One of the proudest moments in trucking history was when OOIDA members and thousands of other truckers voiced their opposition to the Mexican Border Pilot Program several years ago and brought it to a screeching halt. Truckers jammed email inboxes, switchboards and mailboxes of senators and congressmen throughout Washington D.C. While recent activity by the president and congress has allowed the program to restart, for that one glorious time, truckers came together and accomplished their goal.
Before the above though, and sadly after, truckers seem not able to agree as a whole to anything, strikes are spoken of, but die due to lack of interest and of course the legal ramifications of striking are great. Comment sections on proposed rule makings by the FMCSA remain thinly used other than by special interest groups and a few die-hard activists in the industry. Truckers mainly do not think about how a new rule or regulation will affect their brother or sister drivers only about how it will affect them. At OOIDA, who is the only lobbying association for American truck drivers, member numbers remain stagnant because people cannot see the bigger picture that OOIDA has and is working for and truckers remain divided by their niche in the industry and their personal opinions and agendas.
Politicians depend on the diversity of truckers and their lack of cohesiveness to pass regulation after regulation to tamp down the ability of the American trucker to survive. The politicians know that truckers for the most part go about their isolated lives and rarely do more than bitch and moan about a new rule or regulation. The politicians both state and federal also know that more regulations means more money from the cash cow of trucking for their state or the federal coffers either by fines or by being able to grow the size of government and get more money from special interest groups. Furthermore, by supporting special interest groups by regulating the trucking industry with their bad image, politicians gain favor in the public’s eyes that are taught to fear truckers and be re-elected to office.
There are roughly 3.5 million commercial drivers in America; the noise that they could make would wake the wicked witch of the west from the dead if they all spoke together against the injustice dealt them in overwhelming regulations and company policies that are unhealthy, unsafe, or detrimental to the driver. The deck is stacked against a strike being allowed to happen and history shows strikes ineffective, but there are other ways to garner the attention of the powers that be.
Learn to look at any issue with an open mind and consider how it will affect all drivers, not just you.
Register to vote if you are not already and then vote.
Join OOIDA, the dues are only $25.00 for the first year and $45.00 after that. With membership, you receive some good benefits; easily keep up with political issues that affect you as a driver and you can add your voice to others’ to be heard clearly in Washington D.C. There is power in numbers.
Put in your comments to proposed rule making during the comments time. The FMCSA does not make this easy, if you do not understand how to do this, OOIDA or any number of trucker activists can assist you.
Write, call, or email your representatives about any issue concerning trucking. Be pleasant and civil, precise in your writing and clear in your position. Always mention that you are a voter, include your full name, address and contact information. (You do not have to be a published author to be effective in contacting you representatives, just talk to them as you would want them to talk to you and be clear.)
Educate yourself about the facts of an issue, leave the sensationalism out and then help educate other drivers; stick to the facts and encourage the other drivers to become involved.
The rusty squeaky tin man got oiled, Dorothy conquered the wicked witch to reach the Wizard and went home, the lion roared and truckers can get things done to stop the madness of overwhelming regulations if they stick together and speak out clearly and loudly. It worked once it can work again; truckers just have to squeak loudly enough.