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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


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Truck Drivers Strike

Apr
7,
2008
3

Whether you are a seasoned driver, just out of truck driver training or attending any of the truck driver schools across the nation, one should be watching the outcome of this recent truck drivers strike.  Primarily owner operators, many drivers shut down for a few days to protest the high cost of diesel fuel.  At $4.00 plus per gallon, nobody can blame them.  When a rig holds 300 gallons of fuel, $1200 just to fill up your tanks is destructive to your bottom line profit.

But, will the strike have any effect?  Will this small, short-lived demonstration actually cause a change for the better?  Unfortunately, the answer will more than likely be a resounding, “NO.”   Having a small group of drivers stage a 3-4 day “strike” will, sadly, accomplish nothing.   With owner operators falling beside the way side year after year, the greatest majority of drivers on the road these days are fleet drivers.

It will perhaps cause those interested in truck driver training and looking at truck driver schools to take a second look at truck driving as a career.  However, owner operators are the ones taking the dramatic hit by the fuel costs.  The company driver does not have the worry.  Most trucking companies will pass some of the increased cost of fuel onto their customers through an added fuel surcharge, but the rate of freight will remain the same . . . cheap.  Therefore, the owner operators will continue to haul the load at the same low rate, while doing battle with the increased price of diesel.  The truck driver will always be the one who loses.

Strikes of this nature will simply not work.  It will take the effort of all truck drivers working together in order to force those with the power to make changes occur.  And that, my friends, is where the problem lies.  A few hundred drivers here and there cannot make change . . . it must be done by thousands . . . no, millions. 

Eight million CDL drivers in the United States today, and most of these would have to participate in a truck driver’s strike to catch the attention of Congress and the nation, and be taken seriously.  Now, what would have to be done?  Hundreds of thousands of truck drivers, company drivers and owner operators would have to ban together and shut their rigs down.  They would have to do so, not for a few days, but for several weeks. 

CDL drivers everywhere would have to make the decision to STOP the flow of freight in this country, and do it long enough where the effects would be felt.  This would mean store shelves would go empty . . . everything that everybody takes for granted: groceries, supplies, clothes, autos, EVERYTHING . . . would come to a halt.  The general public still cannot comprehend that everything they buy . . . everything they purchase at a store or retailer or ANYWHERE . . . comes by way of a truck driver.  The ships can still sail, the aircraft can still fly and the train can still run, but the truck driver carries the products to the stores.  The truck driver carries it to the general public.

Because the owner operator is somewhat of a dying breed, it leaves mostly company drivers running the road these days.  Thus, the fear factor sets in . . . ”If I shut down and strike, I would lose my job.”  In addition, to create empty shelves in our nations store, what kind of suffering would that cause to the innocent?   A mother needs formula for her baby, but the shelf is empty due to truck drivers striking?  It is a tough situation and a hard call to make.  On the other hand, the truck driver and his or her family cannot pay their bills due to the high cost of fuel factored in with the low cost of freight. 

The good side of this is that the shelves could be refilled at an alarming rate due to the professionalism of our nation’s drivers.  But this is the only way for drivers to make a change.  For those who are attending truck driver training or considering truck driver schools, they too will have to consider the options of someday executing a massive, well organized strike with other CDL drivers.   A strike . . . a “real” strike . . . of such magnitude, will cause those in power to react.

Allen Smith
Truth About Trucking

© 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 34 year veteran ( started at an early age in family moving business) of the trucking industry, many of those years spent over the road. He has been an owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and has owned and operated a moving company, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. One thing though that most will say is that the reason and motivation behind the author, Allen Smith, is the fact he is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. As you read many of the blog posts you’ll discover that he is opinionated and speaks openly about the ongoing issues of the trucking industry. He supports other fellow advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who are in need of honesty, guidance and direction. The list of supporters and like minded people grows daily and their ability to network together and share their thoughts and ideas for the betterment of others within trucking, has allowed the forward movement of... "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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3 Responses to Truck Drivers Strike. - Post a Comment

  1. Larry Stafford

    Allen, I agree with your comments on the truckers strike. A friend of mine came up to me and mentioned to me that a retired trucker he knew had heard thru the grape vine that truckers were planning a shut down. Parking rigs of all kinds in intersections and walking away! Well. I must say I did not really take him to seriously. Lets vote for politicians that will work for the American peoples interests for a change! We have no choice, its our only hope! I figure there might be afew drivers (O/O) upside down on there old worn out trucks who might abandon there junky units, but still not likely. Risking arrest and jail is not the answer,smart people know this. I’m praying and waiting for NOV.

  2. Bill

    Regarding the fuel situation, I feel for the owner/operators, too. The high costs of fuel have caused me to make a change of direction in my life, as they did back in the 70′s. I am a prospective student working towards my CDL, and look to potentially becoming an owner/operator in a few years. I understand the frustration in general, and the specific need of the owner/operators to find some relief. It seems to me that, if you are going to hold a protest, it needs to be directed towards some specific individual or group to influence them to take a particular action. Here is where the protest seems to bog down. Everyone can vocalize the problem, but who needs to do what is pretty murky. Also, rather than hurting their employers, customers, and innocent end users, by failing to deliver whatever to them, why not take the “Jimmy Carter” solution of driving 55mph (remember the 70′s?). That would certainly get attention, while putting dollars back in the owner/operators hands through improved fuel mileage. Prices go down, speed goes back up. Prices stay up, speeds (by necessity) stay down. Anyway, that’s my two cents on the issue. Bottom line, we, as a nation, need to get back in the drilling, pumping, refining business.

  3. TD

    All we need is for the cost of fuel to stabilize. The problem is; it has been so very easy for people to become O/Os over the past several years, we have truckers who don’t have a clue on what it costs to own and operate a truck. They have no idea what their break-even point is or how to establish a hauling rate or determine profitability. They think they’ve got to get paid by the mile instead of percentage and they allow others to determine what they’re paid. What has and continues to happen to truckers is their own fault, not the government, not the mega trucking companies. It’s the silence of truckers, which has caused this problem, it’s the truckers inability to say NO when they know something isn’t correct, it’s their willingness to work for nothing, and not stand up individually for what is in their best interest.

    I know several truckers who are doing very well in the current economy, but these folks know their numbers, have established customers based on value. It’s the rest of these so called truckers who keep doing the same thing the same way while expecting different results–the definition of insanity. Actually the current situation has been long coming and it will weed out the ones who don’t know what they’re doing, and this is a good thing!

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