Pizza delivery driver petition sign now

To Congress:
I support changes in the law that will govern restaurants that have pizza delivery. Below is a letter that was drafted by a delivery driver in the Midwest. It will help clarify work problems and offer possible solutions.

Congressional Senators and Representatives:

Hello. My name is Mike Tiffany and I live in Arnold, Missouri. I have been a pizza delivery driver for more than ten years. I wish to discuss the pizza industry with you. I think there many things that should be brought to your attention. Pizza delivery drivers are being taken advantage of by owners of small and large pizza restaurants and national chains. I think we need new laws to protect drivers and govern the pay and work load. Would you want your son or daughter to get a job delivering pizza and be taken advantage of by a store owner?

Some pizza stores pay their drivers nothing an hour. They pay a small delivery charge and tips. The delivery charge will not pay for gas. It will not cover the cost of car repairs. This causes drivers to go deeper and deeper in debt as store owners become richer and richer. The tips are a guessing game. If stores pay nothing an hour, fifteen percent should be added to the customer's bill. I think tips should be against the law. It should become a service charge and be mandatory. Of course, if the driver is rude to the customer the driver should get nothing, but that's a different issue. Delivery drivers should have the right to self-determination. These stores say you are self-employed, so why can't drivers set their own wages?

As a delivery driver, I have been robbed three times and had at least a dozen more attempts. I was held up by four men with two guns. They got $25 and two pizzas. Another time, I was robbed and they hit me in the mouth with something that put my teeth through my lip. They stole two pizzas and my lip still isn't right after ten years. The first time I was robbed, a man dragged me by my foot down a flight of stairs in an apartment building. A robber once tried to take the pizza by force but my hand was caught in a strap on the bottom of the pizza bag. The bag opened and the pizza flew out of the bag, landing in a mess. In another attempted robbery, a group of men chased me on foot but I was too fast for them and they got nothing. I jumped in my car and sped away. This job is dangerous in more ways than one. I have many more robbery stories like this and the store won't even pay me a worthwhile wage for the risk I take daily.

My car was once slammed into by a drunk driver while I was on the job. I never saw a penny from the drunk driver. I had to borrow $1,800 to buy another car from my eighty-year-old mother to keep my job. The law did not protect me from the drunk driver and the pizza store owner didn't care. He didn't offer me a penny. I drove on his behalf to deliver his pizza so he could make money, but he didn't care if I lived or died just so as long as he could get rich. He didn't even have the decency to offer money to buy another car. After all, it happened on the job. He should have to deal with the situation and do the right thing. I have never had the money to pay back my mother and after I risked my life for the pizza store, they fired me. They didn't even remember what had happened and the risk I had taken for them.

I am always cut off in traffic. A month ago, someone cut me off and it caused my car to spin around four times. I must be cut off in traffic 25 times a day. Motorists and the store owner don't care. One guy cut me off and I told him what I thought of it. The next day, he and his friend stalked me and tried to run me off the road several times. They followed me to work and tried to start a fight. My boss fired me. I was the victim in this case, the one cut off and stalked. The list goes on and on with the abuses I suffered. It's time someone did something about it.

Large companies like Pizza Hut, Domino's, and Papa John's observe the minimum wage law. However, they give a tiny mileage reimbursement that can't possibly pay for the use of a car. Mileage reimbursement should be at a proper level to pay for the car. Domino's gave their drivers a ten-cent increase, so now they are reimbursed 60 cents per delivery. For 60 cents, they might have a ten-mile round trip. A courier would get 29 cents a mile for a total of $2.90. A Domino's driver gets 60 cents. They advertise the driving job at $10 to $15 an hour when in fact they pay minimum wage. If you want the other $9 an hour, you have to get it with tips. This is clearly false advertising and deceptive. If they advertise $15 an hour, they should have to pay $15 an hour. They found a loop hole in the law that was meant for truck drivers, so they don't have to provide a car for deliveries. I think they should have to provide a car or at least charge customers properly for delivery.

Some smaller pizza stores pay nothing an hour or perhaps two or three dollars an hour. I think we have minimum wage for a reason. If you allow this practice to continue, I believe they should have to charge at least a $5 delivery charge. The drivers or Congress should decide the amount but not the owners. I think Congress should appoint someone to look into this and possibly make laws to govern delivery charges. If they pay a driver less than minimum wage, a fifteen percent tip should be mandatory. Otherwise, the driver is working for free. A fifteen percent tip or service charge should be on the bill and the customer should have to pay it or else not have it delivered. If the store owner lets the customer not pay the fifteen percent, the owner should have to pay it to the driver if the driver was not at fault in making the customer unhappy. Owners often take more orders than they can service. It makes the food late or cold. As a result, the driver is not tipped. In cases like this, the owner should have to pay the tip because understaffing was not the driver's fault. Owners should take responsibility because it is their business and they are the entrepreneur and should take the risk instead of drivers.

Customers do not have a constitutional right to pizza delivery. This is a luxury service. Food from a grocery store is a necessity but restaurant food is a luxury. Don't let anyone fool you. To have food brought to your door is a double luxury, so either the store owner or the costumer should be required to pay the driver a proper wage. The owner should either have to pay the driver $20 an hour or the customer should have to pay the driver a proper fee for the delivery. You need to decide. Both the customer and the store owners are trying to get something for nothing. Drivers are caught in the middle. If customers want cheap pizza, let them buy frozen pizza at the supermarket if they won't tip. If the owner wants to deliver to someone who won't tip, let the owner put the delivery in his or her own car and deliver it instead.

In 1980, the price of a pizza was roughly ten dollars. Today, it is eight dollars. Owners are trying to live in the past and pay 1980 wages. Almost everything costs more. Housing, food, and gas cost more, but people expect pizza to stay cheap. I am afraid they are living in a dream world and need to adjust for inflation. Something has to change, whether it be an increase in the hourly wage or in a service charge. The owner or the customer should pay or a combination of both. Congress needs to decide a proper way to pay drivers that all pizza restaurants must follow.

As I see it, laws are created to protect people from abuse. People in this industry are being abused and Congress needs to protect them. I find it strange that people talk about an air traveler's Bill of Rights when we don't have a worker's Bill of Rights, not that air travelers shouldn't have rights, too. Quite frankly, Congress needs to look into this. The unions won't touch it and we have no representation. Someone must step in.

I do not want to stop pizza stores from making a profit. I think owners have a right to make a profit, as much as they want. They also should not keep their drivers from making a profit. If drivers can't make money, no one will want these jobs. It will cause stores to go out of business. This will mean jobs lost and tax revenue lost. Owners can't seem to see the light. They always think of today and never tomorrow. Congress will have to wake them up. The owner of Imo's Pizza has a tennis court and a bowling alley in his house. He pays his employees next to nothing. What are they going to do when no one wants those jobs because they won't pay their drivers right? They will go out of business because of corporate greed. They will lose their business, jobs will be lost, and tax revenue will be lost. Action must be taken to assure that drivers are compensated properly. We don't want more economic recession in our country.

I have tried to outline the situation and give ideas for change. I urge Congress to look into this and take action. If you have any questions, you can reach me at [email protected] I would be very happy to answer any questions you might have and even testify before Congress, if needed.

In summary, these are my points:

1. A store should not pay a driver less than federal or state minimum wage. If it does, a fifteen percent gratuity must be included automatically in the bill.

2. Mileage reimbursement must equal the value of a car used. The courier rate for mileage should apply to drivers or something very similar.

3. Congress should pass special laws aimed at prohibiting unwanted interference with a pizza delivery driver. Ideas include increased fines for traffic accidents if one is at fault in an accident with a driver and special anti-harassment laws.

4. No store should be allowed to advertise that drivers make up to ten, twelve, or fifteen dollars an hour unless it is the actual hourly wage. No store should advertise this blatantly misleading ad on any form of media. This includes banners, posters, pizza boxes, box toppers, car toppers, or ads of any kind. (It has the effect of hurting our tips. This point won't be necessary if tipping is abolished.)

5. Tipping should be abolished and replaced with a steady wage of $15 or $20 an hour. The customer sees the driver for about twenty seconds. That is not enough time to judge the driver's service. Almost all the driver's work takes place outside the customer's sight, as opposed to a waiter. The time it takes to drive to a customer's house remains virtually constant. Late times are not caused by drivers. According to Domino's training films, 90\% of late times are caused by the store and not the driver. To keep drivers from possible slacking, stores should implement a general timing scheme to monitor performance.

6. If the owner won't provide a company car, the owner must assume a meaningful percentage of financial responsibility for accidents or damage to the driver's car if it occurred on the job and the driver was not at fault.

7. No driver should be required to be the primary dishwasher person in a dine-in restaurant. This is essentially a double shift for the same amount of pay.

8. No driver should be required to have a car topper on his or her car. There is enough advertising in this multibillion dollar business. Car toppers attract unwanted attention, increasing the already high risk of robbery. No driver should be reduced in pay, reduced in mileage compensation, or be disallowed to drive for not using a car topper.

9. No driver should be required to carry more than $20 for purposes of making change. Since carrying money is dangerous, special exceptions to this rule must not be allowed.

10. No pizza store should deduct from a driver's pay the difference in price to cover a missing coupon or a coupon that a customer refused to give. Neither should a driver be reduced in mileage compensation for this.

11. No person other than the driver should have access to money and tips stored from deliveries during a shift. Only the driver should handle and count the money before giving the required amount to the store at the end of the shift. No manager should interfere with this process.

12. No driver should be held responsible for a bounced check. Since it is the policy of the store to accept checks, it is their problem to collect on bad checks and not the driver. The driver is not a collection agency and should not be put in danger by collecting money from bad checks. Money should never be deducted from a driver to cover the cost of a bad check.

13. No store should be allowed to advertise "free delivery" if the drivers are tipped employees. This is misleading in that it confuses customers into believing the driver is not tipped.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Tiffany

I support this petition. I testify that I am at least eighteen years of age and a citizen of the United States. (Please insert your name and address.)


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Jocelyn SandersBy:
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