2003 Introduction

In October of 2003 workers at Emerald City Pizza, a Pizza Hut franchise in the Tacoma/Seattle area, began an extensive organizing drive to improve their wages and working conditions.

The fight was long and bitter. Some workers spent more than eight months going store to store, patiently explaining the benefits of forming a union. In the end, however, the movement fell short of victory. Nonetheless, it galvanized many Tacoma Pizza Hut workers and rallied support from Emerald City employees all over Western Washington State.

Despite the fact that no union was formed, Pizza Hut delivery drivers were still able to achieve several small victories. In an attempt to kill the union movement, Emerald City reluctantly gave a twenty-cent-per-hour raise to every driver in Western Washington, an extra $700 dollar bonus for drivers who pass the 10,000 deliveries mark, and an additional $70 for every 2500 deliveries taken. Upper management also put an immediate stop to a rapidly increasing delivery charge. This was the hated policy that sparked the campaign in the first place.

Far from being an example of the Hut’s boundless generosity, these pay increases were merely an attempt to buy off the campaign at a low cost to the company. Initially, this tactic failed. Management then launched a very elaborate and expensive union-busting operation to derail the workers’ efforts. This included intimidation of activists, promises of change, and mandatory meetings where employees were forced to sit through hours of pro-company, anti-union propaganda.

Last, but not least, this was topped by the president of the company taking a two-month-long goodwill tour of every restaurant in the area. To finally break the back of the movement, the owner of this multimillion dollar company was forced to ride in the coffee- and junk-food-littered cars of delivery drivers night after night and beg them not to unionize.

Close to six months have passed since these meetings and none of management’s promises has come to fruition. This pamphlet will attempt to answer why and address what our next step should be.

Spreading this information can seriously strengthen our organizing drive and, ultimately, lead to increased wages and better conditions for workers at Pizza Hut. In order to take this campaign to the next level, we now need to strengthen our activist base in the movement. If you agree with these arguments and our campaign, please get in touch with us to see how you can help.

Most workers in other pizza companies and other fast-food companies face similar conditions of work to those we face at Pizza Hut. We have written this pamphlet in a way that addresses issues facing other workers in fast food. Through the campaign at Pizza Hut, we met numerous people interesting in organizing a union at Papa John’s, Domino’s, Pizza Time, and Red Robin’s. We know there are countless other workers who are looking for a way to fight back against their fast-food bosses. As restaurant workers, we face similar conditions and need to unite for victory.