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Unions would likely be affected if state stores are sold

01.18.11

JANUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Unions would likely be affected if state stores are sold

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 6th- The debate of whether Pennsylvania should sell their state liquor stores to private owners is likely to resurface during the 2011 session of the General Assembly in Harrisburg and the three labor unions that represent the workers will likely be affected if the stores are privatized.

The United Food and Commerical Workers Union (UFCW) represents the majority of the workers employed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which operates the retail stores. The UFCW represents shelf stockers and clerk workers.

Most lower tied supervisors of the system are represented by the Independent State Store Union (ISSU) in Harrisburg while the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represents mainly office employees including auditors.

Should the stores be “sold-off” to private owners the unions would likely lose members and may even be removed as the bargaining representative of the employees.

There are approximately 625 liquor stores throughout Pennsylvania and the LCB also operates liquor stores located in around 50 grocery stores.

Currently, the system generates millions of dollars in profit including creating $400 million in tax revenue, which in put into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania general fund.

Supporters of privatization suggest the selling of the stores would general $1.5 billion of state revenue yield, but it would be a one-time infusion of funds.

Before a sale can be held legislation would need to be passed in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and signed by Republican Governor Tom Corbett, which supports privatizing the stores.

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