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State budget would let liquor employees cash out sick leave, if they stay through transition

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on April 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
April 18, 2012 3:05 pm

About 900 state liquor employees will lose their jobs when spirit sales are turned over to the private sector this June, but there’s incentive in the state budget for some of those workers to stay to the end.

If signed by the governor, part of the budget would let employees, such as retail store managers and liquor store clerks, cash out 25 percent of their sick leave – if they stay until June 15 and are later laid off.

“It will be a relatively small number of employees I think,” said liquor board spokesman Brian Smith. “The idea is to be able to help with the orderly transition by retaining these employees to help in the stores and the distribution center.”

Voters passed Initiative 1183 in November, choosing to privatize Washington’s liquor sales and distribution.

State stores close June 1, but it will take several weeks to wrap-up operations, Smith said.

Liquor employees have been leaving for others jobs as the June deadline approaches, and the board could consolidate some stores before then if staffing becomes a problem. Read Monday’s News Tribune story for more details.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is able to veto parts of the budget, but Smith said: “the indication was that the governor supports that idea.”

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