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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Freight Truckers

Industrial Workers of the World - Freight Truckers



This is the news page for the Freight Truckers campaign. For background and contact information, please visit the main campaign page.



 



Truckers United Volume 1 - Issue #4 Out Now

Wed, 06 May 2009 19:47:26 +0000

Featured Story 15 - NC and VA Drivers Laid Off, IWW Responds

(image) In a move seen often by workers attempting to improve workplace conditions, trucking bosses fired 15 drivers in North Carolina and Virginia early in January this year. The companies claim it was for decreased business volumes, but most of the drivers were among internal organizers for the IWW. In addition, the companies began hiring new drivers immediately following the lay offs. "We have no doubt this was in retaliation for our organizing efforts," one driver said at a meeting held January 17.

The IWW conducted a scheduled meeting, January 17, which was originally planned to formally establish the union was altered to determine how to proceed with the organizing effort given the firings. Undeterred by the boss’s aggression, many drivers (including many of those laid off) still joined the union. A petition for charter is still being circulated.

In an outpouring of altruism, IWW members across the globe responded to the layoffs by donating money to the struggling drivers.  IWW members in Cambridge, England and Cologne, Germany held fundraisers to help the drivers in NC and VA. This act indicates that Wobblies everywhere believe in this movement. The money has been an incredible help to the drivers and the campaign in general. The campaign continues in the Southeast.

Download a Free Copy (PDF)

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Volunteers Needed for Independent Truckers Campaign!

Wed, 11 Feb 2009 00:22:01 +0000

(image) Organizing is heating up for the truckers in the southeastern United States. Though the independent drivers of North Carolina and Virginia have come a long way this past year, there are still aspects of the campaign that need attention. Right now there are a handful of wobblies helping out, including two part time organizers/volunteer coordinators. For efficiencies sake, we've divided up the current campaign needs into three different teams, Organizing, Logistics, and Strategy. Many of the tasks can be completed outside of the North Carolina area or even the United States. If you can help we ask that you can devote a steady amount of time or a regular task, whether big or small. We'll have organizers that will work with you. Possible internships available.  For more info about the campaign visit our website at Truckers.iww.org

Check out our needs below...Interested? Write to freighttruckers [at] gmail.com or call Sarah at (847) 693 6261

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First 3 issues of Truckers Unite available for download on iww.org

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 01:31:44 +0000

Download them here:

  • Issue #1 - PDF
  • issue #2 - PDF
  • issue #3 - PDF

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Emergency Appeal – Funds Needed Immediately for IWW Truckers

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 20:33:02 +0000

(image) As many of you know the IWW has been organizing Truck Drivers in Eastern North Carolina and Virginia for much of the past year. In response to our growing power and planned founding convention this upcoming weekend, the bosses have begun firing the union's leadership. Two log drivers and five container haulers have lost their job over the past two days.

The union is already discussing legal and direct action means to fight these unjust firing, but right now we need funds to support our fired drivers.
These drivers have families to support and this is a part of the country where economic opportunities are very limited. Please offer whatever you can, drivers are counting on you.

Checks can be sent to the Freight Truckers Organizing Committee at
PO Box 274, Waukegan, IL 60079. Please include "emergency relief" in the memo line.

We are in the process of setting a PayPal Acct for online donations. You will be informed as soon as it is ready.

Thank you and please be generous.

Past Press Releases from the Freight Truckers Organizing Committee:

NC Truckers Form Union, Hold Work Stoppage - United Truckers Cooperative to Picket Outside of Weyerhaeuser Mills
http://www.iww.org/en/node/4486

NC Truckers to Formalize Union Over MLK Weekend - Negotiating Committee Already Formed in Preparation for Talks

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NC Truckers to Formalize Union Over MLK Weekend - Negotiating Committee Already Formed in Preparation for Talks

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 01:27:00 +0000

(image) On the weekend of Martin Luther King Day, log truckers and container haulers from Eastern North Carolina and Virginia will be gathering to formally charter the United Truckers Union. This event will be the culmination of a nearly year-long organizing drive that led to a work stoppage on the morning of December 8, 2008. That action, which saw small but lively pickets outside of Weyerhaeuser mills along coastal North Carolina, reduced the amount of logs entering the New Bern mill by approximately 35% and shut down several tree stands in the Plymouth area. Only six trucks left BTT's yard, one of Weyerhaeuser's primary subcontractors and a target of the strike. Following the mornings' stoppage, a unnamed Weyerhaeuser representative announced to local media that management agreed to the workers' key demand: that mill management recognize the drivers' organization and arrange a meeting between the drivers' negotiating committee, Weyerhaeuser, and representatives of the subcontractors who employ the drivers. Accordingly, the union has directed a letter to the Vice President for Southern Timberland in Seattle, Washington offering several dates and places for an initial meeting.

Community support has proven integral to the drivers' success. In particular, local churches have vocally supported the organization. "Preacher," a union member and an ordained reverend, described this relationship: "The drivers represent the community, the church represents the community. What affects one of us, affects all of us. We're all in this together." Along much these same lines, the solidarity shown by the larger labor movement has been a source of moral as well as real world support. The drivers would to take this opportunity to thank the unionists and environmental activists who picketed Weyerhaeuser corporate headquarters on the day of their recent strike. Likewise, they are extending their sincerest appreciations to USW Locals in North Carolina and Washington State, UE 150, and the Northwest Log Truckers Cooperative.

The drivers have already announced their intention to affiliate with the Industrial Workers of the World Motor Transport Workers Industrial Union (IWW IU 530). Founded in 1905, the IWW is a democratic and militant rank-and-file industrial union. The IWW believes that only through organization can the men and women who carry everything our communities need break the pattern of injustice faced by America's truck drivers.

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NC Truckers Form Union, Hold Work Stoppage - United Truckers Cooperative to Picket Outside of Weyerhaeuser Mills

Tue, 09 Dec 2008 08:17:03 +0000

For Immediate Release:

Contact: IWW IU 530; Billy Randel – IWW rep, 646-645-6284 

On Monday Dec 8, the drivers of the United Truckers Cooperative will hold a work stoppage and picket outside of Weyerhaeuser Mills in Plymouth and Vanceboro, North Carolina.  The workers are demanding Weyerhaeuser arrange a meeting between mill management, subcontractors, and representatives of the truckers to address the drivers’ legitimate grievances and negotiate a formal agreement on wages and working conditions. 

A local driver who goes by the handle “Hollywood” explained the reason for the action: “If you see injustice, there’s something wrong and you are bound to stand up and say ‘no more.’  What’s going on with North Carolina truck drivers is wrong, so we’re standing up.” 

The workers will be joined by concerned community members.  In particular, local ministers will be in attendance.  “Preacher,” a union member and an ordained reverend, recognized “The drivers represent the community, the church represents the community.  What affects one of us, affects all of us.  We’re all in this together.”   

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A Heavy Load - The ports say they have a plan for cleaner, safer trucks. But do they have a plan for the truckers?

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 19:48:24 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW. The image pictured to the right did not appear in the original article, we have added it here to provide a visual perspective. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

(image) Before sunrise on a Monday morning, outside a sterile office park in Compton, a convoy of small, beat-up cars, none of them newer than 1995, arrives at the offices of the trucking firm Calko Speedline. One by one, the car's drivers emerge, ranchera and mariachi and est?s escuchando a Piol?n por la ma?ana! competing from their radios. They buy coffee from the taco truck that follows them in, and assemble in small groups, huddled in circles among their big rigs - hulking red, green, blue and white mammoths lined up along the curb, their diesel-burning engines grumbling into action one by one.

The drivers' day of waiting begins.

"My name's Chicho. Everybody knows me. You can ask anyone, 'Do you know Chicho?' and he'll say yes."

Chicho, born Hernan Robleto, is short, round, nearly bald and, when he speaks, energetically animated. His English is nearly indistinguishable from his Spanish; sometimes, while listening to him, it's possible to lose any conscious sense of which language he's speaking. At the Calko office, he paces among the various groups while office personnel inside quietly field calls from terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach about ship traffic and schedules; later, they'll give each of the men directions to their first load of the day, a container of goods destined for an intermediate shipping facility somewhere inland or farther down the coast, where it will be transported still farther, to distribution centers all over the country, by truck or train.

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Stockton Truckers Call Out the Industry with 400 on Strike

Tue, 20 May 2008 09:09:13 +0000

(image) By: J. Pierce with Adam Welch

Independent truckers in California's San Joaquin Valley shut down their rigs on Friday, May 2nd declaring an open-ended strike. At $4.80 a gallon, sky-rocketing diesel prices top the list of grievances. As their main demand, drivers insist on doubling the rates paid for hauling a container. The second biggest demand is a fuel surcharge of upwards of 55%. The brokers currently pay surcharges varying from 30-40%. If drivers can keep the trucking bosses from stealing it, the increased surcharge would help place the burden back on those who can afford it.

"We're fighting for survival." That's how Gerardo Cordoba explains the struggle. He's been driving for 10 years and raises a seven year-old on what he brings home after costs. The rates haven't seen an increase in a decade and most truckers bring home less than $30,000 year. In fact, when asked how much an average driver earns, Dewey Obtinalla, a Filipino driver who regularly does long haul up the coast, replied, "If you're making $30,000, that's good, very good... With fuel, insurance, and registration, I don't know a lot of people who are doing that well." Brave strikers don't need to look far for others willing to fight.

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Stockton Truckers strike once again.

Thu, 08 May 2008 09:33:53 +0000

(image) Once again a step ahead of intermodal truckers across the US, Stockton truckers, led by the majority Sikh drivers, launched a strike over the issue of fuel prices on Monday, May 5, 2008.

While many truckers participated in various protest shutdowns on either April 1st or May 1st this year, the 300-400 Stockton truckers working out of the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railyards have shut down their industry until their demands have been met.

Rather than demand the fuel surcharges paid by shippers but often pocketed by companies rather than passed along to drivers, the Stockton truckers are asking for a dramatic increase in the rates paid in order to keep up with increases costs such as fuel.

On April 26, 2004 Stockton intermodal truckers, inspired by rumors circulating of an LA port trucker shutdown, were the first to join what became a strike of west cost port truckers on April 30, and by June had spread to most southern and eastern ports as well.

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Truckers park rigs in protest freight rates, diesel prices fuel strike

Thu, 08 May 2008 09:13:42 +0000

(image) By Reed Fujii - San Joaquin Record Staff Writer, May 06, 2008

For the second time in four years, hundreds of independent truck drivers went on strike Monday against companies that hire them to haul cargo containers out of railroad terminals near Stockton.

And again, as in 2004, the issue was the failure of freight rates to keep up with rapidly rising fuel prices.

Ajit Gill of Stockton, a truck owner-operator and a spokesman for strikers, said the truckers face fuel costs that have more than doubled since 2004, as well as higher costs for insurance, stiffer inspection fees and more. But freight rates have not kept pace.

"There is nothing raised," he said Monday by cell phone.

The drivers would prefer to keep working, if it was practical.

"Unfortunately, we have to stop," Gill said. "Nobody can afford $4.35 diesel."

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