Where is the Trunking Music Hall of Fame?

[Note:  this has been cross-posted on Smirking Chimp, Bartcop, and will be submitted to Op Ed News.]

Keep on truckin’On Tuesday, after posting a column which ruminated about the possibility that a group of exploited writers might want to consider using the labor negotiating tactic known as a “strike,” we tuned in to hear one of the episodes of the Mike Malloy radio program which featured Brad Friedman (of the Brad Blog) as the substitute host.  One of his callers, that night, was a trucker who lamented the fact that since the deregulation spawned by St. Ronald Reagan (the patron saint of the Reagan-Democrats) independent truck operators have been exploited by management by a lack of increases in the per-mile rate and a 10% reduction of their mileage figures.  Brad mused aloud about a need for a work action in the Washington D. C. area.

On Wednesday night, Brad’s main hope was that maybe sympathetic truckers could help him publicize his effort to focus attention on the financial shenanigans of the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because of the fact that, according to Brad, crimes were committed when Thomas submitted some required paper work that mistakenly indicated his wife didn’t earn any money for the work she provided for a partisan political organization.  Brad’s main concern seemed to have morphed from “what can we do to help the drivers” to “they have a chance to focus America’s attention on a potential crime.” 

Quite recently politicians in Europe have seen the extensive effect a truckers’ work action can have on a country’s day-to-day existence.  The truckers crippled France for a short duration.

If Brad focuses America’s attention on the exploitation of the group that was once represented by one of the most powerful unions (arguably the most powerful union) in the United States, then, since the teamsters were not politically naïve, they would return the favor and make the Thomas affair something that even the hens in the Fox house could not ignore. 

Truckers seem to be rather conservative patriotic individuals who might not care to be involved in spreading an allegation about an American icon.  Didn’t the Teamsters Union once trade a crucial endorsement for Richard Nixon for a legislative political favor in return? 

The story that Jimmy Hoffa is buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium is an urban legend.  His body was, a little birdie told us, disposed of via an industrial strength garbage disposal grinder at a (union of course) meat butchering plant.  As far as the question of who ordered the hit, don’t look at this columnist.  We ain’t gonna go there.  If your curiosity about that question is insatiable, we recommend that you read pages 61 to 71 of Steven Brill’s 1978 book “The Teamsters” (Simon and Schuster hardback).

When this columnist was a member of the Teamsters’ local 229 (Scranton Pa.), there was a young lady, of the ordinary size and weight variety, in the office (no – the one where we worked not the TV series) who could beat all the guys at arm wrestling.  At that time, this writer was working out regularly with weights and we never could figure out how the heck that happened.

The firm had previously provided office space in the Secaucus (gees, I can still spell it right on the first try) terminal for the two union guys known as “the two Tonys.”  (One was the Tony Pro and we can’t remember the other’s name.)

Since the company had been owned by the man who founded the American Trucking Association and since his grandson was one of the fellows who became a member of the Humphrey for President posse in 1968 (has anything ever happened in any other year?), the level of political sophistication in the Scranton office was notably high. 

[Did Humphrey really trade a promise that one particular airline would get the rights to fly to and from Hawaii in return for a $300,000 campaign contribution?  How the heck is this columnist supposed to fact check a rumor that is more than forty years old?  Everybody we could ask is dead.]

Wasn’t there one particular group of steel hauling teamsters who cause considerable distress if people tried to foil their strikes?

Columnist Victor Reisel found out the hard way that labor issues were a very vitriolic topic. 

Back in the day, the teamsters were not a group that permitted their members to be exploited.  If the caller on Tuesday reported his plight accurately, it would seem that the times they have changed considerably.  Much to the delight of the trucking industry management team.

It seems quite reasonable to expect that if liberals help the truck drivers with a problem that has existed for almost thirty years, then those folks will owe some favor in return.  If not, the Republican philosophy of “divide and conquer” has worked again.

In the last decade, this columnist stumbled across information online that indicated that the Trucking Music Hall of Fame is contained inside a trailer that moves about the country. 

Brad’s engineer, Tony, has used C. W. McCall’s hit song “Convoy” to conjure up the trucking image. 

Our favorite German musical group is named “Truck Stop” and we do know a thing or two about songs that truckers play.  Our list of items, which we hope are featured in the Trucking Music Hall of Fame (hope Tony reads this), would (in alphabetical order) include:

Convoy but not Convoy goes to Europe

Eastbound and Down (from Smokey and the Bandit)

Forty Days on the Road

Forty Thousand lbs. of bananas (which is based on a true incident in Scranton)

Giddyup Go

Gimme Forty Acres (and I’ll turn this rig around)

I’ve been everywhere (by Johnny Cash)

Phantom 309  (We’d call that the Best trucking song of all time)

Teddybear and Teddybear with German lyrics version

White line fever

Wolf Creek Pass.

And the bonus track of John Wayne’s “Pledge of Allegiance”?

Teamster strikes are powerful medicine.  Steven Brill (Ibid page 380) wrote:  “His (Einar Mohn) problem with Nixon, according to Gibbons and another (union) vice-president who was there, was that the White House’s proposed legislation to prevent strikes in the transportation industry would, he thought, severely threaten the union.”  In a footnote (Ibid page 381), Brill drolly notes:  “The Nixon bill was suddenly withdrawn, much to the embarrassment of the Republicans in Congress who had sponsored it for the President and were not informed beforehand of the sudden policy reversal.” 

Now our disk jockey will play a Truck Stop album.  We gotta go check out the rumor that Che Guevarra was put in the witness protection program and was seen recently in Cairo.”  Have a “you wanna screw that knob back on there, Earl” type week.

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