BCGEU responds to bogus suggestion by Vancouver Province writer on NDP and beer prices.
Vancouver (5 May 2009) - The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is challenging a Vancouver Province columnist for alleging in the closing days of the province's May 12 election that an NDP plan to raise the miserly minimum wage in B.C. would mean higher beer prices at private stores.
BCGEU president Darryl Walker has sent a letter to the pro-Liberal newspaper disputing the claim, arguing that if the newspaper is right private retailers would merely be using the wage increase as an excuse to gouge consumers.
"Private liquor store owners' claim that the price of beer will go up if we raise the minimum wage must be based on ‘new math' because it doesn't add up," Walker says.
"A March 2006 study by the Consumers' Association of Canada, shows that private liquor stores charge from 20% to 35% more than government stores, despite paying their workers much less, and after receiving a 16% discount from the B.C. Liberals," he adds.
"Government liquor stores pay family-supporting wages and benefits to their workers, and still manage to charge significantly less for the same product. Could it be that private liquor retailers are using the minimum wage as a smokescreen to divert attention from their price gouging? Say it isn't so!" Walker writes.
B.C. NDP leader Carole James has promised to raise B.C.'s minimum wage from $8 for regular workers and $6 for trainees to $10 across the board as part of her campaign platform for the election.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE