By: Allen Smith
Talks concerning a trucker strike in the United States have been going on for years. Labor strikes are nothing new, with the first recorded worker strike dating back to ancient Egypt when the Artisans of the Royal Necropolis at Deir el-Medina came together on November 14th, 1152 B.C.
In modern day America, truckers are no different. With many trucking strikes taking place through out the years, most have proven to have little impact on achieving their intended goal. A few hundred truckers here, and a few hundred there, most often, trucking strikes tend to fade away as simply as they began. There is only one reason why strikes by the American trucker have little effect . . . there has never been a well thought-out and organized plan that would bring all truckers together in an effort to change things for the better.
All truckers of CMV’s, local, regional, long haul, union and non-union, would need to band together nationwide, and commit to a long-term trucking strike. A short- term strike would certainly grab the attention of the United States, but would only be short-lived, and eventually, life would be back to normal. It would only be through a long-term trucker strike, that America would see the importance of trucks and the American trucker.
I began thinking about this scenario. What would be the real life affects from a long-term trucking strike in the United States? Naturally, trucks from our borders of Mexico and Canada could offer some relief, but as you will see, even this assistance would have very little affect on the havoc that this type of trucker strike would have on this country.
A well organized, non-violent, nationwide trucker strike by American drivers would not only wreak havoc on the U.S., but would spread globally. The short-term affects would be felt within a matter of days and would escalate to a much higher level within just a few weeks. I looked further into the future as to what long-term consequences would come about from such a strike. The outcome would prove devastating.
Never announce the date for a trucker strike.
In today’s world of technological advances, word spreads in a blink of an eye. One reason a strike by truckers go by with barely a blip in the news, is that it has been done before on such a small scale, that nobody takes it seriously.
In 1974, the United States Atomic Energy Commission heard of a possible trucker strike. John G. Davis, the Deputy Director for Field Operations, Directorage of Regulatory Operations, ordered the following bulletin to be dispatched to all heads of office:
Truck Strike Possibility
“Please dispatch the enclosed Bulletin to those licensees on the attached list which are located in your Region. Also, send copies of the Bulletin to all operating reactors and those reactors which may receive fuel for loading within the next six months.”
“At this time there is no indication that the truck strike will gain great momentum, but we understand that some incidents of a minor nature have occurred in Ohio.”
“Enclosed, as RO Bulletin 74-2, is information concerning a possible truck strike that may influence your shipment of special nuclear material. Please note that should the strike occur and should you have special nuclear material shipments routed through the strike area, a report is requested of you.”
“It has come to the attention of the Atomic Energy Commission that a truck strike may develop during the period of January 24-31, 1974. Preliminary f information indicates that if the strike occurs it will probably be localized in the northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania areas. It is doubtful that the strike will be nation-wide. There is a possibility of isolated incidents. In view of the foregoing and your obligation to safeguard special nuclear material subject to the requirements of 10 CFR Part 73, you are requested to consider the consequences of this possible strike in scheduling truck shipments of SNM in quantities of 5 kilograms of contained uranium-235 or 2 kilograms of plutonium and/or uranium-233 for delivery during the duration of the strike.”
“Possible actions on your part to reduce the impact of any such strike on safeguarding of SNM include: (1) delay truck shipments until the strike period is over; (2) route shipments to avoid the strike area; (3) use other modes of transportation when available; (4) if shipment is already in transit and it cannot be routed to avoid the strike area, place shipment in storage and keep under surveillance for the duration of the strike.”
“If the strike does occur and you have truck shipments routed through the strike areas, please advise us by telephone, confirmed in writing within 24 hours, of your shipping plans and any preventive actions you may take.”
January 23, 1974
Therefore, by advertising the exact date that the strike will begin, if it were to be taken seriously, would give everyone time to stock pile supplies and prepare for a longer hold-out against the strike, as well as a means of preparing strategies to defeat the strike. By always announcing the date that the strike will begin, is defeating the purpose. Like the little boy who cried wolf, a trucking strike has been announced so many times through out the years, that nobody listens anymore. On the other hand, this could actually work in favor of the truckers.
In order to have a successful, nationwide strike, all eight million U.S. CDL holders, or at the least, a mass majority, would have to keep the exact strike date a secret. Naturally, word will leak of a strike, but let the date leaked be a false one. If everyone believed it to be real, let the country think that May 4th will be the day that the strike will take place. However, known only to the truckers, the nationwide shut down would actually begin on April 17th. Caught totally off guard, there would be no time for stock piling and preparation.
Trucking strike causes mass panic.
In the recent snow storm of the Mid-Atlantic region, the area was paralyzed by the massive blizzard. Within hours of the news, many local D.C. stores were bought out and left with empty shelves. With news of the second blast coming through, within just a few short hours, gas stations were out of gas. During the fuel shortage of 2000, it took only a couple of hours before the stations were out of fuel supply. This should tell truckers one thing . . . when a major event is certain, the population reacts with mass panic.
It is with this mass panic and rush buying from consumers, that the short-term and long-term affects of a nationwide trucking strike begins . . . followed by complete devastation:
- Within a matter of several hours, gas stations would be out of fuel.
- School buses could not run. Eventually, schools, colleges and Universities would shut down.
- Law Enforcement vehicles would be left on the side of the road.
- According to usage, eventually, all of the approximate 145,381,402 vehicles in the U.S. would become useless.
- Store shelves would grow empty.
- As time went on, there would be no groceries, clothing, lumber or supplies of any kind.
- Factories would shut down.
- Restaurants would close.
- As truckers continued the nationwide strike long-term, eventually every business in the U.S. would close.
- Trucking companies would shut down.
- Dispatchers, load coordinators, receptionists, all the way up to the CEO . . . would be out of a job.
- Regulatory agencies such as CARB would have to shut down.
- As time went on and truckers continued striking, millions upon millions would become unemployed.
- The U.S. Government would become paralyzed
- Airplanes would be stranded on the ground
- Ships would be stuck in harbor.
- As the trucker shut down continued long-term, eventually, trains would roll to a stand still.
All of this, eventually occurring from a well organized, committed and long-term trucker strike and we are just getting started.
Small, disorganized strikes have even shown huge impact. Following an OPEC oil embargo against the U.S. and other western nations in the 1970’s, truck owner operators held a ten-day strike over high fuel costs in order to force the government in lowering the price of oil. This small strike caused the Governor of Pennsylvania to call out the National Guard to protect the state’s roadways. Within ten days, havoc had already begun.
The consequences of a nationwide, “stick to your guns” trucker strike would result in chaos that the United States has never seen. Consider the trucking strike which occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 20, 1934. This one shut down by truck drivers, in just one city, led to police injuring and shooting 67 truck drivers and their supporters. Two special deputies were also killed, along with truck driver Henry Ness. After this strike, Minneapolis workers were free to join unions, breaking hold of the Citizens’ Alliance. This successful strike by truck drivers became known as Bloody Friday and was caught in sound and video:
Truckers coming together, in one city, in a time when truckers stood by each other. In remembrance of a fallen comrade, these truck drivers from 1934 erected a flag to pay tribute to one of their own: Henry Ness.
The shut down by truckers in the U.S. have only been held by a few hundred or so and for a small length of time. Even strikes on such a small scale can wreak havoc on hundreds of thousands. During a coffee strike in Columbia, by day 15, over 500,000 Columbian families who worked in the coffee industry were fighting for their livelihood. This small, fifteen day strike threatened the entire Columbian economy. A massive, nationwide shutdown by American truckers would cause even a greater catastrophe.
Trucking strike would lead to U.S. starvation.
Even if Mexico and Canada were to send their trucks to the United States to help in aid of the country-wide shut down, this too would not last long. To begin with, these trucks would not be able to travel further than a rough 500 miles into the U.S. before having to turn back for fuel. Without trucks running, there would be no fuel at the pumps. Furthermore, Mexico and Canada would not be able to spare their trucks for service on a long-term basis, or they would face the same havoc within their own countries.
As power plants used up their supplies of coal, and with no trucks or heavy equipment operating due to the lack of fuel, trains hauling the coal to the plants would eventually stop. The shipment of grain and other livestock feed would cease. The long-term affect of a nationwide trucker strike would continue:
- Milk cows, unable to have their milk transported by truck would eventually perish.
- Cattle, pigs, horses, goats, fish farms, chicken ranches . . . with no way for the food to be transported . . . would begin dying.
- Trash of all kind would pile up everywhere due to garbage trucks being inoperable from the depletion of fuel.
- Hospitals, unable to receive food and supplies would go under and the sick and elderly would be without medication.
- Banking institutions which rely on trucks to pick up and transport currency would be empty and eventually close.
- ATM machines would be unable to be filled, leaving millions without a cash supply.
- Farmers and ranchers unable to receive or ship out, would lose billions of dollars in crop and the food chain for the American people would eventually fall.
All of this . . . from a long-term trucking strike . . . and still, we are not done.
Trucking strike sends U.S. in complete blackout.
If American truckers shut down for a long period of time, never wavering from their stance, eventually the United States would fall even further into chaos and panic. As coal and other fossil fuels are no longer able to reach the power and nuclear plants by truckers, there would come a time when the plants could do only one thing . . . shut down. Now faced with the inability to generate steam from the burning of the fossil fuels, the turbine which spins and generates heat energy, which converts to mechanical energy, which converts to electrical energy, which flows from the plant through the electrical wires to the step up transformer, which raises pressure to send the electrical current traveling for thousands of miles through the power lines, which reach the pole transformers, which goes through a service box, which finally provides our electricity . . . would end. It has taken some time, while the plants burned through their stock pile . . . but now, through the course of a long-term trucking strike . . . America is thrown into a country-wide blackout. However, it does not end here.
Trucking strike leads to global technological break down.
As the United States loses all power and electrical supply, the final jobs that were still available will end. Technology in the U.S. is operated by people in the workforce. With a massive long-term trucker strike, there would eventually be no workforce. With no electricity or power, the flow of data will stop. The internet will cease to exist, one server at a time. As these servers go down, data is lost and technology as we know it fails. As systems across the country attempt to handle the oncoming overload, entire electrical and data grids will shut down. As a country that relies on logistics to keep America moving, any delivery by truck, train, aircraft or ship that might have survived thus far . . . becomes totally impossible.
Once our technology ceases to function, any remaining power is lost. Battery operated equipment or machinery will eventually die with no way to recharge them. We will have lost all communication to our space satellites. As the trucking strike continues on long-term, the devastating affects would reach global proportion.
All of this, from a nationwide, never-ending trucker shut down. Without trucks, trains would roll to a stop . . . aircraft would sit idle . . . ships would be stranded at harbor . . . stores and businesses would have no inventory . . . crops would fail . . . farms would close . . . there would be no jobs for anyone . . . the entire financial system would crash . . . America would be thrown into a nationwide blackout . . . millions would starve . . . law and order would fail . . . technological communication would be lost . . . the sick would get sicker . . . the blood supply would dwindle away . . . nationwide havoc and hysteria . . . life as we know it would change dramatically.
Until the truckers came back.
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.