Len Amoroso, who runs his family's century-old West Philadelphia roll bakery and its grocery and restaurant delivery lines, says he's "sold or committed" contracts for 62 bread routes to Teamster drivers who would become independent operators, paying their own insurance and road costs instead of working long shifts as company employees, under a proposal that's supposed to go into effect later this month.  

Not everyone's making the move, however. Amoroso acknowledged drivers who are nearing retirement age aren't happy about borrowing $100,000 or more to buy their routes.

So "we're working with the union" (Teamsters Local 463) on a new contract that would allow some drivers to remain employees, Amoroso told me. (Amoroso already used 20 independent drivers before the current proposal, he says.)

He says the shift to independents would cut costs. Amoroso faces competition from other roll bakers, including Liscio's of Norristown, which has stepped up advertising in the South Philly pro sports stadiums and other venues. Most competitors already use independent drivers, he says.

For drivers who would remain employees, Amoroso's has proposed a contract that drivers tell me would reduce drivers' share of sales (to 10%, from the current 14%) and also reduce time off. Amoroso declined to discuss terms while negotiations are still happening. The current Teamster contract expires in July. By then Amoroso hopes to have his independent drivers' contracts in place.