Union Fights to Hold on to Government Liquor Monopoly in Pennsylvania

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


The obvious question is why should there be a booze monopoly in Pennsylvania. The obvious answer is because it benefits a union which then kicks back the profits to the politicians who maintain the boozopoly.

There are a lot of things that work this way in the United States, but the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Boozopoly is one of the more ridiculous examples.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is looking to break up the state’s Prohibition-era monopoly of state liquor sales in the face of mounting union opposition.

Under the current regime, liquor and wine can only be sold in government controlled stores, meaning “a person can’t leave the grocery store with a bottle of wine to have at dinner,” according to Corbett spokesman Eric Shirk.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 (UFCW) represents about 70 percent of the state’s 5,000 liquor store employees, who earn nearly $40,000 on average to stock liquor bottles and operate the cash register.

UFCW is one of the most politically active unions in the state. It spent nearly $300,000 in political and lobbying activities in 2011, while taking in $12.25 million in dues from nearly 21,000 members and agency payers.

The UFCW’s angle of attack has been to claim that privatization will put thousands of union members out of work (they can presumably get jobs selling liquor in real stores, but probably not at 40k.

But then why not impose a government monopoly on gasoline to be sold only by union members at special stores or on cars or sodas?

Like every union, the UFCW is describing the reform as an “attack” on wine and spirits stores that will only benefit big business and big liquor. And people who want to be able to buy liquor at their convenience. And the state budget.

“Gov. Corbett might get another helicopter ride or pleasure cruise on a yacht that his cronies will pay for. But thousands of working men and women will get nothing more than a pink slip,” Wendell W. Young IV,  President of UFCW Local 1776 said.

Wendell W. Young IV, ordinary working man, has an annual salary of $260,000. It’s unknown whether he takes yachting trips with his modest working man’s salary.

As a hedge, the UFCW is offering a modernization program that includes such innovations as Sunday liquor sales and home wine deliveries. Also on the list is market based pricing and “elimination of Civil Service for new hires, creating efficiencies, cost savings, better service, and increased profitability.”

I think that last one about says it all. Toward the end, the USSR had its Perestroika but that didn’t prevent the Berlin Wall from coming down.

 

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Unions are the shock troops of the Demsters and that is that – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/07/01/leftist-dogma

    Union thugs in America's cities are a mirror image of Israel's Histadrut.

    Adina kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Spikey1

    Freedom to & Freedom from – the cure for America's illness.

  • gee59

    I thought that the US Supreme Court ruling on the sale of wine and beer would have put an end to the monopoly. It is legal to purchase wine directly from the winery since 2005 in the United States.

  • Mary Sue

    We had this problem in Canada. Some provinces still do.