i remember the strikes. i was in the national guard and we had to patrol over passes on rt 80 and 81.
Strikes of 1974 and 1979
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I was there too & I'm glad you were there patrolling those overpasses.
Unfortunately for me & a few others, your patrols didn't help me much as I took a cinderblock thru the passenger windshield on a different route.
The point of it all was to campaign against the rising fuel prices, the manufactured fuel shortages & a few other inequities in the trucking process. It was meant to get the fed's attention to do something useful for the people who keep the economy moving.
My participation in 74 resulted in just blocking the fuel islands at a 76 T/S in Branford Ct. Myself and parking lots full of others camped out there for a couple weeks to keep the islands closed to anyone considered "scabbing" or otherwise unwilling to participate in the shutdown.
I don't recall any major skirmishes in the parking lots.
At the time, the T/S was a franchise & the owner became a friend later on. He understood what was going on & never really complained. He was a really good sport throughout the entire ordeal.
Because he appeared supportive (& I think he was), he garnered the support of just about every trucker there. What we couldn't do for him in buying fuel, we more than made up for in store & restaraunt purchases.
His places (he had 2 76's) were full almost 24 hrs a day & we're talking the dining rooms as well as the counters. We had parties there some nights, a band or two in the lot. We even took turns cleaning up the dining rooms & the parking lots.
The waitresses got good tips as well. No one was hurt in their pocket books or physically during the event.
The only thing we did was simply stop the movement of freight, or at least slowed it down some, by not going out.
Other drivers, mostly O/O's, reported taking bullets thru the doors & windshields. My father-in-law took a round or two on his way back form upstate NY. He was a steel hauler. He wasn't loaded, just dead heading home in participation of the strike.
For weeks after the strike ended, stupid people continued attacking trucks with bricks thrown from the weeds & launched from overpasses. Bullets were still a real threat.
It was the best of times; It was the worst of times.
If nothing else, it was a time of more respect between enforcement & drivers. We actually hung out together, broke bread together, at the same tables even.
There was more money to be made back then too. You could actually feed you family & have money left over to buy a car or a boat or go on vacations.
Ahh, enough reminiscing. Just hurts too much to see how badly things have progressed in the name of progress.
I know this is an old post, but in the event anyone inquires: I remember the trucker strike around 1973. I was working in a food factory in Lake City, Pa. and it took only 3 days and we were completely shutdown as were many factories in Erie County, Pa. It was over fuel prices I believe and I remember seeing on tv reports of some trucks that were shot at for running during the strike. It was a time when truckers stuck together-like the milk strike we had about 1970 when all the farmers dumped their milk down the drains. It proves the power that truckers have in America if we could only use it in a strike to get what we need and get rid of what we don't need. Bring America to its knees in a matter of days.
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That strike also caused many people, truckers and others, to lose respect for truckers.
They were shooting each other and in some cases killing each other because some truckers couldn't afford to sit idle. I know a guy that was kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to pull into a truck stop and park his rig. He had a heart attack and was never able to drive again. Another driver in East Tennessee was disabled for life when someone threw a commode off an overpass and it crashed through his windshield on the drivers side and severed all the tendons, muscles, ligaments in his upper chest and arms, face.
Those advocating a nationwide strike, especially for non-union drivers, will never succeed and the past history is part of the reason.
The strikes were all dismal failures as far as gains were concerned. What they did was bring national attention to truckers ( as they were called back then), good and bad. Much of the anarchy was caused by people who were not even involved in the industry. The worst being the TSMT truck explosion in MO. The unions drivers had their own strikes and the independents had their strike, neither group united and both groups struck out at each other. Utter chaos and innocent truckers injured for nothing really.
I was involved in the 79 deal. The earlier strike helped seat the idea of a Association of truck drivers and owner/operators into a group by a man named Jim Johnston and his little organization still exists today OOIDA... Owner Operators and Independent Drivers Association
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