Give the Union Its Due
Randy Grider, I read your column [Editor's Journal, October 2002] about how proud you are of your dad. The memories of trucking with my dad are very important to me. I also took my kids with me and they still talk about their experiences.
One bit of advice my dad gave me was that, whatever you do, stay with a union company and you’ll have a pension for life. I have 34 years in the union and plan to retire soon. I was very sad to read you praise your dad for helping deter a union.
I hear truckers complain of cheap freight, forced dispatch, no waiting time pay, cheap wages and no benefits. I’m so thankful I work for a union company and get it all.
Deregulation began with Jimmy Carter, and it has helped to destroy personal ownership and small businesses. Our country allows conglomerates to consolidate everything from transportation to insurance. Deregulation has helped to destroy the unions, which were formed to help all individuals to a better life.
Remember, unions are workers, organized to benefit themselves with better working conditions and benefits.
I heard on our local news how the truckers are going to watch out for our children. I had to write this long-overdue letter and say that there are angels on wheels.
Thirty-three years ago, my son, who was less than a year old, and I went to Detroit to see my mother. Returning home, an hour and a half away from our home in Port Huron, the car quit. I sat there with the hood up for three hours and nobody stopped. Then came my trucker angel. He called my husband and then bought me a cold drink and some milk for my son.
I just want people to know how wonderful truck drivers are and give them a break. They have families. The next time you see one of these angels of the road, give them a smile or say hello.
Trucker Clarifies Story
I was interviewed by Truckers News for an article about women in trucking in your October issue. I would like to point out one error.
It was written that I lost my husband when I “refused to stay at home and raise the kids.” This made me look like I just abandoned my kids to drive a truck, while saddling my husband with the responsibility of bringing them up alone.
The truth is that I have never had any children. Early on I decided that I wanted to pursue a career instead of being a housewife and raising a family. I was very upfront with my husband on this before our marriage, and he agreed it would not be a problem.
Later, he changed his mind, but I still wanted to pursue my trucking career, which by this time was already established. He decided he could not handle the trucker lifestyle I lived and demanded that I stay home and get a “real job.” This is what caused my marriage to fail.
I have always advised women with young children that their primary responsibility is to their children, and that an over-the-road trucking career would be a bad choice at that time. I would never refuse to care for my children if I had any.
Editor’s note: Truckers News regrets the misunderstanding and any embarrassment the article may have caused Cathy Mathews and is happy to help set the record straight.
4-Wheelers Not All Bad
Not all four-wheelers are stupid. I live and work in the Hurricane/Scott Depot area of West Virginia [I-60], and I let truckers out of truckstops all the time. I get curses, obscene gestures and horns blown from four-wheelers, but I just ignore them.
There are good and bad four-wheelers, just as there are good and bad truckers. So don’t lump us all in one sack. May God bless and keep you all safe.
Scott Depot, W.Va.
Amidst this heightened awareness of ourselves as a nation under threat and in addition to posting flags on our vehicles, here is an additional idea to express our patriotism: Stop all unnecessary idling. Do we really want to be so dependent on foreign oil?
There are more than 300,000 American children with asthma and that number is rising rapidly. The increase is directly influenced by diesel exhaust. Lung cancer has now been directly related to breathing diesel fumes. Diesel vehicles are 2 percent of all the vehicles on the road, yet are responsible for more than 40 percent of the emissions.
Expand your comfort zone a little below 30 degrees Fahrenheit with blankets and a little above 75 degreed Fahrenheit with a fan.
A patriotic nation takes care of itself, takes care of its own and respects the resources that sustain it.