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Union says it is bad for private industry to sell liquor in Pa.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has been worrying about its future for many years now, at least a little bit. Now, the union representing the workers in the state-operated liquor stores are apparently sweating the possibility of privatization passing in the legislature.

Liquor Sign
Cameron Russell (CC)

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 released a new television ad warning of the highly dangerous repercussions of having liquor available anywhere other than the state-owned stores.

Apparently UFCW thinks that the residents of Pennsylvania will believe that if the local convenience store can sell liquor, it will end up in the hands of children immediately. Bear in mind that six packs of beer and wine coolers have been showing up on shelves in selected grocery stores, and that most if not all of those stores have taken advantage of the "age check" function for those transactions. What does that mean? In order for the cash register to complete the transaction, the store clerk must scan a state-issue ID card for proof of age of the customer. Additionally, there is typically a limit of how much one person can purchase at one time - as in two six packs, or one 12 pack of beer.

Funny thing is, the cash registers in the state-owned liquor stores, where people can buy much more potent alcoholic drinks, can do transactions without checking for ID. Of course the signs in the stores say that the clerks will check ID on anyone that appears to be under the age of 30, but there is nothing said about them absolutely having to verify a customer's true age. The same goes for beer distributors - another group that isn't very happy with the idea of privatization.

As for this new ad, it claims that there was a study in North Carolina that showed that children die because of alcohol being sold in convenience stores. Of course the small print citing the study is minuscule.

Another point they make is that the state makes money on alcohol sales. It doesn't point out that in that bargain, the state also is responsible for paying for the stores, the employees' wages, health benefits, pensions, all the logistical costs of transporting and storing alcohol, and the high wages for the people that are in charge of the whole system. And obviously, the union doesn't point out that they will lose more than a little money in dues if there aren't any state store employees to represent anymore.

But, it's for the children! We must stop the evil legislators from putting the horrible alcohol in so many places where children go! Just don't pay attention to the technology that's already there to keep alcohol out of the hands of children if it is in stores that don't sell just alcohol. And don't point out that the union members, because they aren't using that technology, are more likely to end up putting alcohol in the hands of children.