Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How Baltimore's beverage tax cost Baltimore jobs

 They can't say we didn't warn them. Back in April, the Teamsters said that a 2-cent tax on every beverage container would kill jobs. The city went ahead and imposed the tax. Now 77 good-paying Teamster jobs are gone. According to The Baltimore Sun,

The last cans and 2-liter bottles of Pepsi-Cola, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and other sodas ran through the production line Monday morning. Executives at Pepsi Beverages Co. told workers in meetings later in the day that production would be halted for good. Pepsi officials said they would work out details regarding the layoffs, including potential severance, with the local Teamsters union.

The company will continue most other functions at the plant on Union Avenue in Hampden. An additional 318 workers with positions in sales and in the warehouse will keep their jobs. Pepsi will continue making soda in other parts of the state and the Baltimore plant will get beverages from those facilities as well as others in the Mid-Atlantic region to distribute.
This is exactly what the Teamsters said would happen last spring. Local 570 secretary-treasurer Sean Cedenio issued a statement saying the tax would hurt beverage workers and their families. He said,
We are very concerned for our members who work for beverage distributors. We’re already seeing a shortage of work for our members. During these challenging economic times, the last thing we should be doing is causing jobs to be cut.

This time, there's no satisfaction in saying "I told you so."