Owner-operator organizes fuel protest Monday near Pittsburgh

| 3/21/2008

Owner-operator Don Waltenbaugh of Pennsylvania has organized a daylong event to demonstrate just how bad it’s getting out there for truckers struggling with high fuel prices.

Waltenbaugh, an OOIDA member from Vandergrift, PA, has organized a 24-hour protest – a “shutdown” in his words – scheduled for Monday, March 24, on his property on Alternate 66 between Vandergrift and Ford City, PA, northeast of Pittsburgh.

“This is a one-day shutdown for solidarity,” he told Land Line.

Waltenbaugh said he has parking for 60 trucks and would like to see people from multiple sectors of trucking and hauling.

“I want people from all facets – towing, dealerships, the excavation business. I want them there,” he said.

Waltenbaugh has several issues he wants to draw attention to, with fuel prices being the driving force behind the event. ProMiles listed the average retail pump price in Pennsylvania at $4.24 on Thursday, March 20.

The event organizer also wants to draw attention to unscrupulous brokering that goes on in the trucking industry. Waltenbaugh says he’s tired of brokers who collect a fuel surcharge from customers and do not pass it on to the truckers.

“There are some fantastic brokers that really try, but there are some that don’t,” he said. “The brokerage side of trucking has gone rampant as of late. Everybody seems to be a broker.”

A third idea that Waltenbaugh wants to get across is that truckers are people just like everybody else. They are patriotic Americans, they are consumers, and they are registered voters.

“As truckers, we have high costs, low rates and we still have to buy the same groceries as everybody else,” he said.

If the cost of fuel puts too many truckers out of business, the average consumer will be hit hard, he said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer