PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Labor problems are threatening a Philadelphia institution.  Drivers for Amoroso’s Bakery have declined to accept changes in their employment agreement with the company, meaning that the rolls that hold many Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies together are not getting delivered.

US marshals ordered drivers, members of Teamsters Local 463, off the picket line shortly before noon today, after Amoroso Baking Company got a restraining order in federal court.

The drivers had been in front of the West Philadelphia bakery, near 55th and Baltimore Avenue, since midnight, when the entire driving staff was laid off in what the family-owned bakery describes as a “change in business model.”

Instead of employing the drivers and paying them wages and benefits, Amoroso’s wants the drivers to buy their routes and become independent contractors — a deal that the union’s business agent, Joe Ryder, says most of the drivers turned down.

“This is just a trickle-down effect of greed,” Ryder told KYW Newsradio.   “He wants to put a couple extra million in his pocket, so the money goes from the middle-class pocket into the rich pocket.  And it’s unacceptable.”

The company says most bread companies already operate this way and that it would make Amoroso’s more competitive.  It’s given the drivers until next Monday to buy a route before it begins selling them off to others.

Meanwhile, a lot of trucks were sitting idle at the bakery and the drivers predicted a lot of steak and hoagie shops were going to be running out of rolls.

Reported by Pat Loeb and Al Novack, KYW Newsradio 1060

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE