‘Truckers to Shut Down America’ viral meme keeps moving

| September 24, 2013

In what seems to have started with a Facebook page launched by Florida resident Zeeda Andrews (aka Zeeda Hutton), a self-described “former country singer” with little connection to trucking other than long past truck-stop performances, an October 11-13 nationwide shutdown and concurrent convoy to the nation’s capitol drifted toward what could be called a mini semblance of organization over this past weekend.

Andrews appeared Saturday, Sept. 21, on an online radio show hosted by online radio host Pete Santilli at the site of the “Guerilla Media Network.” Santilli is the owner of the Ride for the Constitution.org site, which claims to be a central place for information on the Oct. 11-13 events, and his Guerilla Media site is now playing host to a daily online radio show hosted by Andrews centered around the notion of a driver shutdown. (The “Truckers to Shutdown America” Facebook page that launched the meme was either shut down itself or removed between Saturday and today; rumors that it was pulled by Facebook and not deleted by the owners were unable to be confirmed. A new page has popped up in the interim here.

Overdrive‘s attempts to contact Andrews directly went unresponded to before the first version of this story appeared on September 24. Andrews posted in commentary under the story developments to a list of demands she was putting together (also posted to the newer Truckers Ride for the Constitution Facebook page). As of this writing, they were largely centered on efforts to roll back various perceived regulatory and business encroachments on trucking business viability, including:

1) Environmental regulations “forcing the industry to put unproven technology in new trucks just to reduce emissions.” 

2) Federal allowance of “states, municipalities and businesses to pass anti-idling laws” making federally mandated rest ever more difficult to achieve in-cab.

3) Insurance companies not covering “trucking companies that don’t install in their trucks expensive logging software, GPS, and communications devices … thereby pushing independent truck drivers out of business because they can’t compete.” 

4) Attempts to “push legislation through that requires the independents to carry $1 million bond in addition to the insurance.”

5) The Affordable Care Act’s potential ripple effects “causing trucking companies to keep drivers’ hours below 30 hours … as they can’t afford the insurance increases.”

On Santilli’s show over the weekend, in addition to an ongoing concern over fuel prices, Andrews claimed a broad goal of “restoring our Constitution” for any shutdown or action. “The people that can’t get out there” for a convoy to D.C. on October 11, Andrews said, “can simply do nothing. Prepare yourself for it – no commerce, no banking, no shopping. Enjoy your family that day. We’ll encourage everybody to assemble peacefully” wherever they are, she added. 

A flyer hosted at RidefortheConstitution.org directs readers back to another site owned by online talk show host Pete Santilli -- text of the flyer begins with "Independent Truckers of America are essentially operating on slave wages..." Click through the image to read the text in full. For a decade, though income has been somewhat stagnant measured against inflation, average take-home for owner-operators in the United States has tracked around or above $50,000 yearly in Overdrive's surveys, and recent ATBS client data showed an overall $52/year average.

A flyer hosted at RidefortheConstitution.org directs readers back to another site owned by online talk show host Pete Santilli — text of the flyer begins with “Independent Truckers of America are essentially operating on slave wages…” Click through the image to read the text in full. For a decade, though income has been somewhat stagnant measured against inflation, average take-home for owner-operators in the United States has tracked around or above $50,000 yearly in Overdrive’s surveys, and recent ATBS client data showed an overall $52K/year average, hardly “slave wages.”

Callers into the Saturday edition of the show, including owner-operator William McKelvie, stressed that any action taken in the name of truckers needed to stress real-world trucking issues — from problems stemming from the new hours of service to CSA’s crash accountability problem and, generally, over-regulation and overreach by Anne Ferro’s FMCSA — not just broad concerns with generalized misdirection in government. “Our concern is that our issues will not be heard,” McKelvie noted.

Commenters far and wide around the web from the trucking community reflected such sentiment, if not objecting to the notion of a shutdown or “general strike” categorically. Many were keenly interested in the idea: Overdrive has seen numerous queries as to the validity of the called-for action since it started making its way around the web last week. 

For the first time this weekend, Andrews, with Santilli, named a date and place for the start  of a convoy, mentioning a planned rally Oct. 10 at the TravelCenters of America location on Lewiston Rd. in Ashland, Va. Prior to that, no mention of logistical details had been made, and little else emerged from nearly three hours of discussion Saturday on Santilli’s show. As Land Line writer Jami Jones put it in her dissection of the issues here, “the details of when and where are sketchy. No idea if permits have been applied for or if the group even understands the logistical nightmare of getting a tractor-trailer combination into the Washington, D.C., area. Much less near the Capitol or White House.”

Efforts are being made, however. A call placed to the mentioned TA location from an organizer had been made days ago, store manager Jay Farley said the morning of September 24. He referred the caller to TravelCenters of America’s corporate office. TA’s Tom Liutkus told Overdrive this morning that no rally will be hosted at the Ashland location on October 10 and that organizers would have to look for another, more public location to assemble. 

Also over the weekend, the Huffington Post ran this item on the virality of the former “Truckers to Shut Down America” Facebook page, which at its height had generated more than 77,000 likes in the course of just several days. In the Huffington Post piece, Sean McNally of the American Trucking Associations disavowed any rumored association of his organization with the shutdown effort. Andrews had quoted the ATA’s 2006 “When Trucks Stop, America Stops” white paper on what would happen if an act of terrorism or other emergency shut down the trucking industry.

That paper also inspired in part this fictional story — about a government-mandated emergency shutdown — which first appeared in Truckers News in the year 2008. 

 

The numerous owner-operator shutdowns of the 1970s were mentioned in historical context in this “Breaking Free” feature on owner-operator business history in our 2011 50th anniversary issue

  • Paul Haller

    Whats wrong with a two day shut down?? Congress shuts down, Congress wants to shut America down because of the new Federal Insurance.. What the upper crust does not want to happen is that all truckers would unite as in a organization or union under one leader.. Pres. Reagan doused the Air Traffic Controllers Union, And today the Gov. of Wis. is going after the Teachers Union to lower pay and benefits, which will lower the standards of education in America so the ruling class can easily CONTROL the working people. You don’t want the common people to be smart, you want them to listen and follow directions. (not to mention what the Gov. of Wis. is doing with the PUBLIC HUNTING LANDS in Wis. and HIS TEXAN FRIENDS!!) It’s a constant battle that will never end, Work for me and I will SCREW you every way I can. I will lie to you, I will talk down to you, I will fire you, all in the sake of making more money for me and my investor buddies. Do we the workers give up and accept the scraps or do we say I am an AMERICAN WORKER with SKILLS and this is what I and my fellow workers WANT and it’s this or we are going to be like CONGRESS and shut this country down…..

  • Paul Haller

    As I wright and respond to this site i’m being hacked!

  • Todd Dills

    I like that idea, Raveman. Thanks for bringing it up — would work if they were all paying detention.

  • Todd Dills

    Definitely sent email to Zeeda and Ben’s Ridefortheconstitution.org emails, Peter, as noted in a reply above to Zeeda’s comment. Check around 10-noon central time 9/23/2013 from tdills@randallreilly.com if you like, though it doesn’t much matter. Have made contact now. (Sent mail a couple times to the old Facebook page mid-last week, too, as William noted as well.)

  • Anna Lowdermilk

    Reading this makes me wonder what happened to your list of “demands” on your original Facebook page. I remember they included the removal of all Muslims from our government. The only demand on that original Facebook page that was an actual trucking industry related concern was fuel prices. It seems your demands have now changed. What prompted this change in your thinking or do you still demand the removal of all Muslims from our government?

  • John Lenhardt

    STOP PAYING OOIDA AND ATA FOR STARTERS WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR THIS INDUSTRY IN YEARS EXCEPT USE YOUR MONEY TO TAKE THOSE IDIOTS IN WASHINGTON TO LUNCH WITH

  • John Lenhardt

    OOIDA AND ATA WAIT THEY GIVE U THAT FANCY STICKER TO PUT ON YOUR WINDOW IF YOU WANT ILL BUY YOU AN IM AN IDIOT STICKER I SUPPORT OOIDA IF YOU WANT

  • Jon McLaughlin

    Why don’t we all just shut down for a week, nobody haul freight at all. Put signs or window paint on our windshields saying “ON STRIKE”. Park our trucks where they are visible, in truck stops, rest areas, on ramps where still allowed, even in malls and shopping centers.
    We can and many of us do work 70 hours a week for a paltry amount of money for what we do and have to put up with. We have brokers taking as much as 50% of the load and also keep the fuel surcharge that they charge the consignee’s. Then they whine when we ask for another ten cents a mile.
    Fuel prices are going up and freight rates are down and weren’t really up much this year.
    I was cussed out by a shipping clerk because he was of the belief that “I” was charging them $4500.00 on a load that weighed 14,000 Lbs and going just over 1100 miles. I got my laptop and showed him my rate confirmation showing that I was getting $1400.00 for that load.
    Maybe we need regulations for the BROKERS. Where they have to show us exactly what they are charging for the load and they cannot keep more than 25% of the rate and we get 100% of the fuel surcharge. They don’t need a new Beemer or Mercedes every year.

  • Bush Haulers Bush

    We are Owner Oper. Don’t really have a say in anything anymore we just keep sucking it up the new laws cause that’s the only way we can survive. But we are the BEST at what we do, always on time to load and unload no matter cause we have no one to send in to pick up for not being there. The big companies are the losers companies and they will never be a real Trucking Comp. If we really want to prove our point we all need to hurt America so they will get the real picture and that’s STOP ALL TRUCKS ON MONDAY! TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY that way come Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they will get the point cause there stores and shelves will be empty. Now that will get America to say Maybe Trucking Comp aren’t doing such a bad job maybe it’s ok to go the extra mile like we used to and still do
    America needs to wake up and get out of the
    DAMM GOVERNMENT POCKETS we need to take this county back it used to be WE THE PEOPLE but now it’s we the government
    STAND PROUD STAND TALL PARK THOSE TRUCKS WEEKDAYS and hit them where it hurts the worse
    We will park

  • Sportsbozo1

    It is a long overdue event. This country doesn’t care about the truckers who care for everyone’s needs by sacrificing their own lives. the compensation has been cut by 1/3 over the last 4 years, the D.O.T. guidelines are only a means for forcing the American trucker into buying systems to line the pockets of politicians, and local municipalities. Tickets are another form of thievery used by states who are in financial straits. I’m a semi retired ex driver and found the headache was no longer worth my efforts. Good luck to my brothers and sisters of the highway, it is a battle that must be fought! We can do it now, or do it later, but at some point the government has too support the truckers of this nation. Even if it means by forcing them to listen.

  • g

    Hell Ya!!! Roll On to Shut Down Time!!!

  • g

    A Gov. Mandate would Guarantee THAT.
    Time Stamp when driver ARRIVES and When he leaves the PROPERTY..also certified by GPS which most of us have.

  • g

    10-4 WE have NO CHOICE. We have no industry to continue on with….being ripped to shreads by FEDS!

  • bigred

    You are the biggest problem in this business…Your a damn idiot trying to tell us to shut up since we have better trucks,,,,Where is the damn money, the time to make the money and why do we need to be told when to drive and when to stop..Your another one those safety guys that pushes a pencil and knows nothing of what our needs are….STFU ..

  • MD

    I hear about a convoy, etc. Why would someone spend money on diesel and drive. NO. What everyone should do is park it and call in sick and take a week of rest to cure from the illness that you may have. Food poisoning, dizziness, etc. To easy. Pull out a lawn chair and enjoy some time talking to your fellow drivers, etc.
    Stop putting your money into OOIDA and ATA and all these people that say they are for you when in actuallity, they are not. They are not suffering, they are having T-Bone steak parties on the weekend on your dime.
    Take care of you and your family. Big companies own less than 20% of the highways and half the seats are empty. You own the rest.
    But driving to DC will not do anything. The CEO’s will know you are coming and go on a vacation somewhere else and could care less.

  • JE Taratuta

    Tsk, tsk . . .

  • Hardbody trucker

    I pray daily that something can be done about the regulations & stipulations placed upon this industry. If it wasn’t for paper logs I’d be better off packing bags at a grocery store. If we could stand united as truckers & turn our engines off for 2 days then maybe our wishes would get attention & respect. However you got those that are afraid to stand up in their own profession for better days.

  • Hbtrux

    this is NOT about trucking it is about shutting down DC’S power and DEMANDING arrest of Gov. who are guilty of TREASON and violating their Oath of office! and as for logistics there is a plan.. truck n trailers is not going into DC. they will circle 495 loop & the bobtails will join the supporters in cars and bikes into the city.. Zeeda is the PR part I AM THE TRUCKING SIDE and I started this! CHECK YOUR SOURCES OVERDRIVE!

  • Hbtrux

    Are demands have not changed FB shut us down and trolls tried to take over..

  • Hbtrux

    also as stated before this is NOT about trucking issues it is about removing corruption in ALL levels of GOV. and letting the FREE MARKET do it’s thing.

  • Dave

    And there you go. A shutdown for a 3 day weekend is a joke. A lot of drivers are already home for the weekend. So, what will you prove in a recliner at home with a beer in your hand. OCT 10-13 is a weekend. Bush has the right idea. Just like the last little strike. People went home for the weekend and put a sign in their windshield. Yeah. Nothing got done. And the truckers were titled once again,”a joke”. So, strike when were home. Good logic! I’m all for a strike. I lose money everyday now. But, striking when its nice and comfortable for you at home. And, your not getting tractor trailers by the capital. You shutdown and have someone speak for you. Shutdown with freight in your trailer during the week. That way your shutting down production lines and distribution. You have to get the big businesses screaming for the government to do something. Big businesses,Big government they are hand in hand. Wake up, do it right. Or your once again going to be titled dumbass truckers.

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/ Lime Kitty

    The fact that you choose to try to intimidate me by childishly making fun of my screen name tells me that you don’t have the skill, knowledge, or maturity to organize something of this type. I also work for the trade media, so you may want to hold your tongue and try to act like a professional for five seconds.

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/ Lime Kitty

    At least I can spell and use proper punctuation, there, Einstein. You’d be surprised how far that goes toward getting people to take you seriously.

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/ Lime Kitty

    What are you talking about? I looked at the home page of your site once. I’ve certainly never took the time to comment anywhere on it.

    Again, the fact that you are here taking the time to try to pick fights with me instead of laying out any sort of rational argument to sway me tells me that you are not the appropriate person to lead a protest of this magnitude. Stop kicking your feet like an angry child and tell me what the actual agenda is for this protest if I am wrong.

    I have seen plenty of truckers say what they want to see come from this protest, but I have heard nothing from the supposed organizers saying what their actual goal is beyond Tea Party propaganda.

  • john f

    you sound like the sort that would drive his COMPANY truck even if there was a strike ! What planet are you from ? The trucking industry is under attack from these legislative a holes, and wanna be’s like you make me want to puke ! Go stick your head back in the sand, and drive your day cab around the block !

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/ Lime Kitty

    LOL

  • William McKelvie

    Pardon me? The old rules you could not get a full 70 after a 34??? What you been smoking? Anne Ferro weed??

  • William McKelvie

    Pay attention now Ken, let me explain so you can understand my comment. THIRTY MINUTES IS 30 MINUTES. That means you MUST take it all at once!! NO FLEXIBILITY in THAT. Still confused?? Let me confuse you more, if you take the break at the WRONG TIME, you have to take another one if you work another 8 hour period. Need more clarification now? I hope not. NO TWO DAYS in trucking are EVER the same. Never.

  • Mike Smith

    I’m going to keep it simple like this post. Every paragraph here is the truth.

    On the subject of rates; a recent OverDrive report says rates are on the rise, & more drivers will be needed. This statement supports my theory that all media is behold’n to the corporations who pay them & that we will never hear the truth from the media.

    Our country & our fellow CITIZENS are in danger, we are under attacked. Our wages driven, & lifestyle have been driven down, from the corporations, the brainwashing, Propaganda Machine called the media, and the flood of Mexican’s invading our country taking up our jobs, & truck driving jobs as well.

  • Chico Bennett

    I have my time in. we’ve been talking about that for years. My question is, who is this going to benefit shutting down on the week end? Monday through Friday is our busiest time. Wouldnt we benefit more if we shut down three days during the week? Im just asking.

  • William McKelvie

    I tried sending it there, not working? Will try later, must be my current location.

  • Smallguyoutofbusiness

    I had to shut down my little mom and pop operation due to so many issues with the trucking industry. The truth is this, NO ONE in Washington cares about the American People. IF this was the case then every BIG change would go to the polls and allow for the PEOPLE to vote on it. The decision would no longer be decided in back rooms over whiskey and cigars. The governing BODIES, which need to be voted out, ALL OF THEM, have no interest in doing what is best for the Soviet states of America. This is not in their plan. Their plan is to divide and conquer. To here of the banter that is transpiring between the few blog responses, I’d day that the American people are making that job easy. Get over the fact that we are individuals with annoying quirks and opinion and UNITE for the greater good. Personally I could care less as to who is right or wrong, Let us focus on WHAT is right and WHAT is wrong.

  • zeedaandrews

    I will not submit and hold my first amendment while you spew lies and miss information. As journalist you should know to stick to the facts and not your opinion which you have a right to do. I also respond to kind in your own professional manner in which you speak. Have a blessed day!

  • guest

    Hilarious….yep Ken Boy is always trotted out by this rag…when there is controversy..he always takes the side of the Feds and The Rich…belittling the Truckers….he is probably an Office Worker. lol

  • zeedaandrews

    I agree and disagree, I have yet to find the voice to truly represent the Independent trucker or the Industry as a whole I am looking for that voice in this endeavor but have not found them. If you know someone that can speak for the Truckers in this movement I would like to vet them in. media@ridefortheconstitution.org

  • guest

    Yep “Ken” is a Fake…he is a made up
    “trucker”..spouts absolute Bull Crap every time truckers have a BEED about something….Always sides with The RICHMAN….he may be a COP just having a good laugh.

  • guest

    Everything is Rosy according to KEN…the guys is Hilarious….he is a puppet and a Shill for somebody.

  • guest

    Oops make that BEEF…..

  • William McKelvie

    What are you looking for? LOL. I am too passionate? LOL. I might know one person, or two.

  • g

    Man aint THAT the Truth…Mexico has a corner on our freight market..nearly every Citizen from Mexico is up here driving a truck!!!

  • g

    Yea that 30 minute “Baby Bottle Break” is what YOU may need….I dont need to be told when to take a crap Thank YOU just the same..You dispatcher..get back to your DESK you FAKE shmuck.

  • zeedaandrews

    Get in touch with Earl Conlon he is the Trucker in charge with the logistics to DC. His email huggyboo2u@hotmail.com

  • g

    Ken Boy has never driven a Truck ONE Inch..he is a creation of this Rag…..he comes out every time there is disention and sides with THE RICH. He is a FAKE. Disregard.

  • g

    Calm down Kitty..we can take it from here..back into your little rubber suit now…the one wear the Arms tie in the Back???

  • g

    Back into the Police Station Ken you shift is almost over…You COP…thanks for the laughs you Fake.

  • g

    Lime Titty you are a waste of time and making everyone TIRED…you dont drive a truck…pls go back to your water cooler….what a jerk.

  • BOB SILVA

    Independent truck drivers need to get organize and build one of most powerful organizations in the country.
    REMEMBER WE OWNERS OPERATORS MOVE AMERICA !!!!!!!!

    What about if we stop America.

    OIL COMPANIES, CORPORATION, GOVERNMENT THEY WILL LISTEN TO US.

  • g

    Sure YOU are a Typist…yippee…why are you hear hassling Truckers??
    Surely an intelectual Giant like YOU has better things to do??? You are here Trying to MOOCH…whats ur angle?? You know nothing about Trucking so what benefit are your DUMB comments.REPEAT with correct spelling??? What knowledgeable info do YOU have for US since YOU are SOOOO Smart?

  • g

    He IS a Muslim..his Daddy was a Muslim and he went to a Muslim School….

  • BOB SILVA

    Big Corporations and politician, they don’t want you to subside as Owner Operator. They have invested much money in transportation business , they rule the business, they come with all the new laws. none of them is to help you. All of them are created to take you out of business. Then in desperation you must to work for them sign their insane contracts and work for almost nothing, just enough to keep you living in your CAB.

    OWNER OPERATOR GET TOGETHER YOU RULE !!!!!!!