Group Calls For Driver Shutdown
May 09, 1999
Two Idaho-based team drivers and brothers, along with one of their wives, are trying to organize a nationwide truckers' strike for July 5.
Randy and Roy Powell, along with Roy's wife Sandy, have put together an organization calling itself Truckers Against Discrimination. Their demands are simple: removal of split speed limits in all states; removal of lane restrictions in all states; and equal fines for traffic violations for all vehicles. "We've decided on these three issues, because they're issues that most every driver has in common," says Randy Powell. "If you've got a CDL, these issues concern you."
The three say TAD is the official bargaining arm for drivers who are willing to participate in a shutdown, scheduled to continue for what they say should be no more than a few days starting July 5 at noon, Central time. As a show of strength, they're asking supporters to tie a blue ribbon to each of their truck's mirrors.
They've notified the governors of all 50 states about their demands and had even gotten some responses back at press time. Randy Powell says some states have written to say they are already in compliance. Florida officials, Randy says, promised police officers would not interfere with the strike as long as the truckers present no hazard. Sandy says two states wrote to say that they hope the strike is unnecessary.
The one thing the group stresses in their printed material is the importance of a peaceful protest. According to the fact sheet that can be obtained from their web site, http://www.18wheels.com, "TAD and 18wheels.com has never condoned nor encouraged violence. This is more of a sit-in than a traditional strike. We do not want drivers picketing or marching on any capitol."
The trio is doing all of this out of their own pocket, including printing up flyers they're handing out at truckstops.
The group has not received any endorsement from major driver associations, but note they haven't solicited any endorsements, either. They do say they would like to have the additional support in order to build the momentum for their cause.
The nation's largest association of drivers is downplaying the movement. Todd Spencer, of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn., says while he believes these people are sincere, the strike just won't work.
"No one responds to threats," he says. "It is better to work through the typical legislative process, like OOIDA is doing, to accomplish these changes."