Pizza Hut workers and delivery drivers across Western Washington are fighting to organizing a union in their workplace. BRENT – a delivery drive and Socialist Alternative member – interviewed other drivers about the dilemma they face in struggling to keep their vehicles running on Pizza Hut’s poverty wages. This article is reprinted from Pizza Worker’s Voice, the underground newsletter of the Washington Pizza Hut unionization movement.
For delivery drivers, it’s never a question of whether your car is going to break down. It’s simply a question of when.
After all, taking ten to 20 deliveries per night has its consequences. Automobile maintenance is a constant problem, and many drivers are beginning to complain that the sixty-cent delivery compensation they receive just isn’t adequate.
“It’s always there in the back of your mind,” said Mike, a driver for several years. “You’ve got that one nagging question: Is this gas-guzzling beast going to make it through the next run, or am I going to have to buy a ten-speed?”
Another driver standing next to him quickly chimed in: “It’s total paranoia. Every time I hear so much as a rattle coming from under my hood, I’m like: Christ… here it comes. Half my car’s held together with duct tape.”
A driver named James complained about going hungry for several days after having to choose brakes for his car over food. He has since filled out a union card.
With the unionization movement spreading through Tacoma and Seattle, it seems like other drivers agree. In addition to demanding that the full $1.60 delivery charge be paid to drivers, many now say Pizza Hut should set up a repair fund that pays for automobile maintenance.
“They need to do something,” Mike said. “After all, they’re the ones who are getting rich off us. If we weren’t out there busting our humps delivering these pizzas, there wouldn’t even be a Pizza Hut.”
Top company officials say there isn’t enough money, but Mike disagrees. “That’s total crap. These guys are swimming in money. There’s a Pizza Hut on every damn corner. You think they built all those restaurants with smiles and free love? That took money, lots of it – money created by OUR deliveries.”
“In reality,” said Mike, “we call the shots. If we stop working, they stop making money. It’s that simple. They know it. That’s why upper management has been making so many trips to the area lately. They’ll do anything in their power to try and stop this thing, but we’ll beat them in the end.”
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