As private liquor sales loom, some state workers wonder what to do

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As of June 1, the state of Washington will no longer be in the liquor business, and for some state workers, that means adjusting to an unexpected new reality.

“I don’t want to start all over again. I’m not getting any younger,” said one state worker we talked to. She asked that her identity be protected.

She said it’s hard to be asked “100 times a day” by customers what she’s going to do next.

“It is tiring,” she said. “It’s tiring for any employee to have to explain their personal life or what they are going to do in their next chapter.”

The state estimates about 1,000 Liquor Control Board employees will lose their jobs once liquor sales are privatized. Voters approved the change last fall in the form of Initiative 1183.

Some, like the worker we talked to, are trying to get new jobs in state or local government so their Liquor Board retirement credits can be transferred.

“King County, City of Seattle, City of Snohomish – any city job, any state job that is realistic for me to work at,” the worker said.

Some will be able to retire. Others are going to work for Costco, but some have admitted to being resentful of the company, which was leading the charge to take the state out of the liquor business.

“I don’t know too many (state workers going to work for Costco). I just know a couple,” the state worker told KIRO 7.

Asked if she would personally go to work for the company, she said, “no.”

Other store workers KIRO 7 spoke to said they were very appreciative of the assistance the Liquor Board is providing to help them find new jobs. Many said they would stay on with the state until mid-June to help clean up and clean out stores that are being shut down to make way for whatever comes next.