From Robert Mangino
PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — With Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner appearing before the House Liquor Control Committee Wednesday to argue against privatizing Pennsylvania liquor sales, the largest union representing state liquor store employees is throwing its support behind him.
Wendell Young IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 1776, tells Robert Mangino that any existing problems lie with lawmakers’ mishandling of liquor funds, not with the system itself.
Mangino asks Young how privatizing would affect Pennsylvania’s revenue, as well as who would benefit the most from removing sales from state control.
Some see the home delivery as a move to stave off talks of privatization. Wagner argues privatization would turn sales over to big-box stores.
“Costco has approximately 170 products that they sell – 170 products of wine and spirits,” Wagner said. “A typical state liquor store has 2,500 products that it sells, so the selection and the availability to the customer will also be harmed.”
“You go into state stores throughout this state – there’s a few that have diverse selection, but not many,” State Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, said.
He says that not only will selection improve with privatization, but also the prices will be better as well.
“He doesn’t want to see this particular union not be in place with a controlled state store system – that’s what he’s ultimately trying to protect here,” Turzai said.
Turzai expects the full House to approve privatization before the end of the year. The bill will go to the state Senate early next year.