RIDGEFIELD, N.J. — “Once you’re carrying millions of dollars of their equipment, company owners treat you like they own you,” oversize load trucker Michael Pitcher told Socialist Workers Party members at the Vincent Lombardi truck stop here Feb. 13. SWP members are meeting with truckers at truck stops across the country, discussing attacks by the bosses they face today and offering solidarity. “One of the biggest problems is a lack of rest areas. We need a union.”
Pitcher got a copy of Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs to learn more about the strikes and organizing drives that made Minneapolis a union town in the 1930s.
Drivers SWP members spoke to were following government attacks on truckers protesting in Canada, and the venom spewed against them by officials and the liberal press. Truckers and others are demanding an end to government-imposed mandates, including those that bar unvaccinated drivers from getting work.
“I’m going to join a strike organized here March 1 to protest U.S. government mandates and to support the Canadian truckers,” owner-operator Osiris Cabrera, left, told SWP member Nancy Boyasko, right.
“Truckers in the U.S. face similar conditions as truckers in Canada,” Boyasko said. “The Socialist Workers Party supports their fights to defend themselves from attacks by the trucking bosses and the government. The SWP also opposes government/employer mandates. They set a precedent that will be used against the working class.
“The labor movement should lead in explaining why workers should get vaccinated,” she said. “The government and press portray working people in Canada who are trying to defend themselves as reactionary ‘deplorables.’”
“They’re trying to make us the enemy,” Cabrera said. He subscribed to the Militant.
“We get low rates from brokers for the work we do and have to pay more and more for diesel,” said Jason Lopez, an owner-operator from New Jersey. The price of a gallon of diesel has gone from $3.05 in January 2020 to $3.72 this past January. “The only way to stop brokers from cutting rates is if all truckers stick together. When prices go up brokers should put up the rate we get for the job.”