Liquor store employee union could stall privatization

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Efforts to privatize the sale of liquor and wine in Pennsylvania encountered what could be a serious setback yesterday as the union representing 3,500 employees of Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor stores announced they've ratified a new labor contract that runs through mid-2015.

One union leader says the pact requires any private companies that take over all or any portion of liquor and wine sales to hire displaced state-store employees and to adhere to contract provisions covering salaries, health insurance and pension benefits.

The president of Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers says the state must advise prospective operators that the contract is binding in its entirety.

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