'In-house' perspectives I

| Sunday, March 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Only in Harrisburg! Public employees think outside the box to create a new product to fill a market demand, satisfy tens of thousands of paying customers and generate significant revenue for taxpayers, and for that they get criticized (“Lawmakers express sour grapes over LCB in-house label,” Feb. 27 and TribLIVE.com)? Only in Harrisburg!

The privatization ideologues should lose their rhetoric and focus on the facts. The success of TableLeaf wine reflects the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's ongoing effort to give customers what they want — more selection and better prices.

TableLeaf is the fifth most popular chardonnay sold in Pennsylvania. The brand has generated significant revenue for taxpayers, adding to the $530 million that the agency provided to the state's general fund last year.

I urge the Trib to look closely at how every retailer in the nation takes advantage of private labels. It's standard practice — right up there with coupons and Sunday sales. It would be news if the PLCB were not pursuing this opportunity.

Gov. Corbett and like-minded allies in the Legislature can ignore the facts and continue to push a reckless, philosophical scheme to dismantle Pennsylvania's Wine & Spirits stores. But they would be wise to listen to their constituents who are voting with their wallets: TableLeaf is a great product at a great price, and it came about only because of innovative public employees.

Wendell W. Young IV

The writer is chairman of the United Food and Commercial Workers Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Council and president of UFCW Local 1776, which represents some 3,000 state store workers.

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