IV tried to shout down a Capitol press conference and harassed numerous speakers (click here for video).  UFCW leaders have even accused “privateers” of rigging a non-scientific Post-Gazette online poll to show public support for privatization—even though scientific polls consistently show voters support liquor store privatization.

Pennsylvanians know the truth: Maintaining a Prohibition-era government monopoly known for corruption, incompetence, and waste is the real reckless scheme.