Recalcitrant politicos in sights of anti-mandate rallies kicking off Monday nationwide

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The grassroots coalition of groups of owner-operators and drivers actively opposed to the FMCSA’s electronic logging device mandate, set to go into effect for most truckers under the purview of the rule on December 18, hit their press contacts yesterday with a release detailing the variety of events around the nation.

A member of the ELD or Me group the last day of October D.C. ELD demonstrations, at the White House.A member of the ELD or Me group the last day of October D.C. ELD demonstrations, at the White House.

Over the course of the week, I’ve talked with a couple hosting events other than those mentioned in the prior post from early this week. Owner-operator Binda Atwal, whom regular readers will recall from coverage of demonstrations in California led by the Sikh-American community out West, is part of a small group inviting media and the public to one or the other of two sites in Fresno, California – either the site of the office of Congressman Jim Costa or outside of the federal courthouse there (final details are still in the works).

“We’re trying to have 8 to 10 people there and we alerted the media,” Atwal says.

Other sites in California have their own events planned, including Bakersfield, Ontario and Oakland.

In North Carolina, a state where resident truckers have for several years been engaged with the state over parking issues along major corridors, which I’ve reported on in some degree, owner-operators Ted Williams and William McKelvie are point people for the 9 a.m. Eastern rally at Bill’s Truck Stop in Linwood, N.C., exit 86 on I-85 between Charlotte and Greensboro.

Owner-operator McKelvie notes the group tried to locate their efforts close to state government offices in state capitol Raleigh, but local officials’ approvals were only willing and able to offer space for a single tractor-trailer. Considering many of those intending to participate would be getting to the event by truck, operators both “from north of where 85 and 77 come together, some coming from south of there, too, a few north of 85” west of the 85-77 junction. McKelvie says core participants have planned an informal meet-and-greet amongst themselves for Saturday, for planning purposes.

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Bill’s Truck Stop will be the rally point Monday “in solidarity with all the events” going on around the nation. Professional truckers are invited to gather there. McKelvie and Williams have stressed that attitude of professionalism around the event to those participating and contacts at the truck stop, McKelvie says, who’s well aware of the issues truckers face in the state, particularly the parking situation she sees personally at the stop where she works daily.

Parking issues, as McKelvie’s said in the past, he believes will be exacerbated quite a lot by the ELD mandate as last-minute searches grow in frequency and the dearth of spaces throws drivers into violation.

He’s hopeful that this Dec. 4 “ELD media blitz,” as participants are calling the collective actions around the nation, will finally garner the attention of media and lawmakers around delaying the mandate. The issue has dragged on for so long, McKelvie says, many lawmakers have simply become recalcitrant — as have some drivers, too — in the face of a growing feeling of inevitability around the mandate. “The politicians all say the same thing,” McKelvie says, paraphrasing them: “‘You’ve got so many against it, so many for it. … it’s been through two administrations already,’ they say,” so they’re just going to let it fly. What McKelvie hears in such logic is that “they don’t want to do their jobs” and address the concerns of constituents.

Whatever happens, it’s certain something will, with close to all states at this point covered in some form or fashion in the coordinated efforts. As I noted in the last post on the subject, you’ll find more information about the various locations in the “Location info” pdf, which is being updated as more info is available by organizers, at this link to the groups’ Facebook page.