Truckers strike from port to port - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Truckers strike from port to port

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June 29, 2004

Albany - Independent truckers have halted their rigs at numerous U.S. ports, including Savannah. The strike may slow down shipments of everything from furniture to frozen foods. Why are the truckers upset?

Roy Minniefield works for, he says, "Myself". Meaning he owns his truck. But, independent drivers, like him, are disappearing. He adds, "There's still a few out, but it's not that many anymore because of fuel prices, most of them are out of business."

A business that's not cheap. Independent trucker, Vaughn Person, says, "This is a $120,000 truck, my fuel bill is $1200 bucks a week." Minniefield says, "I've been doing it so long, nothing else to do right now."

And right now, truckers are putting the brakes on their big rigs a strike across the nation. Minniefield admits, "I heard something about it on the CB last night, but that was the extent of it."

Low wages and spastic fuel prices are weighing down on independent truck drivers. Some of these drivers have no other option, but to keep trucking. Person says, "It's all I know how to do. I've been doing this since I was 18 years old."

Person is not going to strike simply because he can't afford to stop working.

These guys are not getting the money for their miles. Fuel prices are high, but wages are not. A union would help them bargain as a whole. Minniefield agrees, "If you were a union everybody would go out together, but one strike here and one strike there, you can't get anything done there."

Minniefield hasn't decided to halt his hauling just yet, but he heard on the CB a nationwide strike is expected to end July 4th.

Demonstrators have showed up at ports in Savannah, New Orleans, Newark and Boston.

posted at 6:40PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com