Friday, March 14, 2008

Why doesn’t OOIDA call for a strike?

It’s a trucking nightmare – 16 states averaging above $4 fuel. Calls for a shutdown are common, and here at OOIDA we are slammed with phone calls and e-mails from truckers whose businesses are suffering. This week, 90 percent of the thousands of calls we’ve received are about the cost of fuel. Many are asking why OOIDA does not call for our members to strike.

As a trade association, it is not possible for OOIDA to organize a shutdown because it would be a violation of federal anti-trust laws. Criminal penalties could be imposed, those businesses and individuals who claim to be adversely affected by a strike action could initiate civil lawsuits, and the existence of the Association could be jeopardized.

I know many of you feel you are at the end of your rope; however, a strike is not the answer. Here’s why: Most small business truckers will not support a strike and will not shut down for the period of time it would take to be successful.

The reason for this is that the current fuel crisis does not affect all truckers in the same way. Many truckers have asked for and received fuel surcharges from their companies. Others have not. Many truckers have the cash reserves to cope with the bad times, and many do not. In addition, fuel prices are markedly higher in some regions of the country than in others, thereby making it more difficult for some truckers than for others who are less affected.

Calling for a strike without the support of the majority would show weakness rather than strength, and the result would be increased economic hardship to the small percentage of truckers who do participate in the shutdown with no gains to justify their sacrifice.