Point Austin: Beside the Point

Council notes

Point Austin
There's no council meeting today (Thursday), but you may want to get down to City Hall this afternoon anyway – a commercial designs standards "charrette" (architect's French for "workshop") will be going on 1-5:30pm in the Boards and Commissions Room, featuring models and site plans exhibiting the building as well as landscaping features the proposed standards (scheduled to return to council for a public hearing next week) are trying to address. (For more info, see www.ci.austin.tx.us/development/

Although the council postponed action on most major items, last Thursday's meeting was not without moments of drama. A proposed five-year, sole-supplier contract with Pepsi for city buildings was pulled from the consent agenda, for several reasons, but mostly because the Central Labor Council wanted to speak against the local bottler's handling of two years of ongoing labor negotiations with drivers who want a union contract. CLC President Louis Malfaro told the council that the National Labor Relations Board had confirmed seven complaints of unfair labor practices against the local company; Pepsi sales manager Jim Head responded that the company has treated the workers well but negotiations are deadlocked on a few issues. In sum, Malfaro said, "We're not asking you to spike the deal. What we are concerned about is this: We don't want our tax dollars being offered to a company in an exclusive arrangement, a company who is dealing in bad faith with Austin workers and with Austin citizens." In the end, the council agreed to a six-week delay for the parties to continue negotiating while council continues its contract review. The high point of the discussion came not over the labor question, but after Mayor Wynn asked a company rep about Pepsi's local market share and was greeted instead with a sales pitch. Wynn told him brusquely to sit down, adding, "And our citizens don't get fit by drinking a lot of Dr Peppers, Cokes, or Pepsis!" That's telling 'em, Your Healthiest.

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Austin City Council, City Council, commercial design standards, Louis Malfaro, Jim Head, National Labor Relations Board, Central Labor Council, Will Wynn, Pepsi

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