While rumors of strikes by independent truckers have been rampant this week, and have gained significant attention in the mainstream media, it seems that it is much ado about nothing at this point—with only one small shutdown action reported.
Stories of planned strikes were first spread late last week, with rumored dates of March 31 and April 1 mentioned as possibilities for a walkout. However, while a few truckers have pulled to the side of the road and refused to continue driving with diesel prices well over $4 a gallon in some areas, most industries have not felt a significant effect.
Chris Caldwell, spokesperson for the International Foodservice Distributors Association, told FleetOwner that because most major food freight carriers, such as Sysco have trucks that are company-owned, they haven’t seen an effect.
“Of course, all of us are affected by the high diesel prices—it’s driving up the cost of everything, but it’s not affecting labor and we haven’t had delays of products,” Caldwell said.
Norita Taylor, spokesperson for the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), told FleetOwner that she is aware of one planned shutdown, in Savannah, GA, and has heard rumors about a few areas where truckers have stopped their rigs, but there has been “nothing confirmed on those yet.”
OOIDA reported that as many as 300 owner-operators parked their rigs at the Port of Savannah on Thursday and plan to stay parked today and Monday. A protest rally was slated for yesterday from 5 p.m to 7 p.m.
However, even that protest has not made a major impact. “If something is going on, it must be pretty small, because I haven’t heard anything about it,” Edward Crowell, president & CEO of the Georgia Motor Trucking Assn., told FleetOwner.
Local media outlets have said they have not seen much of a slowdown in truck traffic. The Union-Tribune in San Diego reported “business [was] more or less as usual;” The WCF Courier in Iowa reported that “Semis lumbered down highways and interstates in Northeast Iowa at normal rates;” and Knoxnews.com in Knoxville, TN said “reports trickle in citing stoppages and delays from Chicago to Tampa though the number of those participating is very small.”