(CHICAGO) — Teamsters Local 727 applauds the repeal of the Cook County Beverage Tax Ordinance today by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. The repeal, which goes into effect December 1, means that working families will no longer be required to pay an exorbitant amount of money for soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages. It also means that Chicago-area beverage industry workers, thousands of whom are represented by Local 727, will no longer be at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the tax.
It was estimated that more than 6,000 jobs could be shed by the industry because of the penny-per-ounce beverage tax. Additionally, estimates projected lost wages as high as $321 million for beverage production workers and delivery drivers. Cook County was expected to lose $1.3 billion in economic activity with businesses shuttered and consumers shopping beyond Cook County for groceries and beverages.
“Finally, the Cook County Board has done the right thing for millions of consumers and thousands of beverage industry workers in the metropolitan area,” said John Coli Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727. “From the first day this poorly-constructed tax plan was introduced, Local 727 remained committed to protecting hardworking Teamsters and their good-paying jobs. Our legislators need to pursue sustainable solutions to satisfy the budget without nickel-and-diming Cook County’s working families time after time.”
For years, Local 727 has urged the Cook County Board to abandon similar beverage tax proposals, providing lawmakers with concrete evidence of the detrimental effects such levies have had on workers and industry in cities like Berkeley, Calif. and Philadelphia. During rallies and town halls, and in multiple op-eds, the Teamsters have helped lead the charge for county government to consider other taxes, including rideshare surcharges, which could meaningfully increase revenue over time.
Local 727 represents nearly 2,000 beverage industry workers throughout Cook County. These include workers at Pepsi, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Great Lakes Coca-Cola Distribution, Dr. Pepper Snapple and Home Juice. Local 727 has negotiated and secured strong contracts for hundreds of Home Juice, Coca-Cola and Pepsi members over the past year.
Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 10,000 hardworking professionals throughout Chicago and northern Illinois.