Union hits Corbett on liquor privatization; says will ‘destroy business’

Governor Tom Corbett says he wants the state Senate to give him a liquor privatization bill by June 30th. And until that time, the union representing liquor store workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, will be airing television and radio commercials calling an end to the state monopoly a “reckless scheme” that will “raise our taxes” by “hundreds of millions of dollars” and “destroy small business.”

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“The governor and the folks that speak on his behalf have been going around since February pushing the concept of privatizing liquor stores in order to save his job,” says Wendell Young, the president of UFCW Local 1776, when contacted by PW, “and in doing so, they’ve been dishonest… And it’s not just liquor. Anyone who’s been following politics in PA, you look at the things the courts and the attorney general has overruled him on. Public opinion is certainly not with him in general and his electability is pretty low.”

Regarding the details of the ad, Young took on the governor’s and others’ claims that privatization would be good for small business and provide for more competitive prices with other states. The push to privatize liquor stores has been going on for decades, though Corbett has come further than any other governor in history to getting it done.

“They claim [the PLCB] loses money and it’s a burden on the taxpayers, and there are other examples,” Young continues. “At the press conference that the governor did from Pittsburgh, he talked about border bleed in Delaware, where, everybody knows that’s because of the differences in state taxes and has little to do with the privatization or public sale of liquor.”

Governor Corbett seems to have made liquor privatization a hallmark of his as-yet-unannounced re-election campaign. PW reported last week that the governor’s Twitter account has tweeted about liquor privatization, on average, in more than half his social network publishes

Gov. Corbett’s approval rating has regularly been in the negative and recent job numbers show Pennsylvania lagging behind other states—which several of his opponents blame on his economic priorities. When asked about unemployment last week on PA Matters, Corbett noted more of the state’s unemployed just need to say no to drugs.

Privatizing liquor, however, is one issue on which public opinion polls have often been on his side. Which explains why he’s pushing so hard for the legislation. In a recent speech after coming back from a trade mission to Brazil, Corbett implied Sao Paulo, Brazil’s liquor laws were better than Pennsylvania’s.

Young added this is not the only ad UFCW Local 1776 plans to release.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

27 Responses to “ Union hits Corbett on liquor privatization; says will ‘destroy business’ ”

  1. Albert Brooks says:

    How many things can we pick out that are lies?

    1. The Governor didn’t try to privatize the lottery, the sate would still own it, but tried to privatize the management…just like New Jersey is doing now.
    2. Liquor privatization will cost hundreds of millions in taxes really? To do that would mean sales have to go down by 20% or more. Does anybody see that happening?
    3. There aren’t 5000 people who work for the PLCB and there will still be workers needed for regulation and licensing the same as now.
    4. A liquor store on every corner….since the number of liquor stores would double that means we have a liquor store on every other corner now. That isn’t even stretching the truth, that is flat out lying.
    5. Increase crime? I guess that would depend on how well the PLCB licenses and regulates.
    One truth, MADD is against the idea. 5 lies in 30 seconds. I’m sure they can get to six next time if they leave the one true fact out.

    Privatization IS Modernization

  2. Bfiedler says:

    Give it up Mr. Brooks, you have already stated your distaste for employee’s making a half decent living, modernization will take care of any inconvenience the public is unsatisfied with, longer hours, Sunday sales and direct shipping to homes instead of stores. Never will any business satisfy one hundred percent but modernization is a win, win solution for consumers and taxpayers, keep the revenues in house instead of huge bonuses for CEO’s of large corporations (my guess is you don’t care how greedy they are, as long as members of your community aren’t gainfully employed)

  3. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    1. The Governor tried to privatize the management of the lottery. He used the word himself.

    2. The tax loss could easily be a billion over the next dozen years.

    3. No one said 5000 people worked for the PLCB. Include the family owned beer distributors that will close and the 5000 lost jobs is probably a low figure.

    4. If you actually read the bill (Brooks is betting you won’t) the provisions to allow bottle sale at bars and wine licenses will increase the number of alcohol outlets to tens of thousands.

    5. Years of studies show crime rates are related to alcohol consumption and outlet density.

    As Deb Beck testified before the Senate Law and Justice Committee, if you can’t tell the difference between a loaf of bread and a bottle of vodka you may have a problem. Here is a clue; One is food the other is a drug.

  4. Albert Brooks says:

    I didn’t know that beer distributors were large corporations. You need to tell them that. Let’s talk about modernization, The PLCB sets store hours not the legislature. If they wanted longer hours then they could have done that 20 years ago. Instead a number of stores that were open until 10 now close at 9. The PLCB sets the number of stores not the legislature, they had 692 stores in 2000 and have about 600 now. That is so much more convenient for the public. Look at the requirement for a winery to ship to PA, it isn’t changing except that the delivery will be to a home instead of a state store. Now look at how many wineries have signed up to do it. Last I checked it wasn’t even 200 but that was over a year ago, maybe it is 300 now. How about the “modernization” of the stores from Shoppes to FW&GS…at the rate they are going it will take over 100 years to complete and that is not an exaggeration. Freedom of choice, not having a bureaucrat decide what the citizens can or can’t buy, and competition are the win win for the citizens of PA.

    Privatization IS Modernization.

  5. Albert Brooks says:

    And the sky is falling the sky is falling Mr. Rzodkiewicz. You have some credible evidence for your billion dollar loss? Only the union would come up with the idea that alcohol is not profitable and sales will go down unless sold by union workers in government monopoly shops.

  6. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    Albert adding another lie to your spiel won’t help your case. Legal hours of operation, as well as the number of stores open on Sunday are defined in the liquor code. Read it someday. Seems you still can’t tell the difference between bread and vodka. Your wrapped up in the flag tea party appeal for freedom doesn’t apply at all unless you are advocating making all recreational drugs legal and open to the whims of the free market. Alcohol kills more people every year than all the illegal drugs combined.
    Note to PhillyNow. Have you ever considered insisting folks use their real name on comments? Allowing shills to post in disguise like Albert does allows the lies to flow freely with no accountability.

  7. Albert Brooks says:

    Reading comprehension John, I didn’t say anything about Sunday. The hours of operation does include 10PM but that doesn’t explain why some stores cut back hours to 9PM I see you didn’t have anything more to say about your billion dollar loss.
    Maybe PhillyNow could fact check your TV ad…of course it would never air then.

  8. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    In response to Alberts “Ooh ooh U just thought of something else” comment at 7:19. Of course liquor will still be profitable! The difference will be the money will go to multinational corporations like, um, Southern Wine and Spirits and the private retailers like Wal-Mart instead of the general fund.
    Privatization of public assets is theft. Simple as that.

  9. Albert Brooks says:

    Southern Wine is headquartered in Miami and is privately held by US owners.

    Still no billion dollar evidence..

    I always thought that freedom of choice and less government intrusion were principals of the founding fathers, little did I know that they didn’t come about until 225 years later when the tea party was formed. If other drugs are legal they should be regulated, not sold by the state….just like they are now in Pennsylvania. You union guys crack me up.

  10. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    @ Albert 8:06 I tossed in Sunday to inform the public I know you don’t like an informed public but that’s just to bad. Store close at 9, 10 , or earlier as business dictates. In Kutztown they close at 6 at the request of the Mayor to help combat the student drinking problem. In State college they close during the State Paddies Day drunkfest for the same reason. Even though they would make a huge profit in this system the public good comes first.

    I obviously can’t give you exact numbers on the revenue loss. The Governors report from Public Financial Management predicted declining Plcb revenue but exactly the opposite has happened over the last two years. If a report that cost the taxpayers big bucks can be wrong so can I. I will predict a loss though because the private stores will have a higher initial cost of goods. Wholesalers like, um, Southern Wine and Spirits will like that. The taxes remain the same, no savings there. Then the states single 30% mark-up will be replaced by a wholesale and retail profit margin that averages 20% and 25% percent in the industry. The higher prices will result in more border bleed, and while the privateers will still make a profit, state revenues will decline.

    When will explain why Captain Crunch and Captain Morgan are really the same thing? Another great quote from the Senate hearings that came from Mr. Bender went some thing like this; If you put 100 people in a room with 100 bottles of booze and came back the next day you would find seven had drank half the bottles…and the rest will be cleaning up the mess. The numbers are backed by national statistics. In a recent Gallup survey well over half the respondents said they drink rarely or not at all. Only 20% drink once a week or more.

    As for your fact check (funny concept considering you post with a fake name) Wendell Young, President of UFCW 1776 will give testimony and stand for questioning at the last Senate hearing on June 4. Governor Corbett has been invited to do the same. Since you may be the last person in Pa to trust Tom Corbett what do think the chances are he will stand and defend his scheme? I see him in hiding that day. Would you consider filling in for him if they let you where a mask and muffle your vice so you can’t be identified? That would be sweet!

  11. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    Founding fathers? Bad reference Albert. The first tax applied to repay France for the war debt was put on the most uselees thing they could think of, Whiskey. The first time George Washington led troops against his own citizens it was to enforce the tax. I don’t believe any one whose thinking is befuddled with a mind altering drug is truly free.

    Glad to hear Southern is only operating in the US and only peddling American made products these days.

  12. Albert Brooks says:

    The better the public is informed the better chances we will get rid of the state stores. I have no problem with that. What the PLCB did with state stores on State Paddies Day is no different then what private bars did too. Civic responsibility starts locally and is not dictated by the state. One could make a good case that if local communities had more authority over the bars and clubs in their area without having to wait and depend on the PLCB, things would be better.

    The state single mark up? What about the bottle fee, the round up, the new fees for bailment? All those little hidden fees I don’t see you informing the public on.

    Yes the testimony without any verification by Mr. Bender was ahh, shall I say, unique. He didn’t provide a single fact, study, work product or any numbers at all to back up his claim in his written testimony and so far has failed to make any of them public.

    Good that Wendell will talk, maybe somebody will ask him some questions, it is his job after all. If the Governor shows great, if not it isn’t “his” plan anymore anyway since it was amended. Trusting the Governor has nothing to do with privatization. The idea and attempt has been made a few times well before Mr. Corbett going back 40 years. This time something is going to happen and hopefully it will be the state completely getting out of retail and wholesale and solely into regulation and licensing where it belongs.

    Privatization IS Modernization after all.

  13. Albert Brooks says:

    The most useless thing? Revisionist history John? Whiskey was a major commodity, almost anybody who could distilled as a way to not only make money but to keep grain from going bad. George Washington himself was the largest distiller in the Americas for a time. However, you didn’t see the state or federal government selling it but they did regulate and tax it and the citizens had freedom of choice on what and where to buy.

    Of course, I wasn’t the one pushing the drug for 30+ years you were so whom is fooling whom here?

  14. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    You’re sounding desperate. You don’t know why booze and bread are different products and still believe everyone wakes up in the morning thinking about where they are going to get their alcohol. Really wish you’d don a Burka and testify for the Guv. It’s your job. He is still pushing for passage of this bill. Frankly I believe if he showed it be the end. Help your buddy get some campaign bucks!

    Here is a link that shows how private stores encourage college students to drink.


    Privatization Enables Inebriation.

  15. Albert Brooks says:

    Is this where I should post the Mother’s day vodka ad or the date rape ad or the TableLeaf ad or maybe the PLCB budget that shows they spend more on advertising then education. So many choices.

  16. Lew Bryson says:

    John, stick to the point. HOW will there possibly be a loss of a billion dollars?

    You and your union buddies love to bring up Washington State, where privatization was put in by referendum last year. You often note that prices went up (without mentioning the 27% increase in “fees” that came in at the same time) and that cross-border sales in Oregon and Idaho are up…but even there, sales IN Washington are up, as are tax revenues.

    So why would you believe that “The tax loss could easily be a billion over the next dozen years”? Can you provide any kind of numbers that make sense? Keeping mind that no one actually knows what bill will actually come out of McIlhinney’s committee at this point, of course, since this is, as Albert rightly points out, no longer Corbett’s plan.

  17. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    More double talk. Is Corbett still pushing it? Is it part of his legislative agenda? If he didn’t twist arms in the House would we even be talking about this right now? It’s the Governors plan to privatize, no doubt about it. He probably will send the Lt. Guv or an aide and confirm his vested interest. I guess since health care reform was amended the wing nuts should stop calling it Obamacare. Get real.

  18. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    From Lou’s comments on Washington state I guess he agrees that “Privatization enables Inebriation” but in his world that would be good for society. Unfortunately health care providers, law enforcement, religious and, other groups working for the betterment of society disagree.

  19. Albert Brooks says:

    It took me awhile to get to it but as I said, if they PLCB wanted to have longer hours they could since the liquor code allows 7AM to 2AM sales Monday-Saturday. If they wanted longer hours of operation they don’t need legislative permission. They could have “modernized” that decades ago. There is nothing in Title 47 or 40 that prevents it.

  20. Albert Brooks says:

    Let me make the above more clear. There is nothing in Title 40 or 47 that I found that prevents it. Maybe John can show me otherwise since he knows the code so well.

  21. Lew Bryson says:

    John, the only reason you want to link “Corbett” and “PLCB privatization” is because Corbett privatizing the lottery was unpopular. Well, sure: I didn’t support that, and I don’t like the idea of privatizing the Turnpike, either.

    But guess what: a majority of Pennsylvanians DO favor privatizing the State Stores (oh, right, except in the poll YOUR UNION commissioned, which I’m sure was a shock to everyone), so you’re desperately trying to link it to another privatization. Not the same thing, sorry, and most people don’t agree with you. Majorities of Pennsylvanians across the board support privatization of the State Stores: Democrats, progressives, union households. We’ve wanted it for 30 years. Now we may finally get it, and you’re fighting to keep it from us, and trying to make us believe that it’s for our “safety,” not because it’s about union jobs.

    I have no idea where you get the idea I would agree with such a nonsensical statement as “Privatization enables Inebriation.” That’s YOUR idea, and no serious science supports it. Your precious CDC report is based on junk science, and it’s being debunked by real scientists.

    Stop putting words in my mouth, and answer the question: how could “The tax loss could easily be a billion over the next dozen years”? Just answer the question. Or admit you don’t know.

    Privatization IS Modernization.

  22. Joe says:

    There’s a union for LIQUOR STORE workers?!


  23. Lew Bryson says:

    Joe, you know what’s really weird?

    There’s another union for liquor store MANAGERS. Now that’s weird.

  24. Albert Brooks says:

    Even odder is that once you reach a certain level of manager you don’t have to belong to a union and none of the ones that I know at that level do.

  25. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    Total misinformation by from those that want to line there pockets. No such thing as a union for ” liquor store workers” The UFCW represents over a million working class citizens world wide and tries to build a strong middle class, the foundation of a working society. Sorry if your pissed off about that. Albert continues with his outright lies when he says upper level management “chooses” not to belong to the union. BS. They cant refer to NLRB.

    More crap from Albert. Liqour stores in Pa can legally stay open til 2am? Look it up yourself. The kids are getting really desperate. Louie is a different case. A sad one. Check the link to University Liquor posted above and decide where you want your sons and daughters to attend college. Maybe they won’t grow up to say that “drinking and writing about it is what I do best”. I think we all want our kids to do better than that! As a parent I would be embarrassed. As a child I wouldn’t be bringing Dad to class for show and tell!

  26. John Rzodkiewicz says:

    @ King Louie. How will society benefit from using alcohol from early in the day to bed time? Follow Lew Bryson on twitter if you don’t get my point.

  27. Albert Brooks says:

    You are saying that you don’t know about the hours, classic response. As I said I didn’t see it but it could be there. However, if one could find it – it should be in ARTICLE III: Pennsylvania Liquor Stores Section 3-301 which doesn’t say anything about hours except Sunday. Prove me wrong, I’ll eat the crow cold, I’m adult enough to admit when I’m wrong.

    So tell me why a 1A – 1B manager can’t belong to a union? He is still a liquor store manager just one of a busy store. I didn’t mean Regional managers. Who is the one spinning things now….what union does one HAVE to belong to (or at least pay fair share if they don’t want to join) if they work full time in a PA liquor store? That is the liquor store union. How many people choose NOT to belong and just pay fair share? You work for the union John, should be easy for you to find out.

    Still waiting on that billion dollar loss info too.

    Privatization IS Modernization.

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