Independent truckers walk the picket lines

June 29, 2004
Hundreds of independent truckers, driven by low wages, high fuel costs, and anti-union rules, went on strike June 28 at several United States ports, slowing movement of cargo containers that carry items including frozen food.

Hundreds of independent truckers, driven by low wages, high fuel costs, and anti-union rules, went on strike June 28 at several United States ports, slowing movement of cargo containers that carry items including frozen food.

Truckers are asking for the strike to last until July 4, though the number of strikers participating remains uncertain.

At Port Newark NJ, some 200 independent truckers protested, and about 30 independent truckers went on strike at the Port of New Orleans LA. Outside the Port of Charleston SC—the fourth-busiest container port in the nation—dozens of independent truckers demonstrated. Near the Port of Boston MA, two or three independent truckers held signs but did not disrupt operations or traffic.

Besides protesting wages and fuel prices, truckers seek to establish unions and collectively bargain for better contracts from shipping and trucking firms that employ them.

Federal price-fixing laws bar owner-operators from negotiating or talking with employers as a group because they are regarded as independent businesspeople.

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from staff and wire reports

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