While the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election are being contested and litigated, another protest has gained momentum. The private Facebook group “Stop the Tires 2020” is calling for a national trucker shutdown on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. to protest what it understands to be the policies of presumptive president-elect Joe Biden and his administration.
The Facebook page, created Nov. 6, has grown rapidly as news of the strike spread. Current membership is at nearly 39,000 members, and the group continues to grow.
Creator of the group, Jeremy Rewoldt said in a Nov. 7 post, “We will not participate in the leftist, Biden/Harris Green New Deal.” He added, “We do not support the banning of fracking.” Rewoldt also stated, “The United States of America operates as a capitalistic economy and OIL is the fuel she survives on.”
Although both Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris have called for a complete ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” Biden backed away from those comments in the waning days of the election. At the second and final presidential debate, Biden said his plan was to transition the country away from petroleum products. He said, “I was talking about stopping fracking as soon as we can,” adding, “no more new fracking.”
Biden also declined to support the Green New Deal, which proposed actions designed to move the country to renewable sources only for its energy needs. He has repeatedly stated, “Climate change is the number one issue facing humanity,” and pledged to work towards solving the issue.
Critics have claimed that Biden changed his verbiage on fracking and the Green New Deal in order to appear more moderate to voters when he, in fact, fully supports both.
On Nov. 10, Cara Carroll posted to the group that she and Jeremy Rewoldt are “the face of the movement,” and both are “co-creators” of and “partners” in the Stop the Tires 2020 group. Carroll claimed that a purpose of the movement is “to protect 19 million jobs.”
A statement released by the Trump campaign Aug. 31 claimed that Biden’s clean-energy plan would cause the loss of 10.3 million jobs in the petroleum industry. That figure was taken from a study by the American Petroleum Institute that estimated the economic impact of the entire petroleum industry, including vendors and investors, at 10.3 million jobs. Biden has claimed his plan would create new jobs in the field of renewable energy, which would replace those lost in petroleum.
In the post, Carroll also clarified the group’s political leanings, saying, “Let us make this extremely clear: While we are a huge group of Republicans and conservatives, our focus in this movement is our blue-collar workers of America.” She added, “We are extremely grateful for what Donald Trump has done for the American people.”
Rewoldt’s post also mentioned that government leaders must “respect that blue-collar truck drivers are having to face domestic terrorism, primarily in Democrat-run cities all over the United States…” He called for a second work stoppage — this one over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend that includes Black Friday, traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season — if the Veterans Day stoppage is “not effective.”
A key difference between the call for a work stoppage and past labor actions in trucking is that no protests that include truck convoys slowing traffic or other active acts of protest are being called for. Discussion on the Stop the Tires 2020 Facebook page has included a number of suggested actions, including a Washington D.C. protest, but the only action called for by event organizers for truckers to simply shut down.
The movement attracted the attention of several large media sources Monday, Nov. 9, including Fox News, which ran the story on its website and in its programming. The Stop the Tires 2020 group has also used the social media platform TikTok to publish videos of Rewoldt, Carroll and others discussing the strike.
Posts on the Facebook page are generally positive, with a number of owner-operators posting photos of their trucks and pledging to support the strike.
The timing of the first stoppage is part of the group’s plan. Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, and organizers hope to draw additional attention by staging the protests on or near national holidays. The second planned strike would begin Thanksgiving Day; further protests have not been announced.
Those in the trucking profession are accustomed to hearing about potential strikes and other actions. Usually, protests deal with restrictive regulations, freight rates or fuel prices. This action differs in that it seems to be entirely based on politics and what organizers predict will become policy once a new administration is inaugurated. While the impact of the proposed stoppage can’t be predicted, the practice of truckers banding together in protest is sure to continue.
UPDATE: Since this article was published, the group has called canceled the planned work stoppage. Click here to read the story.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.