Published On: Thu, Dec 8th, 2011

Unions File Suit Against Measure to Privatize State Liquor Sales

A lawsuit has been filed in King County to invalidate recently passed Initiative 1183 – a measure which privatized state liquor sales. The lawsuit was filed by two unions that represent nearly one thousand workers, who would lose their jobs if I-1183 were to go into effect.

The lawsuit was filed on grounds that the measure violates the state Constitution by addressing more than one subject.

Costco Wholesale Corp. spent $22 million to help pass I-1183, a state record for initiative fundraising.

According to The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents state liquor store workers, over 700 people will likely lose their jobs when the liquor stores close. Further, hundreds of Teamsters who distribute liquor, wine, and beer will also be affected by the new law, said the union.

“Our democracy is threatened when one corporation like Costco can write a complex initiative, pay for the signatures, pay for the ads that control the debate, all the while avoiding discussion on the other parts of the proposal that are the true motivations by the corporation in the 1st place,” said Tom Geiger, Communications Director of UFCW 21. “Costco did it this way to hide the fact of these other provisions. And that is in essence the reason why the single subject rule exists. To limit the deceitfulness, it requires the advocates for an initiative to be truthful about what is and is not in the initiative.”

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