The union representing workers at New Brunswick Liquor Corporation stores and warehouses is deeply concerned over increasing privatization of NB Liquor. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says plans to add 15 new agency stores across the province – announced this week – is the wrong move for the crown corporation and the people of New Brunswick.
“Expanding the number of privately owned and operated agency stores isn’t the best option for New Brunswickers,” says Daniel Légère, president of CUPE New Brunswick. “The public NB Liquor Corporation run stores are far superior in customer service, social responsibility, and provide steady reliable revenue growth for the province.”
Légère says workers at the Corporation run stores have more and better training, letting them offer a much higher level of customer service than at agency stores.
“When you go to one of the Corporation run stores, they can depend on being served by workers with extensive knowledge of the products – a level of expertise you don’t often see in the agency stores,” says Légère. “This is the level of customer service New Brunswickers want and deserve.”
When announcing the plan to open the agency stores this fall, NB Liquor officials cited a desire to increase the number of places to purchase liquor and increase sales as the reason behind the expansion of the privately run stores.
“NB Liquor is already profitable, with revenues steadily growing over the last 35 years,” says Légère. “If the crown corporation really sees a need to increase sales, concentrating on improving, expanding, and strengthening the Corporate run stores would be a much better game plan.”
As an example, Légère says there should be an expansion in the hours of operation for the Corporate run stores – recently cut by 2 hours a day.
“Having the Corporate run stores open earlier, and stay open later, would increase sales, a welcomed move for customers, and a better option than privatization,” concluded Légère.
CUPE represents over 500 liquor store and warehouse workers across New Brunswick.