Delivery drivers picket Domino's prior to planned vote on union

Monday, November 27, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- More than a dozen pizza delivery drivers who want their own union picketed a Domino's store Saturday.

Union organizers say a store employee was fired earlier this year because he complained about a 10-cent wage cut for drivers. A Domino's spokesman said Jim Sullivan was fired for being late to work.

About 15 people picketed the store for an hour, said Jim Pohle, president of the American Union of Pizza Delivery Drivers, which formed this summer.

"They're seeking fair compensation for gas mileage," said Pohle, a delivery driver from Pensacola, Fla. "Most people don't understand that the drivers do not get the [extra] delivery charge."

Several pizza chains, including stores owned by Domino's, Pizza Hut and Papa John's, have instituted a $1 fee per delivery because of rising gas and labor costs. Pohle said those fees cut into the amount that drivers are tipped.

Sullivan said he was fired from the store in October because he complained about management cutting 10 cents from the 90 cents the drivers received for each delivery.

Tim McIntyre, a spokesman for Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino's Pizza Inc., said Sullivan worked for an independent franchise owner and was fired because he repeatedly showed up to work late.

McIntyre said he doesn't see a need for unions at pizza delivery chains, because they would be hard to sustain with the job's high turnover rate. He added that the owner of the Louisville store told employees that the 90-cent gas reimbursement would fluctuate with gas prices.

Pohle said workers at the Louisville store scheduled a union vote for Dec. 1.

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