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Vol. 72/No. 15      April 14, 2008

New Jersey truckers join nat’l protest
(front page)
RIDGEFIELD BOROUGH, New Jersey—”Bring down fuel costs!” “Si, se puede!” (Yes we can) chanted 300 truck drivers at the Vince Lombardi truck stop off exit 18 on the New Jersey Turnpike. The drivers were part of a national protest against rising diesel prices.

“We came to get the price of fuel to drop,” said Ramón Pérez, an independent trucker for five years. “The rate we get paid for a load has stayed the same and we are the ones that suffer.”

“The cops tried to shut us down,” said Cristian Abreu, a driver for 11 years. “They can’t shut us down. We deliver their food. Just hear us out. This country really depends on the trucking industry,” he added.

New Jersey State troopers at first tried to shut down the protest, but backed off when more drivers arrived. Many drivers from the port of New York/New Jersey stayed away from work and drove their cars to the rally. Most were Spanish-speaking.

Sandy Pope, business agent for Teamsters Local 802 in New York City, spoke at the rally and said, “We are with you.”

Trucker Edison Villacis also spoke. “When they ask us tomorrow what we want, you should tell them we want respect,” he said. “We are all brothers. We have to unite. We have to organize!”

Dan Fein, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 10th C.D., addressed the rally. “When Congress discusses transportation, taxes, tolls, and other things that affect truckers and other working people, no one is there representing you,” he said. “The Democrats and Republicans speak only for the ruling rich. We need a labor party based on fighting unions to organize working people in the political arena. Your protest here today is an example for others to follow. Sí, se puede!
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