On February 21, 2017, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages for the City of Seattle. On April 27, 2017, the proposed tax was lowered to 1.75-cents-per-ounce, but expanded to include diet beverages as well.
Similar taxes have already been implemented in several other major cities in the United States, most recently in 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 jobs in 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 1.75 cents per ounce, which is over 16% higher than the tax that went into effect in Philadelphia.
The Teamsters have been fighting hard against this tax on every front, including press conferences, news interviews, one-on-one meetings with members of the Seattle City Council, public comment during Seattle City Council meetings, producing an op-ed detailing our opposition to the tax, and more.