The fuse that was lit at the Port of LA/Long Beach continues to burn its way around the country, and now it seems action will continue again this week. Billy Randel, a 30-year trucking veteran, is the chief organizer for Trucker’s Movement for Justice (TMJ), and he is this week’s guest on the BTU Podcast, powered by OTR Solutions.
TMJ is a group of drivers who are seeking to continue the momentum of their fellow port drivers in attracting national attention to the plight of their working conditions. One could say TMJ harkens back to the days of Jimmy Hoffa-style organization, without the corporate organization. Randel even remembers where he was when Hoffa disappeared.
“We are fed up and we are tired of not having a voice and we are the power in the industry. Nothing moves without us. There are too many drivers here who are homeless and they stay on the road because they have no place to live. There are too many drivers who actually qualify for federal food stamp assistance. We want to end sharecropping and take back the power that drivers once had when we were organized decades ago.”Billy Randel in an interview with Tittle Press
Randel is a bit of a figure in the worker rights movement, having been written about in The Guardian, The New York Times, and Tittle Press. His TMJ group is a more individualized, but organized operation than the Teamsters. He believes that truckers should move and speak en masse, not with figureheads who speak for them.
As we have seen in the other port strikes, figureheads are often targeted with lawsuits, such as the “supposed leaders” of the Port of Oakland strike. You can read about that situation in this article by following the link.
Randel’s strategy is to use thousands of voices with one singular message. That way, it is infinitely harder to single out and use collective bargaining to stop the strike. In this case, a strike would be nearly impossible to stop unless every single member of the group was satisfied
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