UFCW says liquor privatization may kill kids

By Josh Kruger
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 2, 2014

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Welp, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 is now comparing Tom Corbett’s cognitive abilities to that of a five-year-old. 

The union, which represents Pennsylvania state liquor store employees, is warning in a newsletter that if Tom Corbett gets to sign the liquor privatization bill, he’ll do so “eyes glazed over while holding a red crayon.” 

Keep in mind this is the same workers’ union which released an anti-privatization commercial noting, “It only takes one little bit of greed to kill a child.”

Upon seeing that whimsical gem of a commercial, Kelly Phillips Erb writes for Forbes that she “assumed that alcohol was alcohol,” but that with UFCW 1776’s message in mind she realizes now that “alcohol purchased outside of the state-controlled system kills children.” Erb isn’t the only one collectively sighing at the union’s histrionics. 

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) noted the obvious to PennLive: that liquor privatization isn’t supposed to kill children. Instead, Turzai says, “It’s a bill to modernize Pennsylvania and show we’re not as antiquated as we are.” It’s a rare case in Pennsylvania where the Republicans, in being obvious, show themselves to be pretty rational human beings.

Instead of privatizing, UFCW Local 1776 and its supporters in the Democratic party often insist that “modernization” of the current system—which means different things to different people surrounding this issue—is the way to go. The union also insists that privatizing the state liquor stores would destroy 5,000 union jobs.

The editorial boards of newspapers statewide seem to disagree vociferously with the union.

The editorial board of the Express-Times in the Lehigh Valley notes the current system is “antiquated” and calls by the union to simply modernize the existing state monopoly on liquor is pointless. 

“Spare us,” they wrote, “the continued ‘modernization’ of a model that simply has no place in modern government.”

The Pennsylvania State House Republican caucus agrees, calling the system a “dinosaur of bureaucracy.” In a bizarre turn of events, the Republicans are actually being factual in their assertions too, saying that Pennsylvania’s electorate “consistently agrees” and that “the general public supports [the state] getting OUT of the liquor business.”

Last year, a poll conducted by the conservative Commonwealth Foundation found that 61 percent of registered voters support privatization. 

Liquor privatization isn’t just a conservative pet project, either. Liberals like Keystone Politics’ Jon Geeting, now a Democratic Committeeman, says that the system needs to go. Geeting also called State Rep. Brian Sims’ equivocation to Philadelphia Weekly’s Randy LoBasso a “cop-out.”

Ironically, while the Republicans, registered voters, and the press seem to be coalescing over the notion of private liquor sales, only UFCW Local 1776 and a few Democrats are stomping their feet screaming that they must get their way.

Last we checked, a hallmark of adulthood is making tough decisions. Not just kowtowing to whatever the unions are sputtering out. 

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