New Booze Brawl in Pennsylvania Puts 5,000 Public-Sector Workers At Risk
The victory by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election last week means public-sector workers will continue feeling the heat in many parts of the country. In Pennsylvania this week, the political flames threatened employees of the state-owned liquor stores.
On June 11, the state House of Representatives debated a bill that would eviscerate the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, eliminating about 4,000 union jobs in the process. The debate had union representatives scrambling in Harrisburg, shoring up support among elected officials and maneuvering to prevent a quick vote on the measure.
Any vote now would likely be very close and the workers have no guarantee of victory, according to David Wanamaker, a representative of the small 700-member Independent State Store Union. The bill’s main sponsor, House Majority Leader Speaker Michael Turzai (R), had scheduled the bill for further action on June 12 and June 13, but the items were pulled from the calendar at the last moment, Wanamaker said.
“The vote count seems to change by the hour. At one time we hear that he has one vote more than needed (for passage) and then a couple of hours later we hear that he is still five votes short. It’s tight,” says Wanamaker, a former president of the union of store supervisors.