Thursday, November 18, 2004

Brotherhood of Pepperoni

Pizza drivers seek national union

Let me start by saying I do not agree with unions. I don't agree with collective bargaining. I believe an individual should stand on his own merit and be rewarded (raises, bonuses, promotions) or punished (demotions, firings, etc) based on his or her job performance. The idea of collective bargaining destroys individual merit. If I have a co-worker who does 20% less work than I do, they shouldn't be paid the same amount as me. This whole "brotherhood" thing sets up an "us versus them" environment that is not conducive to a successful business. The union advocates like to talk about the fact that without the workers, there would be no business. That is true. What they don't mention is that without the owners and managers (more to come on that), there would be no business either and they would be out of a job.

I don't want to turn this into a rant about unions in general, so I will go back to the pizza story. I've had many different jobs in the 17 years I've been working. In high school, I worked at a grocery store, a pizza place (non-delivery) and a movie theater. I remember looking forward to being 18 so I could deliver pizzas. The idea of getting paid to drive around all night listening to the radio sounded awesome. Sure you had the occasional interruption where you had to get out and go to someone's door, but if you were listening to a cassette (insert age joke here), you stop it and pick up right where you left off.

Three months after I turned 18, I moved into my own apartment and got a job at Pizza Hut as a driver. They paid me $4 an hour, plus tips, plus $.50 a delivery (it was 1990). I also got a free meal while working. On a Friday or Saturday night, I could make $50-$75 in tips and deliveries. Wednesday and Sunday nights were close to that(church nights). Other nights, I'd make $30 maybe. Still pretty good money for an easy job. That job would have gotten me through college, but it turned out that Pizza Hut's policy was all drivers had to be 19 and the manager had overlooked my age on the application. Once he found out I was only 18, he had me answering phones. $4 an hour without tips and trip fees does not pay the rent, so I had to quit and go elsewhere. A few years later, I managed the delivery operations for Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Side note: everyone looks at me funny when I say that KFC had a delivery service. It was a test in several areas and then went away completely. I'm proud to say that my store and 1 other in the Nashville area were profitable. All others failed miserably.) I also worked at Domino's as a driver. I'm sharing this to let you know that I am familiar with pizza delivery.

and are reimbursed 50 to 75 cents per delivery — no matter how far it is.
That is true. No matter how far it is. If the delivery is next door, they still get the same amount. It balances out over a night. Also, on busy nights, you generally take several orders that are in the same area. During my delivery days, I had 3 deliveries on the same street on many occasions.

to pay drivers a mileage reimbursement of 30 cents to 40 cents per mile
Paying mileage isn't really fair to the restaurants. Not all drivers are created equal and sometimes they get lost. Should the store pay for them to wander around town? Also, drivers would lose out on those times when you have multiple deliveries in one area.

Pizza drivers do not need a union. It is an afterschool job for college students, not a skilled position. If this guy has so much time on his hands that he can organize a union, why doesn't he go to school and find a career instead of a job*.

*By this I mean certain types of work are just "jobs", and others are "careers." They are not necessarily based on education, so don't think I'm putting down careers that do not involve going to school. Managing fast food restaurants is a career, delivering pizza is a job.

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