The truckers want a 30% rate increase to compensate for higher fuel bills, tolls and maintenance fees. And they want President Clinton to start releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help bring fuel prices back down.
The meeting was organized by John and Jacquie Megdalia. Local TV stations reported on the meeting and interviewed Jacquie, who told reporters that the can't afford to keep their trucks running.
This was the owner-operators' second meeting. (The first was held Feb. 5.) They selected a committee and discussed surcharges and rates. They plan to meet again next Saturday.
Another group of owner-operators, primarily from Pennsylvania, also met Saturday morning about the fuel price situation. More than 135 truckers showed up at Jim's Truck Stop in Somerset, PA.
State Rep. Bob Bastain told the truckers that the state legislators' hands are tied. They sent three resolutions to Washington asking the government to do something about the fuel prices, but the Clinton Administration continues to refuse to draw oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
Ray Lippert, an owner-operator who chaired the meeting, noted that while fuel prices had dropped at Jim's to $1.629, prices are still near $2 in many areas.
Several local TV stations and newspapers covered the meeting. The truckers were split about equally on whether or not to shut down to protest fuel prices.