Truckers' Strike Enters Day Two - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/29/04

Truckers' Strike Enters Day Two

Independent truckers are walking off the job, or just not showing up for work, in a nationwide strike. In Savannah, drivers have done the same thing. They affecting the ports and small companies. Most trucking companies agree with the drivers' concerns, but say the strike may have an adverse affect on their businesses in the long run.

A handful of truck drivers stood their ground, side by side in picket lines for the second day in a row. The high cost of fuel and money is on their minds. Larry Lee has been in the business since 1972, and says the high costs and low pay has only gotten worse.

"Sometimes you got to choose between buying food for your family or buying tires for your truck or fuel," he said. "It's that bad."

Stationed right outside the Port Authority gates, the group is hoping to make an impact. But right now, it's not the ports taking a hit, but local trucking companies.

Savannah Cartage Incorporated has relied only on its company drivers for the past two days, because the independent drivers they contract with haven't shown up for work.

"We're very concerned about it," the company's Kurt Hutchinson said. "I'm sure a lot of the other companies are too, big or small. It's going to have an impact as each day progresses."

The strike could cause a chain reaction. It's not only the drivers who have the trucking companies concerned, but their customers as well.

"For them to get more money, I'd have to charge more to my customer," explained Hutchinson. "If I did charge more, they would use someone else who didn't charge as much."

But drivers say its time for change, and they're prepared to wait until they get their way.

We also contacted the Georgia Ports Authority, who wouldn't go on camera, but said they are operating at normal numbers today. Only time will tell if the strike will affect them or not.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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