The state House’s top Republican says he’s confident Pennsylvania’s liquor store employees would find well-paying jobs if state stores are privatized, but a union official says the claim is “delusional.” Privatization of liquor stores is expected to be one of the hot topics in Harrisburg over the next few months.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai of McCandless predicts state store workers would make “significantly more money” in the private sector, and says a privatization bill would include incentives for stores to hire the former state employees. “We’d provide tax credits to those employers that hire them, and we’d give vouchers to state and state-related schools if they want to go for additional training,” says Turzai, “we’d give them preferential points on available civil service positions available in state government.” Turzai says many of the state store employees will not need the extra help, “Particularly those that have real skills in the industry. I think the private sector’s going to gobble them up. I think they’re going to want them.”
Wendell Young, the president of Pennsylvania’s UFCW union, which represents the state store workers, says the offer of additional points on civil service lists is not going to be of much help. He says Turzai and other Republicans want to shrink the state budget by billions of dollars and if that happens there wouldn’t be any openings for new state jobs.
And young is worried that the sale of the state stores will reduce employment in the state. He fears many of the liquor licenses would be purchased by existing stores that wouldn’t need to hire new workers to sell wine and liquor.