Self-defense issues cause Ohio pizza delivery workers to consider unionization

The Buffalo (NY) News is reporting that robberies and assaults are prompting pizza workers to carry guns, and to consider unionizing so that they can better bargain against employers who would deny them their right to self-defense

From the story:

    Three robbers ambushed one man at the back door of a West Side house, kicking him in the head and sending him to the hospital.

    Another man was slammed into a wall on Laird Street and threatened up close with a large combat knife.

    Still another stared down the barrel of a gun and watched his car being stolen, leaving him abandoned on Domedion Street on a frigid February evening.

    These victims weren't looking for trouble.

    They just wanted to deliver some hot pizzas.

    All three men were on the job - which the federal government describes as one of the most dangerous professions in America: delivering pizzas.

    Pizza delivery workers typically work for minimum wage and tips, peddling pizzas worth 10 or 15 bucks.

    But these deliverymen say they might as well have targets painted on their backs.

As OFCC has previously reported, a Tennessee organization is now pushing for unionizing pizza delivery drivers. And while it's making news in Buffalo, New York, a search of Ohio media online shows no mention of the pending vote to unionize Mansfield, OH pizza workers who are concerned about their right to protect themselves when making deliveries.

Again, from the story:

    The Association of Pizza Delivery Drivers could welcome its first unionized pizza store in the country on Monday when Domino's Pizza drivers in Mansfield, Ohio, hold a union election.

    Jeff Callahan, the president of the association, hopes the Ohio events set a precedent. Although the Mansfield group cites reimbursement rates, wages and benefits as reasons for unionizing, the APDD puts safety at the top of its list.

    "Delivery drivers enjoy the fifth most dangerous occupation in the U.S.," the group says. "This in and of itself is the only reason that we need what we are doing."

    The union said nine drivers were murdered last year across the country. Of 414 robberies it analyzed, criminals wielded a gun 63 percent of the time and money was successfully taken 77 percent of the time. A third of the delivery workers were injured during a robbery.

    The risk associated with the job is the nature of the business, some say. Others, though, are fighting back. They're carrying weapons or fighting their attackers.

    That's what happened April 20 in Niagara Falls, when a pizza deliveryman shot a teenager who tried to rob him with a fake handgun. The incident in a Pierce Avenue alley left 16-year-old Anthony Sheard dead of a gunshot to the head.

    The 54-year-old deliveryman for Mr. Ventry's Pizza is in counseling to help him deal with the incident. The deliveryman, who has not been named by police for fear of retaliation, was licensed to carry a concealed gun and did so because he was robbed three years ago.

Click here to read the full story in the Buffalo (NY) News.

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