Truckers threaten to strike over gas prices

March 24, 2008 10:49:47 AM PDT
They are the men and women who keep our economy moving, and they are threatening to go on strike. Truck drivers say soaring fuel prices are leaving them broke and they plan to fight back. At a Paulsboro truck stop drivers are paying $3.95 a gallon for diesel. In many other states the price is well over $4. Fuel costs are taking such a big cut off truckers' profits, some are calling for a strike.

Trucker Wayne Casimir tells Action News, "I've been in trucking for 38 years and I've never seen it this rough."

Casimir is talking about the price of diesel. Each tank full is costing two to three-hundred dollars more than it did six months ago. Since just about everything we buy gets to where we buy it by truck, some of the higher fuel costs are reflected in higher prices, on items ranging from food to clothing to gas. But a lot of the fuel costs are coming directly out of truckers' profits... especially if they're owner-operators.

"The bottom line is sometimes the diesel costs more than your load pays. So if the load pays 700 and the fuel costs 900, you're already in the hole when you start," said trucker Chester Lloyd.

Tom Lemon, a truck owner-operator, says, "Really, it's cutting into my profit big time. It's taking over half of what I gross for the week just to put fuel in the truck."

Some truckers are calling for a strike on April 1st. They want the government to suspend fuel taxes to cut them a break. They warn that without relief many truckers will be forced out of business, which is a trend that's already begun.

Jeanette Schampers tells us, "It's affecting a lot of my friends who are owner-operators, and a lot of them have lost their trucks."

A strike could cause shortages and higher prices for all of us. Not all the truckers think it's a good idea. But all agree they need some help with these prices.