Leaving aside the question of whether a soda tax would have been a good idea, it was interesting to see Harold Honickman, owner of Pepsi and Canada Dry bottling operations in New Jersey that provide nearly 20 percent of the city's soft drinks, playing so well with Danny Grace, business manager for Teamsters Local 830, in the political theater that was City Council last Thursday.
In 2005, Honickman brought in replacement drivers and warehouse workers and a security force, allowing him to run his plants at 75 percent capacity while letting the Teamsters hang out on the picket line for a month.
After Mayor Nutter's attempt last year to pass a soda tax, Honickman, his wife Lynne and their children, along with Teamsters, significantly upped their donations to City Council candidates. You can read my colleague Jeff Shield's excellent Philadelphia Inquirer story about the political spending that happened in advance of last Thursday's vote.
Here's my comment: For all his money, Honickman probably would have been unable to stop that tax on his own. He needed the Teamsters to show up en masse, to contribute en masse and to provide the kind of visual reminder that may have proved persuasive in City Council. Both the Teamsters and the Honickmans understood that their futures are linked and both were able to cooperate. I've seen it over and over again when it comes to these kinds of issues -- an example that I can remember was joint testimony by the United Steel Workers and owners of steel pipe manufacturing companies. Their issue was competition from China.