As mainstream media picks up on an Internet and Facebook campaign calling for a shutdown of Washington, D.C., this weekend, OOIDA has issued a statement in opposition to the effort and threats being made by the organizers.
The leaders of the effort generally have no affiliation to the trucking industry, and up until recently did not have a trucking-centric agenda. Within the past couple of weeks, some trucking issues were added.
One of the leaders, Zeeda Andrews, is a former country music performer who toured the truck stop circuit years ago. Another, Pete Santilli, has an Internet radio program, which is not trucking related.
“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 political grievances not related to the industry,” reads a statement released by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Land Line Magazine has confirmed the groups have not secured permits to demonstrate in Washington, D.C., and the park police have told them there is not sufficient space to handle a demonstration of tractor-trailers.
The group has indicated lack of a permit will not stop the demonstration and have even added claims of “arresting” congressmen as part of their agenda.
“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,” the OOIDA statement reads.
“The Association has learned from its 40 year history of fighting for the rights of its members that the most effective way to have influence is to conduct long-term campaigns and encourage an open dialogue between truckers and their representatives in Congress. As part of its advocacy and grassroots efforts, OOIDA, as a nonpartisan organization, has consistently maintained a focus on issues that directly impact truckers and their small businesses. Further, we do not support strikes or shut downs for legal reasons.”
OOIDA is not the only group denying support of the effort. The American Trucking Associations also issued a statement:
“The American Trucking Associations is not a sponsor of this ‘strike’ nor do we endorse or condone the activities of these few individuals.”