Solidarity Messages Needed For Truckers On Strike!!

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WeTheYouth
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Dec 12 2004 20:06
Solidarity Messages Needed For Truckers On Strike!!
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Stockton IWW Truckers Strike Again!

Thursday, December 2004

Crudo of DAAA Collective

Since early July of 2004, 210 Stockton owner-operator truckers working out on the rails and ports in Stockton have unionized with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and won several victories. In October, the truckers gained close to 70% of their demands, and successfully worked to reverse two IWW members' life-time banishments from the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe rail yard and negotiated a favorable settlement of a strike at the 11-driver Patriot trucking company. Today, 20 workers for the Kach Trucking Company went on strike as well.

Stockton truckers and bay area based IWW organizers have worked together, meeting often and through general assembly type decision making structures, created a game plan to get the money that the trucking companies are stealing from the workers on a daily basis. Harjit, a IWW organizer from the bay area, commented that, "One worker estimated that they are losing over $1,000 a month", and that's $1,000 that is going straight into the companies pockets.

One of the major issues facing truckers is over wait times truckers face while their trucks are unloaded. Truckers are supposed to wait at least an hour while the trucks are unloading, (taking lunch etc), and if the unloading process goes over an hour, then they are paid for it. However, the companies have instituted a two-hour waiting period, thus creating a system where workers are not being paid for a extra hour of work, and also ensuring that the company will not have to pay overtime. Workers often end up making side trips in their rigs at the demand of the bosses. "They'll tell the workers to stop and get things in a certain town, and it'll be an hour out of their way", says Harjit.

Truckers end up paying for a lot of things relating to their trucks as well, and the trucking bosses are profiting. Truckers have to pay unloaders to unload their trucks out of their own pockets, with the companies picking up the bill at the end of the month. On top of being hard on the working truckers, the companies also get out of paying taxes on the transaction, and thus the workers are taxed instead. Workers also have to pay for tires and fuel sur charges right out of their pockets, something that the IWW truckers don't want to be doing for very much longer.

The trucking bosses want to resolve the strike without the union, and ultimately do not to recognize the IWW as a labor union. However the Stockton truckers have a much different idea. On top of recognition of the IWW, the truckers are demanding a one-hour wage, meaning only one hour waiting period while unloading takes place. The workers want overtime for when they do go over the clock, and payment for driving off their routes. They also want an end to having to pay for the unloading of trucks, tires and equipment, and fuel sur charges.

The style of autonomous and grassroots organizing done largely by the workers themselves, and with the mutual aid and solidarity of seasoned IWW members is making an impact within the union, now approaching it’s centennial. Some wobblies are calling the actions in Stockton the most important work being done throughout the entire union. With the unity, militancy, and resolve shown by the Stockton Truckers, hopefully soon these workers will no longer be swindled out of so much of their hard labor.

Solidarity at this time is desperately needed! If you are interested in helping out the Stockton Truckers, please :

Email Harjit (Organizer) at: harjit@iww.org

Call the IWW office in the Bay Area at: (415) 863-9627

Visit the IWW on the Web at: www.iww.org