As a rocky economy continues to beat up the trucking industry, many truckers around the country are banding together to show their outrage at high fuel prices and how they are struggling to just break even.
OOIDA members Michael “JB” Schaffner of Nocona, TX, is one of the organizers of a national truck convoy and rally scheduled for Monday, April 28, in Washington, DC. The group is protesting rising fuel costs and how they are negatively affecting the entire economy. Click here for rally and route information.
“People need to wake up and be aware of the things that are happening right in front of their faces and this is the reason we are doing this,” Schaffner told Land Line on Friday, April 25.
“But, we also want to do this right – we don’t condone any of the actions that may have taken place in the past regarding some protests. We’re not asking people to shoot at people or throw rocks, we’ve come up with alternative ideas for people, like flying the American flag, to show their support.”
Some truckers simply can’t afford the fuel they would need to convoy to DC on Monday, but Schaffner said no trucker will be alienated if they can’t participate in the protest.
“We aren’t going to force anyone to choose between their jobs and their families to join with us – some just can’t do it and that’s OK,” he said. “However, many of us are choosing to do this because of our families.”
For truckers who can’t physically be there, Schaffner said he is encouraging them to show their support in other ways by picking up the phone.
“We are encouraging everyone to contact their local media and also to call their congressmen and senators to let them know you are protesting high fuel prices and that something needs to be done to help us all soon.”
He said another organizer of the event, OOIDA member Mark Kirsch of Myerstown, PA, has been in contact with truckers from as many as 27 states that plan to participate in the convoy to DC on Monday. Kirsch organized a convoy to the Pennsylvania state Capitol building in Harrisburg on Monday, March 31, that gained the attention of Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who invited Kirsch and other truckers to discuss some of the issues they are facing as fuel prices continue to soar.
A second convoy, this one to New York City, has been planned for Thursday, May 1, according to Schaffner. He said they have received a permit to convoy there, but have not yet finalized all of the details as of press time.
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer