AUSTIN, Texas - More than two dozen truckers lined up in a convoy and drove around Austin, from Austin Community College to the Texas State Capitol, up I-35, and into Pflugerville...all in protest. They are protesting for many reasons, including transparency with brokers, aka middlemen.
“We need the brokers to be regulated. We are being abused. What I’m tired of is brokers not having any type of compassion for us drivers, or for the industry,” said Alex Veloz, owner and operator of Golden Path Enterprise.
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Veloz said he is passionate about his work but doesn't want it to be ruined by greed, especially in an uncertain time where Americans rely on supplies from drivers.
“They are taking 40, 60, 70…I’ve even seen up to 75 percent of payment on a shipment be deducted,” he said.
Mike Strange is concerned about the government trying to control his business that he invested more than $200,000 into.
“The federal government is giving us regulations that we have to follow. Every year there is a new regulation. This year it's the alcohol and drug clearinghouse. I have to join it and sometime in the year I have to purchase a report from the government about myself. It's not costly. But the thing about all these regulations is if I don't do it, they can close my business down,” said Strange.
He also said income for many truckers has been slashed significantly, and insurance is sky-high.
“The regular trucking rate from Dallas to Houston used to be $800. Today it's like $250 to do the same load. So who's getting extra money?” said Strange. He also said he pays around $12,000 a year for liability insurance.
The group in Austin was not alone. Truckers in Washington, D.C. also lined up to protest near the White House. These truckers say they started driving because they had a love for the job.
The drivers also mentioned a new system that makes them work longer hours unwillingly. Now all they want is transparency, fairness, a decent wage, and compassion from the government and brokers.
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