Pennsylvania union boss crashes rally for liquor privatization

By   /   March 14, 2013  /   No Comments

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – Rallies are a part of life in the state Capitol.

Hardly a day goes by without some group, association, alliance or agency taking over the rotunda for an hour to pump up support for their favorite bill or public policy. It’s an equal-opportunity soap box for ordinary people to use in the hopes of catching the eye of the media and the lawmakers.

The unwritten rule about these kinds of events is that even those who disagree with a certain position or piece of legislation allow them to continue unimpeded. It’s about decorum, first and foremost, but it’s also about common courtesy – I’ll let you shout about whatever you want today and you let me shout about whatever I want tomorrow.

The one thing that never happens is one group openly shouting down another.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the head of one of the unions opposed to liquor privatization decided to break that rule.

The man in the forefront of this video is Wendell Young IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776. The people behind him in yellow T-shirts are other members of the union.

The man speaking from the podium in the rotunda is Dave Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, a pro-business group that favors privatizing the liquor stores.

Young and his fellow union members have a few strong opinions about the liquor privatization plan being pushed by Gov. Tom Corbett and some Republicans….we’ll let you listen for yourself:

Incidentally, the video was shot by Matt Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank in Harrisburg that also favors privatization.

One pro-privatization official (not the aforementioned Brouillette or Taylor) described it to me as being like a scene from “On The Waterfront,” the 1954 Marlon Brando flick about unions and some of their less-than-diplomatic methods.

The privatization plan is scheduled to hit the House Liquor Control Committee on Monday morning – fireworks of the verbal variety are sure to be included there as well.

Boehm is bureau chief for PA Independent and can be reached at


Eric is a reporter for and former bureau chief for Pennsylvania Independent. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he enjoys great weather and low taxes while writing about state governments, pensions, labor issues and economic/civil liberty. Previously, he worked for more than three years in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, covering Pennsylvania state politics and occasionally sneaking across the border to Delaware to buy six-packs of beer. He has also lived (in order of desirability) in Brussels, Belgium, Pennsburg, Pa., Fairfield, Conn., and Rochester, N.Y. His work has appeared in Reason Magazine, National Review Online, The Freeman Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Examiner and elsewhere. He received a bachelor's degree from Fairfield University in 2009, but he refuses to hang on his wall until his student loans are fully paid off sometime in the mid-2020s. When he steps away from the computer, he enjoys drinking craft beers in classy bars, cheering for an eclectic mix of favorite sports teams (mostly based in Philadelphia) and traveling to new places.