Letters: Soda tax will cost Teamsters' jobs

05092016-Soda-Tax
Opponents of Mayor Kenney's proposal to add a tax on sugary drinks took their protest to the street, demonstrating outside Philadelphia City Hall.

ISSUE | SODA TAX

Union jobs at stake

The Kenney administration's spin machine is in overdrive. In its cynical attempts to downplay the job losses Local 830 and other Teamsters locals will suffer if the regressive 3-cents-an-ounce sugary-drinks tax is enacted, the administration continues to say only Teamsters truck drivers would be affected. That's false, and the administration knows better.

The Teamsters fulfill multiple roles in the regional beverage industry. In addition to drivers, our members are fleet mechanics, production-line and warehouse workers, and merchandisers in supermarkets and corner grocery stores.

It's also false that lost sales of sugar-sweetened drinks would be offset by increased sales of water, diet soda, and other drinks without added sugar. That's not how consumers behave.

And for the administration to say that Teamsters' lost jobs would be offset by jobs created by programs funded by the tax is laughable. It would be little solace to our suddenly unemployed and struggling union members to know that the tax provided somebody else with a job.

|Daniel H. Grace, secretary-treasurer, Teamsters Local 830, Philadelphia, dgrace@team830.org