FHE MICHIGAN DAILY
[HE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Three
CHICAGO (Reuter) -- Joe Ber- radiators have been punctured
tini puts ten packs of cigarettes and nails scattered across roads.
on a handy ledge, pulls down his Few of the drivers expect to
driving cabin windows and slow- end their driving days as rich
ly works his way through the 13 men, but at the moment, they
gears of his huge truck as he hits say, they are being forced out of
the road. business.
Bertini, a driver for 20 of his LAST MAY they were paying
42 years, leaves the truck park- 20 cents a gallon for diesel fuel.
ing area as the first light creeps With their trucks consuming a
across Illinois cornfields. It will gallon of diesel every four miles,
be .long into the night before he that could still run up a bill. But
parks his truck at another truck today, the drivers say, they are
stop to grab a few more hours paying 50 cents a gallon.
sleep in the back of his cabin. Prices have zoomed since the
In the meantime, he will make fuel crisis began. Spokespersons
as few stops as possible - to buy for independent truckers' coun-
a soft drink from a roadside ma- cils, set up in parts of the coun-
chine or to pick up a couple of try to air their members' griev-
hamburgers. He will eat the ances, claim that many garages
hamburgers as he drives, for are cashing in on the shortage of
time means money to Bertini. fuel by gouging extra money out
That is why he always drives of the independents.
with his windows down, to try to The garages charge the big
keep fresh. Sleep is the enemy he truck companies much less. for
is continually fighting while he is fuel because they are frightened
on the road. that when the crisis ends the
Signs posted up on the sides of trucks, idle be-
cause of the strike, read: "Shutdown as long as
o v-.".......:::?':r?""}:":"::^::?EY l ":A ::::" s ":ti: isi v. ;.".5
wages by charging a mileage
To help overcome their trou-
bles, the independents want the
interstate commerce commis-
sion, the government agency
which regulates the haulage
rates, to allow them to increase
their freight charges.
They have claimed in meet-
ings with administration officials
that their incomes are being
drastically cut into while the oil
companies continue to make big
PRESIDENT Nixon's labor
troubleshooter, W. J. Usery,
made three peace offers before
the strike began last Thursday.
Under his proposals, the inde-
pendents would be reimbursed by
their contractors for price in-
creases in diesel fuel since last
May and a new allocation pro-
gram would assure them of
enough fuel for their runs.
He promised the number of
tax inspectors on the highways
would be increased from 300 to
1,000 to help protect theadrivers
against over-charging at gar-
The drivers have taken no ac-
tion on the offer, saying a show-
down is the only way to guaran-
tee their demands will be met.
Signs posted up on the sides of
trucks, idle because of the strike,
read: "Shutdown as long as it
William Hill, national chair-
man of the Fraternal Associa-
tion of Steel Haulers and a mem-
ber of the Truckers National
Grievance Committee, said: "We
need legislation, not just pro-
LONG-DISTANCE trucks cost
40,000 dollars each and nearly
all the independents are paying
back big mortgages taken out
on their vehicles.
They haul what the big com-
panies turn down. They move
steel girders on flatbed trucks,
WHAT IS THE
* GREATEST FORUM ON EART? *
Well, the people in the History Department are concerned about
questions of CURRICULUM and TEACHING, and we thought
that if EVERYBODY could get together and talk about how
departmental offerings might be improved, that would be a start.
Some of the questions we will be discussing are:
" What are people looking for in lower level history classes?
upper level history classes?
" What is the purpose of introductory courses?
" In what ways should undergraduate and graduate
'0 What should the role of teaching fellows and graders be?
BRING questions and opinions-We supply coffee and donuts
FRIDAY, February 10-182 PEA Building-4:00 p.m.
HISTORY UNDERGRADUATE ASSOCIATION
PICKETING TRUCKERS, under the watchful eye of police near Norristown, Pa., flag down a truck
BERTINI is one of the 100,000
independents, - drivers who own
their own trucks --who make
their living driving their 12-
wheeled cabins and trailers
across the United States.
These are the drivers who have
begun what is expected to be a
long and possibly, at times, vio-
The drivers are bitter. They
want the cost of their diesel fuel
reduced, an end to the reduced
speed limits on the highways and
higher payment for their haulage
They have already shown their
bitterness by violence. Drivers
who have ignored strike calls
have been beaten, concrete
blocks have been dropped from
bridges on trucks still running,
companies - who employ 200,000
long-distance drivers - will take
their block purchases elsewhere,
the trucker council spokesper-
The drivers say that, apart
from the rising cost of fuel, they
were also hurt when the speed
limit on many of the state high-
ways was reduced from 70 to 55
miles an hour to save fuel.
men maintain the trucks run
more economically at 70 miles
an hour than at 55 miles an hour,
a claim refuted by some of the
truck manufacturers. The new
speed limit also means the driv-
ers make less runs, the spokes-
men point out.
This also affects company driv-
ers who obtain the bulk of their
they carry pigs and they haul
fresh foods, such as meat and
poultry - items which bring a
low haulage price.
The independents compete
among themselves, with brokers
seeking the lowest rates to ob-
tain business and with compa-
nies shipping the goods seeking
the lowest haulage price.
The drivers say that in a good
year, they can earn 25,000 dollars
a year - well-above the nation-
al average and far-above what
so-called blue-collar workers re-
ceive - after they have paid
their fuel, insurance, license
fees, new tires and other expect-
ed costs. But a big repair bill.
can dig into their earnings.
DRIVERS WORKING for com-
panies often earn more, but the
independents say they like their
freedom, they prefer working for
The drivers pride? themselves
on their roots. They call their
trucks "rigs"-the name given by
their grandfathers to the horse
They also have a sense of the
dramatic. Many drivers, but not
Bertini, help pass the time while
driving by calling each other up
on so-called citizen band radios.
They use nicknames while on the
air-"Red Fox, Red Fox, this
is Black Devil. I'm running into
Many of the drivers would be
regarded by their fellow country-
men working in offices as "red-
necks"-a term used to describe
someone who has had little edu-
cation, is a super-patriot, a
right - winger and a m a n u a l
The International Brotherhood
of Teamsters, the main drivers'
union, has refused to support the
independents-few of whom be-
long to the union-in their de-
mands, and this has caused bit-
terness between the independents
A Teamsters spokesperson said
the proposals made by Usery
had been sought by the union and
showed the drivers demands
could be met legitimately with-
out strike action. The Teamsters
have generally supported the
President Nixon paroled former,
union president James Hoffa in
A spokesman for the strikers,
William S c h e f i e r, said: "We
couldn't care less about (Frank)
Fitsimmons (w h o succeeded
Hoffa as union president). The
union has done nothing for in-
dependents trying to make a
THE MICHIGAN PAILY
Volume LXXXIV, Number 107
Thursday, February 7, 1974
is edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan. News ph'one
764-0562. Second class postage paid at
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Published
daily Tuesday through Sunday morning
during the University year at 420 May-
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Subscription rates: $10 by carrier (cam-
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Summer session published Tuesday
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ONE PICKETING TRUCKER in Norristown, Pa., shouts (left)
while police search another (right) after a passing trucker report-
edly identified him as having thrown rocks through a cab window.
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February 7, 8, 9
East Quad Auditorium
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WOMEN IN THE REEL WORLD
Free Filnm Festheual
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Wed., Feb. 6-Sun., Feb. 10
Physics & Astronomy Building
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