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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/14/11

Power to the Truck Drivers!

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On Tuesday, after posting a column which ruminated about the possibility that a group of exploited writers might want to consider using the labor negotiating tactic known as a "strike," I tuned in to hear one of the episodes of the Mike Malloy radio program, which featured Brad Friedman (of the Brad Blog) as the substitute host. One of his callers that night was a trucker who lamented the fact that since the deregulation spawned by St. Ronald Reagan (the patron saint of the Reagan-Democrats) independent truck operators have been exploited by management by a lack of increases in the per-mile rate and a 10% reduction of their mileage figures. Brad mused aloud about a need for a work action in the Washington D.C. area.

On Wednesday night, Brad's main hope was that maybe sympathetic truckers could help him publicize his effort to focus attention on the financial shenanigans of the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because of the fact that, according to Brad, crimes were committed when Thomas submitted some required paperwork that mistakenly indicated his wife didn't earn any money for the work she provided for a partisan political organization. Brad's main concern seemed to have morphed from "what can we do to help the drivers" to "they have a chance to focus America's attention on a potential crime."

Recently, politicians in Europe have seen the extensive effect a truckers' work action can have on a country's day-to-day existence. The truckers crippled France for a short duration.

If Brad focuses America's attention on the exploitation of the group that was once represented by one of the most powerful unions (arguably the most powerful union) in the United States, then, since the teamsters were not politically naà ve, they would return the favor and make the Thomas affair something that even the hens in the Fox house could not ignore.

Truckers seem to be rather conservative patriotic individuals who might not care to be involved in spreading an allegation about an American icon. Didn't the Teamsters Union once trade a crucial endorsement for Richard Nixon for a legislative political favor in return? 

The story that Jimmy Hoffa is buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium is an urban legend. His body was, a little birdie told us, disposed of via an industrial strength garbage disposal grinder at a (union of course) meat-butchering plant. As far as the question of who ordered the hit, don't look at me. I ain't gonna go there. If your curiosity about that question is insatiable, I recommend that you read pages 61-71 of Steven Brill's 1978 book, "The Teamsters" (Simon and Schuster hardback).

When I was a member of the Teamsters' local 229 (Scranton Pa.), there was a young lady of the ordinary size and weight variety in the office (no -- not the TV series) who could beat all the guys at arm wrestling. At that time, I was working out regularly with weights, and never could figure out how the heck that happened.

The firm had previously provided office space in the Secaucus (geez, I can still spell it right on the first try) terminal for the two union guys known as "the two Tonys." (One was the Tony Pro and I can't remember the other's name.)

Since the company had been owned by the man who founded the American Trucking Association, and since his grandson was one of the fellows who became a member of the Humphrey for President posse in 1968 (has anything ever happened in any other year?), the level of political sophistication in the Scranton office was notably high.

[Did Humphrey really trade a promise that one particular airline would get the rights to fly to and from Hawaii in return for a $300,000 campaign contribution? How the heck am I supposed to fact check a rumor that is more than 40 years old?   Everybody I could ask is dead.]

Wasn't there one particular group of steel hauling teamsters who cause considerable distress if people tried to foil their strikes?

Columnist Victor Reisel found out the hard way that labor issues were a very vitriolic topic. 

Back in the day, the teamsters were not a group that permitted their members to be exploited. If the caller on Tuesday reported his plight accurately, it would seem that the times they have changed considerably. Much to the delight of the trucking industry management team.

It seems quite reasonable to expect that if liberals help the truck drivers with a problem that has existed for almost 30 years, then those folks will owe some favor in return. If not, the Republican philosophy of "divide and conquer" has worked again.

In the last decade, I have stumbled across information online that indicated the Trucking Music Hall of Fame is contained inside a trailer that moves about the country. Brad's engineer, Tony, has used C.W. McCall's hit song "Convoy" to conjure up the trucking image.  

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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