(PHILADELPHIA) – Teamsters from the tri-state area rallied this morning outside of city hall to demand that the city council repeal the beverage tax. Since its enactment in January, the beverage tax, which levies a tax on bottles cans and fountain drinks, has resulted in hundreds of people losing their jobs and has cost retailers a large part of the beverage market.
“This beverage tax has been horrible for our city and working families throughout the area,” said Danny Grace, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 830 which represents drivers, fleet mechanics, production-line, warehouse workers and merchandisers in soft drink production facilities.
Just last week, Cook County, Ill., which includes the city of Chicago, repealed their version of the beverage tax citing its inability to raise the funds it was predicted to and the adverse economic impact it was having on Illinois families.
“Chicago did the right thing, they repealed their beverage tax,” Grace said. “Since the implementation of the tax here in January our worst fears have been realized. It has cost 150 Teamster jobs – these were family-sustaining jobs. And, take home pay for those working in the beverage industry overall is down 15 percent!”
A Pepsi worker, Pat Hanratty, who is a 13-year member of Local 830, said that the tax is hurting Philadelphia. “People are out of work. There is less and less demand for soda products – we need our city council to repeal this tax.” Hanratty was joined at the rally by members of Locals 115, 929 and 107 all holding signs that said, “Ax the Tax”.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.