Saturday, November 28, 2015

State Store Workers Bite Back

The union representing state store workers hits the sponsor of a bill to sell the stores with a tough radio ad in his hometown.

State Store Workers Bite Back


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Well, boss, it's on.

BE: Already? It's Monday.

JB: Yeah, well, tell it to United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1776.

BE: The state store union? What's it up to?

JB: Up to its ears in listening to plans to sell off the state stores. It's running a politically tough radio ad against Mike Turzai in Turzai's hometown. You can hear it by scrolling down a little on the union's website.

BE: Turzai as in House GOP Leader Turzai, as in prime sponsor of the bill to privatize liquor sales across the state?

JB: That's the one. The union ad calls him "heartless."

BE: Because he wants rivers of bordeaux and bourbon to flow through the commonwealth?

JB: No, sir. Because it's "ridiculous" to sell an entity that makes lots of money for the state, keeps booze "out of the hands of our kids" and "throws 5,000 people out of work."

BE: How heartless is that? What is Turzai thinking?

JB: Hey! That's exactly what the ad asks!

BE: But isn't this union just interested in protecting the pay and benefits of its members?

JB: I suppose that's possible.

BE: On the other hand, isn't Turzai just interested in selling the stores to his corporate cronies?

JB: Again, oh clairvoyant one, words taken from the ad script.

BE: Well, it sounds like a political campaign is up and running.

JB: Along with the truth-stretching that goes with campaigns. The ad asserts unemployment is at "10 percent."

BE: Well, it is in some states.

JB: Right. Just not here. It's 7.4 percent in Pennsylvania, 9.2 nationally, according to latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

BE: The truth is always the first casualty of war.

JB: The union hopes Turzai's the first casualty. It gives his office phone number in Pittsburgh and encourages listeners to give him an earful.

BE: So I guess it's on.

JB: That's what I said. Grrrr.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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