Backs privatization of our state’s liquor stores

To the editor:

Mr. Wendell Young’s Sept. 3 letter about liquor store privatization (he’s the head of the liquor workers union) opens by challenging the conclusions that privatization would lower DUI arrests. On the face of it, I agree with him: What logic says somebody is more or less likely to drive unsafely depending on where he had bought his liquor? You could make the reverse case that with more private liquor outlets, alcohol would be easier to get and that DUI would go up. But if you say you don’t want that to happen, you regulate the number of liquor stores, as we have now. But why should we let any DUI happen? Why don’t we close all the liquor stores? Well, we did that once, under Prohibition, and we know how that ended up.

Later in his letter, Mr Young’s true concerns come out: His dislike of privatization in general and his concern for the number of jobs would go down. Again, I don’t follow the logic of such a conclusion. Selling liquor requires the labor to lug a carton into a store, put its bottles on a shelf, and stand at a check-out counter. How is that effort less under privatization, especially if there will presumably be more stores?

Mr. Young’s real concern in that privatized liquor workers may not be unionized; that therefore total union dues may go down and that therefore maybe his paycheck will go down. For him, that’s more important than the convenience, selection and price competition that would result from privatization.

John Brittain