group of owner-operators in Chicago is looking into an organized
effort against a new fee in the state, members of the group and
other trucking sources told Land Line Oct. 28.
group, which sprang from two meetings of mostly Hispanic truckers
in the region earlier in October, met a third time Oct. 27 to discuss
their options. The meetings were held after the state imposed a
new Commercial Distribution Fee on trucks as high as $1,005.
first meeting involved about 250 truckers who gathered with state
officials Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Chicago suburb of Cicero to
discuss Senate Bill 841. A different group, also consisting of roughly
250 truckers, met the week before that in nearby Aurora, IL. Most
of the truckers at the meeting have been “crosstown truckers,” owner-operators
who carry freight from one railhead to another within the Chicago
Leonardi, a safety director at a local trucking firm, said many
of the crosstown truckers haul containers from Bensenville, on the
northern side of the area near O’Hare International Airport, to
the town of Harvey, which sits on the south side of the area. The
trip involves either travel on the Illinois tollway and a $3 toll
one way, or potentially hours in heavy city traffic.
rates in crosstowns – the rate the customer gets billed – has not
gone up more than $5 in 20 years,” Leonardi said. “They’re in the
$40 range.” The trucker receives about 70 percent of that, he said,
and has to take expenses out of that.
Chavez, one of the owner-operators who started the meetings, confirmed
that, saying the fees paid to the truckers vary from $35 to $50
for each load. And, both said, the rates have hardly increased in
80 and 150 truckers met Oct. 27, the third such gathering, which
was held at a Chicago restaurant. Chavez and Greg Salgado, both
of whom are involved in the meetings, said the truckers planned
to meet again, but Salgado declined to comment further until the
truckers’ next meeting, when they will have the opportunity to discuss
what their next action will be.
sources told Land Line earlier this month that some of the
truckers were considering a protest that would have used their rigs
to shut down several major highways in the Chicago area for a short
time to protest the Commercial Distribution Fee. The same sources
said Oct. 28 that any such protest was either on hold or canceled
entirely, pending the outcome of the Nov. 16 meeting.
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Reddig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.