March 29, 2017
On February 21, 2017, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed a tax on sugary beverages for the City of Seattle. This tax, which would affect sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, pre-sweetened teas, coffees, and some fruit drinks, has already been implemented in several other major cities in the United States.
One of the most recent cities to adopt this type of tax is Philadelphia, where a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages went into effect on January 1, 2017.
The effects of this tax have been disastrous for the Beverage industry in Philadelphia. According to the Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 830, Danny Grace, the effects have been:
- Beverage companies as a whole have seen their sales decrease between 40%-54%
- Pepsi Philadelphia has announced a first round of layoffs of between 80-100 employees. Teamster commissioned salespersons for Pepsi have seen their weekly take home pay decrease between 50% to 70% due to lost sales in the market
- Coca-Cola has initiated layoffs of approximately 30% of its work force in Philadelphia
- Canada Dry/7-UP and Dr. Pepper has initiated layoffs of 35 Employees
The tax proposed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray would be $.02 per ounce, which is approximately 33.5% higher than the tax that went into effect in Philadelphia.
“The impacts of such a tax in Seattle will be devastating to the hundreds of Teamster members that are employed in the Beverage industry,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “And the impact wouldn’t stop there. This tax will have negative impacts on both Union and non-represented employees throughout the Beverage, Grocery, and Food Service industries as well. We cannot and do not support a tax that will put hardworking middle-class Americans out of a job, no matter how well-intentioned the tax may be.”