Little Rock Delivery Driver Concerned About Working Conditions

Apr 7, 2020

Some Arkansas pizza delivery drivers are concerned about working conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As many people are using delivery services to limit their time in public during the current health crisis, those who deliver the goods are in high demand. But one delivery driver who spoke with KUAR News expressed grave concerns about her job. We're not naming her employer.

Sarah Chaney delivers pizzas and says she wanted to raise attention that many like her aren't being adequately protected or compensated. A key concern is that her restaurant delivers to a Little Rock nursing home that has had over a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"That’s just an elevated risk beyond the already elevated risk that we're taking," she said. "So we were not going to deliver [to the nursing home]. We didn't deliver there for about two or three days, and then our franchise owner found out that we were not delivering there and started making us deliver there."

Chaney says the owner of her restaurant has not provided masks or hand sanitizer for drivers. Her employer is part of a national chain. Owners of each franchise have some flexibility over operations and whether to offer paid time off.

She says her employer did not start requiring customers to choose no-contact deliveries until last weekend. Chaney says she has a chronic health condition and began taking extra precautions after multiple COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Arkansas.

"I would always tell customers when I hand them my pen, 'Just so you know, I'm sanitizing my pen between deliveries.' And probably a month ago about 80 to 90 percent of people were laughing at me and saying, 'Oh I don't take this seriously.' Now people are saying thank you and they're not laughing anymore."

Despite an increase in the number of deliveries, sometimes to areas with confirmed cases, Chaney said her restaurant has not offered any kind of bonuses. Some hospitals and grocery store chains have increased hourly wages or given bonuses to workers.

"I think a lot of people don't realize that we're only making $5 an hour [while delivering], so they don't tip.”

At a time of increased risk, Chaney said she's concerned that she and other delivery drivers are being treated like they're "disposable." Chaney added that she doesn't get paid time off.*

*This story has been corrected. The original draft stated that Chaney does not receive health benefits, but she does pay a monthly fee to her organization for health insurance.*