‘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

  • Nathan Stine

    I hope that this strike is done and done soon cause some of the crap I went through driving just made me wanna puke some days. Especially when you are a company driver and they give you a new truck and say there thats all you need and by the way we are only gonna pay you .25 cents a mile and every time your truck moves a foot it counts against your drive time. Something needs to be done and done soon. I would fully support a shutdown just so these pencil pushing lawmakers would have to scrounge for things like they expect all of us too

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    I certainly hope all of you with failing business models shut down, many of you need to be weeded out of this industry.

    I’ll continues to run my business profitably, while others that don’t even know their cost per mile of operation continue to spiral into bankruptcy.

  • Mike Smith

    I agree with you on most points. As far as your counting on voting, you are sadly mistake if you think voting means anything anymore. For one thing our voting system has been seriously compromised by Mexicans & their spawn, & other foreigners voting, in our country, for all things Mexican, etc.. And next the reps we put in office just do what the corporate traitors want them to do. Just look at that piece of trash Sen. McCain, Harry Reid, etc.., do.

    To add to seriousness of our of our situation all you have to do is look at CA.

    So. CA is now been taken over by Mexico/Mexicans. Gov. Brown is now trying to initiate a law that protects illegal aliens from the police & border patrol & customs.

    These problems all merge together. And these are the reasons & more, as to why we need truckers to stop operations at some given point or points until government & corporations get the point. My fear is that they will allow even more Mexicans into our country to replace us.

  • Ken Nilsen

    No, you are incorrect, I am an owner of my own truck and I am not the problem. Educate yourself before making yourself look like an idiot.

  • Ken Nilsen

    You are the fake, as you do not have the guts to sign in using a real name.

  • Ken Nilsen

    I am referring to the rules prior to the 34 being instituted.

  • guest

    maybe you should blame all of the AMERICAN companies that break AMERICAN laws when hiring undocumented workers. It’s easy to try to pick a fight with a worker and not the multi million dollar company that exploits them isn’t it?

  • Ken Nilsen

    You sir/mam are a total ass. Sign in with a real name, you are the only fake to be seen here.

  • guest

    just be careful, trucks congesting DC might be classified as “terrorists”

  • Ken Nilsen

    Hmmm, Lets see here, most shippers/receivers are not open weekends, congress will not be in session, it is a federal holiday, so what will this actually accomplish?

  • zeedaandrews

    Anna there were several Admins, on that FB page that have different political views they are not mine. I had to get everyone on the same agenda not their personal one. Their will be two separate demands. One from the Truckers and the other from the Will of the People This movement this is not about race religion or creed. We answer to the same God that has many names This is about unity and humanity.

  • Mike Smith

    They are driving down wages & rates. I just had a Mexican snag a $1,000 rate payout, from under me. The Mexican was from Fontana,CA, had a MEXICAN name on his truck. I did get a $250.00 show up fee though. The shipper was from Fontana, probably favoring the cheap Mexican truck company.

    To add to this. Last week a Mexican truck & Mexican driver was taking way to long to tie down his load, holding me up & the forklift driver. The forklift guy said the driver could hardly understand what the forklift guy was saying when he was telling him how to tie down the load. This crap is going on regularly. Half, if not more, of the trucks are coming into my territory are Mexican’s from So Cal, Fontana. This is an attack on American Citizens. It is threat to us. And we little indignation in the media on this,

  • g

    Sure…your name shows up as a Blogger…you are a Journalist of some kind and rag on truck drivers for not having the EDUCATION you have because you went to school to be a White Collar office worker and you are probably a COP too.

  • guest

    Sure they had an illegal alien “trucker” who lived in FONTANA..in 2010 he was arrested with 45 MILLION DOLLARS of Narcotics in his truck out on I-10…its here on Google….Trucker Arrested 45 Million Dollars in Dope. Sure they are all over Calif..cops get paid to let them GO…this must have been a Mistake to search him lol.
    Calif has illegals driving 18 wheelers all over the state….

  • zeedaandrews

    I agree, I am trying to find that person now. The only thing that matters is my allegiance to the trucker to get something done the American people do not realize the harder it gets on the trucker the harder it gets on the people.So now everyone is aware and that is all that matters.

  • guest

    THIS Guest aggrees with Mike Smith..these illegal aliens shouldnt be here to BEGIN with…then the Law Breaking Corporations wouldnt Be ABLE to hire the ignorant clown illegal aliens.

  • guest

    THIS “Guest” agrees with Mike Smith..illegal aliens need to be arrested if caught driving an 18 wheeler and Thrown in prison for 20 years…this would send a message to these illegal foreign chumps to get the hell back to their OWN country.

  • g

    I bet it really Torques a Jive sucker like you….you Bootlicking Yes Man…I hear your operations manager calling you…back to your Dispatch desk you obediant slave. You must be a reserve COP on weekends only?? OR do you work in the weigh station BUSTING truckers for light bulb infractions??? ahahahahah lol.

  • Guest

    Until corruption is addressed no meaningful change can take place.

  • john f

    Yeah he is hilarious ! He just infuriates me, like that one person wrote, he is part of the problem ! He claims to own trucks, and been in the industry for 23 yrs. If that were true, he would be on this side of the fence, because he would be struggling with the same issues that every independent contractor is facing these days. And MR been in the business for 23 yrs, I have to tell you having 30 plus years and a small fleet, that THIS IS THE WORST I HAVE EVER HAD IT !! Why do you think they keep passing laws that directly affect us ??!!

  • john f

    YOU ARE THE IDIOT… GO DRIVE YOUR DAY CAB AROUND THE BLOCK !!

  • john f

    TIME to go Jimmy Hoffa on ALL of them !!

  • William McKelvie

    How LONG you been out here did you say Ken? 35th year for me thanks. So YES, things have gotten really bad out here, they have NEVER been this bad. And for you to make a statement contrary to that? Again, are you that drinking Anne Ferro kool aid??

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

    I didn’t spread any misinformation. The things I am saying are the things I saw on the original Facebook page that was banned.

    I’m not much of a fan of Obama or his policies, but there is plenty to criticize without making things up about the guy.

    I never denied your freedom of speech, so you can stow your persecution complex. I do find it ironic, though, that you quote the first amendment at me, considering your radio interview went on and on about how about we need to bring God back into this country. Apparently you missed this part of the first amendment “The government shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion.” If you’re going to “ride for the Constitution,” I’d recommend that you try actually reading what the Constitution says first.

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

    Try reading more so you can get your facts straight. He barely knew his father during childhood. The guy visited him once for a few days when he was 10 years old. His parents were divorced when he was three and his Dad moved back to Kenya. His mother was white and a Christian and raised him. So which do you think had more influence on him?

    The public school he went to was predominantly Muslim. After that he went to a Catholic school, and then he was home-schooled for awhile before moving back to the States.

    Which part of this makes him a Muslim again? Pray tell.

    As I said before, I don’t like his policies. I think he is a lame duck president, at best. But I can’t stand this misinformation being spread all over instead of people focusing on the real issues. Uneducated nitwits like you always grasping for the lime light is the reason so many people are uninformed in this country.

  • Michele Eshleman-O’Donnell

    Really Bill I say You, Jason & Richard make a really good knowledgeable voice!! You 3 would get my vote!

  • g

    Nothing for a COP like You…..you wont be able to write any citations will you COP Ken???
    YOU are a D.O.T officer….trying to pretend you have ever actually been a Trucker..what a LAUGH.

  • USMC 69-75

    There are a lot of “O/O’s” out there, which are nothing more than glorified company driver’s…… buying a truck doesn’t make you an O/O!

    Before you go and call me names, and make your foolish accusations.

    I have 41 years and more than four million miles under my belt ( I have more time sitting at stop
    signs than you do rolling down the road, your post tells me so!). I have been everything from a
    company driver, lease purchase, and O/O lease operator. To now I have been running under my
    own authority, probably longer than you have been driving, and YES things have gone from bad
    to worse. At least when Bush was in, fuel was at $1.89 and the rates were what they are today.
    So! Mr. O/O, how are you operating on that making $1,400 to $2,000 a month truck payment,
    except for driving your body and truck into the ground, and loving it???
    The funny thing is, I will probably still be out here, long after you have given up and gone home.
    I don’t haul cheap freight, and I know how to change a light bulb, or the brakes on my truck.
    My equipment is paid for, and I just run local now and yes loving it! So go back to your widdle
    desk and put a lid on it….

  • USMC 69-75

    That explains a lot Kenny boy! I’ll stick to the old log days, to the new, any day! At least with the
    old log rules, you could find a parking spot in a truck stop. Now if your not in one before 5
    o’clock….. you SOL! I never ran out of hours, but we also had the exceptions to fall back on, of
    which I have used numerous times and had log tickets dismissed on. Heck! I even school the
    DOT on hours of service, because he didn’t know how to add and subtract! So you drink your Kool-aid
    and just shut up, you DO NOT know what you are talking about!
    True, times change, but if it isn’t broke……DON’T fix it! But it’s all power and money, and
    we’re paying for it, whose the idiots? If we don’t FORCE our voice be heard, it will never again!

  • USMC 69-75

    Mike, What do expect, CA is giving the illegals licenses, are tax exempt, with FREE health care! How do you compete?

  • USMC 69-75

    Whose picking fights with whom?

    Typical Libtard’s tactics…….

  • Linda L. Thompson

    It is past the time for all of us to do this. Finally we are getting the courage to do what is necessary.

  • Peter T. Santilli

    W-T-H? Who ~IS~ this person writing these articles claiming that they are contacting Zeeda or myself. NOBODY is contacting us, and the reader needs to understand that this article is completely one-sided and definitely biased towards some funky hidden agenda. We want our country back. Anyone who opposes that is not thinking straight.

  • g

    Hilarious!!!

  • g

    I would be surprised if ken boy drives anything but a car.

  • JCLincoln

    Shut the sucker down!

  • William McKelvie

    Thank you very much Michele, but I am not ready at this point to do that. We have SERIOUS issues in our industry that Ferro and friends do not want to hear. NCTA just sent TWENTY THREE trucking company representatives to DC to meet with Foxx. When they got there, they got a LAME excuse and got Ferro, whom I am told stood behind the agency and their decisions. Imagine that. She has made things VERY DANGEROUS for the motoring public in their most recent stance against standardized testing and training with accredited trainers. Three weeks is far from long enough, even learners permits for automobiles is a longer process!!!!

  • Todd Dills

    I can assure you, “guest,” that Ken is a real person and comments here of his own volition. He is not “trotted out” by anyone…

  • USMC 69-75

    What’s hilarious about the truth g?

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

    Your use of the word “Libtard” gives away your intelligence level, not to mention your Tea Party affiliation. Thanks for using it so I knew not to dignify your comment with a lengthy response.

  • Johnny Foo

    He must be a Muslim because his Christian preacher said something that made people angry.

  • Martin

    Topic shift: If you’re a trade journalist You should cover my story! :-) It’s already been on overdriveonline & many other outlets. It’s a real issue affecting truckers & their right to sleep uninterupted, which the feds constantly stress is ‘so important’. See dontwakemeup.org for details.

  • USMC 69-75

    Sorry if the truth hurts…..Oh! Wait…..no I’m not. But you are what you are, I’m dam proud to be an American, call me a tea party affiliate, or libertarian, conservative, or constitutionalists……I’m a dam proud American, and not some socialist, progressive, libtard like you!
    As they say sticks and stones, but the truth will prevail, so crawl back under your rock, it’s beginning to get rank in here, probably that rotten lime on your head. Your avatar says a lot about you!

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

    You can’t be a “Libertarian” and a “Tea Party Affiliate.” The Libertarian party speaks directly in opposition to the extreme right as well as the extreme left. I have been considering registering as Libertarian, actually.

    Funny how you talk about sticks and stones. You are the only one name-calling here. Your maturity is showing.

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

    I’ll take a look. Thanks Martin.

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

    You can talk about sticks and stones all you like. You are the only one flinging names here.

    And as you say…sorry if the truth hurts. Because the truth is all I’ve said here. You can delude yourself if you like. No skin off my back.

  • http://mexicotrucker.com/ Porter M. Corn
  • Trusk Stop

    Its about time. Thanks for helping to spread the word.

  • USMC 69-75

    That’s nose Miss. prissey……your the one that likes to twist the truth, you wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you in your butt. Like I said typical progressive lib! Now go sniff you cat nip, or your litter box, they are both the same for the likes of you….

  • NICK

    I SAY SHUT ER DOWN FOR A MONTH ECSPECIALLY IN CALIF.