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Trucking Groups Disavow Plans for Washington Protest

October 9, 2013

By Deborah Lockridge

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Trucking industry associations rarely agree on anything, but the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and the Independent Truckers Association have issued statements disavowing Internet-fueled plans for a trucking protest on Washington, D.C., this weekend.

For some time now, a Facebook page has been advocating that truckers descend on the nation's capital for three days starting Oct. 11 in protest of a vague litany of "government corruption," a mish-mash of right-wing activist talking points and general anti-trucking-regulation complaints.

The Facebook page, "Ride for the Constitution," had nearly 100,000 "likes" as of midday Wednesday. But there are some major "dislikes" of the plan.

ATA and OOIDA both issued statements criticizing the proposed protest.

Mike Parkhurst, a former owner-operator magazine publisher and chairman of the Independent Truckers Association, which claims credit for trucker shutdowns in the '70s and '80s, issued a statement saying the whole thing will "fizzle."

"While I applaud the goal of making an impact on Washington, the dates chosen for the actions could not be more idiotically planned," Parkhurst said, noting that Congress is rarely in session on weekends.

The complaints

Many of the complaints on the Facebook page have little to do with trucking, from false claims that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen and demanding his impeachment, to complaints about Obamacare, claims that the Department of Homeland Security is unconstitutional and gives TSA agents the right to commit crimes of sexual misconduct, and demanding the City of New York "release our vets."

Trucking-related complaints include emissions regulations, idling laws, the new hours of service regulations, CSA, CARB, electronic logs, truck parking, and high fuel prices.

An earlier version of the Facebook page, "Truckers 2 Shut Down America," was taken down by Facebook after some in the trucking industry complained to Facebook about racist comments.

It's not even entirely clear who's behind this effort. Three main spokespeople have emerged:

  • Pete Santilli, whose underground Internet webcast show on The Guerilla Media Network starts airing immediately when you go to the website http://ridefortheconstitution.org/. Santilli is the registered contact for the website. On Twitter, he calls himself a “Proud Domestic Terrorist."
  • Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker. In a YouTube video, Conlon says, "I want to demand the arrest for treason of Barack Obama, his administration, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner … John McCain … the list is huge. … we have a treasonous government and it's time to take our government back."
  • Zeeda Andrews, who says she's a former country music singer from Florida.

Conlon told U.S. News and World Report Monday that as many as 3,000 truckers were coming to Washington on Friday with the intention of shutting down the Beltway. Among other things, he said, the truckers will seek the “arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office," and talked about convening a "citizens grand jury" to do so.

But on Tuesday, Conlon backpedaled somewhat, telling The Washington Post that while there still may be thousands of truckers coming to Washington Friday, they won't intentionally shut down traffic.

Disavowals

Mainstream trucking groups, while acknowledging that the industry does have legitimate complaints about some legislation and regulations in Washington, are trying to make sure people realize that this effort does not represent trucking as a whole.

“The individuals leading this particular effort have no direct affiliation with trucking and appear to be using truckers in order to gain media attention and air grievances not related to trucking,” the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said in a statement. “We do not support assembling in an unlawful, unpermitted manner, committing crimes, making threats on our lawmakers or behaving in such a way to cast safe, professional truck drivers in a negative light.”

ATA spokesman Sean McNally told Politico.com, “The American Trucking Associations is not a sponsor of this ‘strike’ nor do we endorse or condone the activities of these few individuals. ATA and the vast majority of America’s truck drivers will continue to deliver the nation’s most essential goods unabated even while we continue to work through whatever policy disagreements we have with Congress and the administration.”

Parkhurst said, "sadly, government will incorrectly conclude that this non-existent shutdown proves that truckers can continue to be slapped around like a rag doll. Federal myopia cannot see the calendar with the numbers boldly printed stating 2014 and 2016."

Comments

  1. 1. Michael Alamorian [ October 10, 2013 @ 03:11AM ]

    Great to see Mike Parkhurst name back in print. Trucking journalism has not been the same since he stopped publishing Overdrive. We miss you Mr. Parkhurst.

  2. 2. Steve [ October 10, 2013 @ 04:31AM ]

    I think if the ATA dont think trucking dont need to do somthing for our truckers thay have lost thier minds! U dont see them helpin or OOIDA eather

  3. 3. sasha Renfrow [ October 10, 2013 @ 05:19AM ]

    Truck owner operators do not have to strike all the have to do is park to make a change. Let them park a few weeks and enjoy their families and that will bring more change than anthing else. Tired of all the regulations and changes its not productive or profitable. O/O STAY HOME PARK IT!!! U WILL SEE CHANGE THEN!!!

  4. 4. sasha Renfrow [ October 10, 2013 @ 05:20AM ]

    Truck owner operators do not have to strike all the have to do is park to make a change. Let them park a few weeks and enjoy their families and that will bring more change than anything else. Tired of all the regulations and changes its not productive or profitable. O/O STAY HOME PARK IT!!! U WILL SEE CHANGE THEN!!!

  5. 5. John Mullen [ October 10, 2013 @ 07:06AM ]

    The Hoopees are on the loose again !!
    Parkhurst is right, there will be no effective protest or work stoppage, that is ancient history in trucking which present day drivers did not experience and know nothing about. The overburden of regulation calls for action , but not in this form. At present we have a need for Robo Drivers. Men whose behavior is monitored day and night and respond to all commands and regulations, no matter how illogical or unrealistic. When the driver shortage reaches the critical point, solutions will arise.

  6. 6. William Bennett [ October 10, 2013 @ 07:35AM ]

    I agree that the protests in D.C will probably not work. My question is why the ATA and OOIDA doesn't do something or speak up for the drivers instead of licking gov a.. all the time. These organizations have turned into gov butt kissers. Who will stand for the American trucker with a true spine. Where are all the true leaders in the trucking industry and in congress? I think that there are no true leaders who have spines. I left driving after 20 years because of over-regulation and no real voice to represent the truckers of America fighting big gov on our behalf.

  7. 7. Earl Conlon [ October 10, 2013 @ 08:47AM ]

    Of course ATA & OOIDA won't endorse this movement it is a direct challenge to their source of power.. they took credit for the trucking rally about or around 8 or 10 years ago when THEY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. they did not organize the convoys they did nothing but stand on the lawn make a cute speech and claim credit.. they do not want the truckers to remove the ASS'es their kissing.

  8. 8. shane [ October 10, 2013 @ 08:48AM ]

    I think we should all go to Hooters and discuss our issues over a cold beer and hot wings. We will get as much done and will not waste as much fuel. Besides, I'm sure there will be just as many "knuckle draggers" to carry on stimulating conversation about political opinion.

  9. 9. coy whitehead jr. [ October 10, 2013 @ 09:51AM ]

    Todays truckers have not the balls to go after their rights & demands. If blacks would have sit back and stood down, they would still be riding on the back of buses. And don't count on the A.T.A. & Ooida. They are not on our side what so ever.

  10. 10. Garland L Brown [ October 11, 2013 @ 09:14AM ]

    People sitting back hailing Mike Parkhurst as a hero of the trucking industry do not rember the Parkhurst of the 60 and 70s that sold the trucking industry out so that they could gain their 15 minutes of fame and butt kissing of the U.S Govt.

    The only way you gonna get three truck drivers to agree on anything is to put a female in the situtaion, and as soon as two of them figure out who she is leaving with, they gonna get their hat and hit the door. I been here 48 years pushing trucks and It's always the same----who can make a buck of of what the quickest way. ATA--OOIDA--Teamsters ---Overdrive---all the same.

  11. 11. Teresa Ames [ October 11, 2013 @ 10:13AM ]

    I think its pretty sad to criticize, If all the trucking groups had joined in, maybe it would've made the impact desired. So kudos to the ones that didn't need big mans approval and got tired of waiting on him to make a stand.

  12. 12. John [ October 12, 2013 @ 08:05PM ]

    I see OOI DA standing up for O/O's all the time. Their LEGAL services division, have taken several companies to court over contract issues. And many of those issues still are in court. They've won a few, but I've not seen where the companies have been made to pay, even when found guilty. O O I D A collects dues ($45/yr) and has a promotional truck traveling the country, trying to get more drivers to contribute. They have offices (legal) in DC, but you never hear of them having lobbyists there.
    If I owned my own truck, I would see if they could save me any money on insurance, but from what I've read their insurance is individual based, instead of based on a group. They claim 200,000 members strong. You'd think that a group that big would be able to have huge group discounts on all their programs. Check their website to see their discounts. A free monthly magazine I can get at the local truckstop.

 

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