HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — It’s been 10 days since the People’s Convoy rolled into Hagerstown and it’s getting mixed reactions around the DMV area.
Hagerstown resident Barbara Cross Ewald has had enough of the convoy. She explained that while she values the work of the truckers to transport and stock goods nationwide, they are now becoming a nuisance to drivers who are just trying to live their lives. She also says she’s tired of seeing her city associated with the convoy.
“Truckers are leaving Hagerstown now in the evening, at night, the Beltway is tied up traffic not moving because of the truckers coming down from Hagerstown,” Cross Ewald exclaimed. “Is that what we want to be known for?”
Cross Ewald is also frustrated that the truckers are negatively impacting people who are minding their own business, just trying to drive on the Beltway.
“What they are doing to the Beltway, what they are doing to hardworking people,” Cross Ewald said. “If they were based in reality and just looked around, they would say, ‘Hey wait a minute, the problems being solved because people don’t need to wear the masks now.'”
One Arkansas-based trucker says the convoy is more than just slowing traffic on the Beltway, but about sending a bigger message. Alan Baguley drove with the People’s Convoy from Arkansas, but unlike other truckers, he did not pull a load. He explained that many truckers are losing money by staying in Hagerstown, including himself, but says they are trying to draw attention to their cause.
He also explained that the drivers are encouraged to stay on the outer lanes of the Beltway and not to drive too fast as many truckers drove their rigs “bobtail” meaning they are not pulling a load or a trailer.
“It’s more than just the mandates. We want the constitution re-established,” Baguley explained. “We want to do away with the executive powers act where they were the constitution is pretty much null and void when it comes to the emerging powers.”
One trucker based out of the ports of New York and New Jersey stopped into the Hagerstown Speedway on his way back from delivering a load to West Virginia. He wanted to show his support to his fellow drivers but in a slightly different way. He wants to bring awareness to a movement for better treatment in the industry.
Richard Resek explained to WDVM that truckers are federally banned from unionizing. He went on to clarify that while many truckers are technically seen as independent contractors, many are forced into a monopoly when purchasing their rig, transporting cargo, even paying for gas. He also says that many companies are not transparent about rates, especially fuel surcharges which are comparable to a bonus stipend used to pay for fuel that many truckers believe should go directly to the truckers.
“How independent are you when the person you work for has complete control over the truck?” Resek said. “If you’re going to ask for freedom, ask for [an] antitrust exemption, lift that off our backs so that we can organize ourselves and have a collective voice in our industry.”
The official People’s Convoy Facebook page does not indicate the daily route the truckers will take to the Beltway or when the convoy will leave the Hagerstown Speedway. Many different messages and different missions from these truckers with no clear solution or end in sight.