About 80 owner-operators in Houston have been on strike since Monday, demanding higher freight rates and better communication from their employer, Hudd Transportation.
One of the protesters told FreightWaves they are mainly asking for a 20% freight rate increase, but management offered them only 8%. The striking owner-operators work as drayage drivers for Hudd Transportation’s terminal near Port Houston.
“We’re not getting paid fairly so on Monday about 75 to 80 of us got together and went up to the terminal manager just to talk about competitive rates,” Chris Arriaga told FreightWaves.
Arriaga said they are currently paid $75 per leg transporting containers back and forth from Port Houston to the Hudd terminal, about a 30 mile trip.
“Another issue we have is there’s no communication within the company,” Arriaga said. “You’re on the phone for one hour or two hours, waiting to get a response, and you don’t get anyone. You can’t get ahold of dispatchers, you can’t get ahold of anybody pretty much. That was like a boiling point for a bunch of guys.”
Local officials for Hudd Transportation in Houston declined to comment on Friday when reached by phone, referring FreightWaves to Hudd’s parent company, shipping giant Maersk. Officials for Maersk did not immediately respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment.
Arriaga said the issues with Hudd Transportation have been simmering for the past few months and finally boiled over this week.
“We went to [management’s] office peacefully. We just wanted to talk; we weren’t there to protest,” Arriaga said. “But they denied talking to us and called the cops on us.”
Arriaga said that’s when a group of drivers decided to go on strike, while some opted to continue driving for Hudd.
“A big group of us stopped working. We’re not moving any other freight,” Arriaga said. “There’s a number of guys that have been part of the strike since Monday. We’ve been gathering up at a park here on Mercury Drive in Houston. Everybody’s asking for them to just be fair, be competitive with the prices on what everybody else is paying, the surrounding companies that are doing the same work.”