Fighting the Beverage Tax

  • Fighting the Beverage Tax: Martin Luther King County Labor Council Passes Resolution Against Beverage Tax

     

    For Immediate Release
    May 22, 2017

    MARTIN LUTHER KING COUNTY LABOR COUNCIL PASSES RESOLUTION AGAINST BEVERAGE TAX

    Resolution is an important step in fight against Seattle’s proposed beverage tax

    On Wednesday May 17, 2017, Teamsters Local 174 presented a Resolution before the Martin Luther King County Labor Council urging them to “Beware of the Beverage Tax: It is not what it seems.” The Resolution, which demanded that any beverage tax proposal include measures to address the negative impact on working families, was passed by the Council in a unanimous vote of the delegates.

    In recent years, beverage taxes have become more and more attractive as potential revenue sources for cities and municipalities across the United States, including in the City of Seattle. However, these taxes have been shown time and time again to be destroyers of good jobs in the beverage industry and other related industries. Despite mounting evidence of this, beverage tax proponents have consistently failed to consider the adverse impacts these taxes have on the thousands of Union members who produce, warehouse, and deliver these products.

  • Fighting the Beverage Tax: Silenced Speeches for the Seattle City Council

    May 19, 2017

    On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the Seattle City Council met to take public comment on their proposed Beverage Tax. This tax, if implemented, would devastate jobs in the beverage industry in Seattle, just as it did to workers in the beverage industry in Philadelphia when a similar tax was implemented in January of this year. You can learn more about the background of the situation here.

    Unfortunately, the Council limited comments and our members were not given the chance to speak. However, we will NOT be silenced. If we can’t speak in the City Council Chambers, then we will speak here instead.

    Here are our stories:

  • Fighting the Beverage Tax: Seattle City Council Meeting — May 3, 2017

    May 3, 2017

    Today, the Seattle City Council held their first meeting that involved public comment on the proposed Beverage Tax. The Teamsters strongly oppose this tax because it is a demonstrated killer of good jobs — a similar-but-lower tax destroyed hundreds of Teamster jobs in Philadelphia, and we do not want to see the same situation arise in Seattle. Read more about our position here and here.

    Several Teamster members in the Beverage Industry came to give testimony in front of the Council.

    Adam Murphy, Local 174 member at Columbia Distributing; JR Noa, Local 174 member at Coca-Cola; Luke Vaule, Local 174 member at Coca-Cola; and Anthony Brown, Local 174 member at PepsiCo

  • Fighting the Beverage Tax: Teamsters Back at City Hall

    April 27, 2016

    Representatives of the Keep Seattle Livable for All Coalition

    Teamsters Local 174 — along with representatives from Teamsters Local 117, Teamsters Joint Council 28, and members of the Seattle business community — showed up at City Hall in Seattle today to continue our fight against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed Beverage Tax. Mayor Murray held a press conference at 9:15 this morning to announce further details to his plan, including the addition of diet soda to the 1.75-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages.

    The Teamsters have been opposed to this tax from its inception, having seen firsthand the damage that beverage taxes inflict on family-wage and Union jobs (read more about our position here). We will not support a tax that will put hardworking middle-class Americans out of a job, no matter how well-intentioned the tax may be.

    In order to make our voices heard, the Teamsters and our coalition held our own press conference at City Hall immediately following the Mayor’s. Teamsters Local 174 Business Agent Pete Lamb was interviewed extensively by several news outlets, and he spoke eloquently about our deep concern that this tax will destroy good jobs in Seattle — just like it did when it was implemented in Philadelphia earlier this year.

  • Rick Hicks

    Fighting the Beverage Tax: You can’t fight obesity by killing jobs

    Rick HicksAn Op-ed by Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks

    The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages proposed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is a disaster in waiting for local workers, businesses and families. On its surface, the tax may sound like a good idea: fighting the obesity epidemic while funding education at the same time – who wouldn’t like that? But the reality is that it is working families who will end up shouldering the heavy burden of this proposed tax.

    Similar taxes have already been implemented in other major cities in the United States, and the effects have been devastating to workers. Teamster families at Local 830 in Philadelphia have already begun to feel the negative impacts that this tax creates, as Philadelphia started collecting a 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages on January 1, 2017.

    Since then, Local 830’s Principal Officer Danny Grace reports that: 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, and 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.

    All of these job losses have come from a tax of 1.5 cents-per-ounce – but Seattle Mayor Murray has proposed a tax of 2 cents-per-ounce. That is 33.3% higher.

  • Fighting the Beverage Tax: Press Conference on April 4, 2017

    April 4, 2017

    Our fight against the proposed Sugar Tax continued yesterday, as the Teamsters participated in a press conference to announce a coalition of small business, labor, and immigrant groups who all oppose this two-cent-per-ounce proposed tax on pre-sweetened beverages within the City of Seattle.

    Teamsters Local 174 Business Agent Pete Lamb gave a speech highlighting the job-killing effects of this kind of tax, which have already been seen by Teamsters in Philadelphia.

    View the Seattle Times article covering yesterday’s event below.

    You can read more about Teamsters Local 174’s position on this issue by clicking here.

    View our photos from yesterday’s event:

  • Fighting the Beverage Tax: How has a Sugar Tax affected Philadelphia, and how could it affect Seattle?

    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.”