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UFCW members facing new plan on Wine and Spirits sales

05.19.14

APRIL 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

UFCW members facing new plan on Wine and Spirits sales

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 1st- The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, which represents the majority of the workers of the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Stores, stated that some Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg and Republican anti-union Governor Tom Corbett are peddling a new privatization plan that was crafted in closed door negotiations with business privateers.

The UFCW Local 1776 represents employees of the liquor store system throughout the eastern part of Pennsylvania while Local 23 represents UFCW members throughout the western part of the state. UFCW represents workers that are employed as clerks and shelve stockers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represent mainly office employees including the Pennsylvania Labor Control Board (PLCB) auditors, which operates the stores.

The Independent State Store Union (ISSU) represent most lower supervisors of the system.

Since Mr. Corbett took office more than three years ago the Union’s have battle to keep the valuable money making system that has clearly been operating for the public good under ownership of the Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Privatizing the system would put more than 5,000 family-sustaining jobs in harms way.

The UFCW is calling the latest plan being peddled by the Corbett Administration as ‘privatization lite’, calling it a half-baked plan to let grocery stores sell wine including Wal-Mart stores.

Wine sales accounted for $821 million, or 41.83 percent of total state store sales, of all sales in the shops in 2013. The most popular wine brands, are those most likely to be sold by the big-chain grocers.

The Union believes the PLCB store operations would suffer on day one to lost of sales and revenues and family-sustaining jobs will be eliminated. Job losses will gradually increase year after year until the stores are completely gone, stated Local 1776.