The founder of the recent StopTheTires2020 movement has issued a statement revoking his cancellation of the protest and instead says the demonstration has been ‘delayed.’
Jeremy Rewoldt, founder of the now-viral StopTheTires2020 movement, revoked the cancelation on Monday evening, November 16th, just hours after posting a ‘canceled’ banner to the page and several days after speaking about his desire to cancel on multiple trucker podcasts and radio shows across the internet.
“After connecting with a lot of the drivers on our page I decided that, you know, we’ve got a legislative that needs to play out. The 12th amendment. You guys can look it up and what happens there. As of right now we don’t know who the president is – and my original stance was based off the presumed president elect taking office. That’s why I put those dates out there,” Rewoldt said during a Facebook live stream intended to clear up confusion surrounding the cancellation issue.
“The reason we decided to delay – yes we put cancel up there for a while – to clear up some confusion – cancel was up there on the page – and the reason I put cancel up there was to bring everybody back down to earth and tell everybody that we need to not stop our tires right now….”
“That word was incorrect for me to use. I shouldn’t have used the word cancel. It was improper of me. It was fast thinking. It was a way of me trying to get people to stop for a minute and come back to center. And that was my wrong word choice and I’ll own that. I don’t like the cancel word so that’s why we put up ‘delayed’ today to fix some of the issue with that.”
“We don’t even know if Biden or Trump are gonna be president right now,” he continued. “Right now, yeah, the news is predicting Biden is going to win. But we don’t know that for sure. And to cause a ruckus to the American people right now between the 26th & 29th for a box that could crumble beneath everyone’s feet, that doesn’t make us look good as drivers.”
“Right now if we stop before that [the presidential election is officially called] it’s kinda silly. We’re stopping for no reason. Timing is everything. Not now.”
“We as drivers need to come together and band together. There’s a lot more issues to tackle here and we’ve got a great platform to do so. I’ve heard a lot from a lot of the drivers and there’s a lot more issues than just who could be the presumed president elect.”
Since the page’s creation less than two weeks ago, several similar pages have been created, causing confusion as to which was the ‘real page,’ and even spreading conflicting information as to whether or not the November 26th-29th demonstration is still a go. As for Jeremy’s page, he says that he no longer supports the stopping of tires at the end of this month, and plans on rallying a more comprehensive, larger group before committing to any sort of stoppage. The name of his Facebook page has even been changed from ‘StopTheTires2020’ to simply ‘Stopthetires.’
“I understand there’s been another page created and well, ya know, it’s your freedom to choice. Your freedom to choose who you decide to stand behind,” Rewoldt said.
“I’m not gonna sit here and say please stay with me. But my face, my name is all over the media. I am Jeremy Rewoldt. I am the creator of this page. I created this page before the other pages showed up…. You think it’s fake? Look at my face. It was all over Fox media. I’m not trying to push you away but if it’s a fake one why am I on this page and not on their page?”
One of the new and similar pages, Stop The Tires2020, has just under 8,000 members as of November 19th, but remains committed to the originally scheduled trucker strike on November 26th-29th.
“November 26th-29th are the days to StopTheTires,’ reads one of the page’s posts. “We are NOT canceled,” the post assures.
Still, Rewoldt seems to be standing firm in his belief that “we need to not stop our tires right now,” but that his platform can still be used to facilitate change. He says he hopes to use his newfound voice to affect change across all aspects of the industry and not just in protest of the potential fracking ban and Green New Deal, as was his original intent.
“The dates in question are coming up again. I get it, people have requested that time off but here’s my question back to you: do you have someone that’s subbing for you? Because if you have someone that’s subbing and running your route, then we’re not gonna have any effect,” Rewoldt said.
“With the last poll we were only up to 305 drivers [participating in the stoppage] out of this group… It’s just unrealistic that if we go now we don’t have the following that we actually need.”
Rewoldt says that he doesn’t want this trucker protest to follow in the footsteps of some of the less successful attempts at a truck stoppage in the recent past.
“Our platform’s giving these people a chance to talk again and ban together and maybe give them a chance to do something that might actually work rather than just one group doing one thing and one group doing this demonstration…” he said.
“I think we’re all kind of in the same agreement that we can figure out something that might actually work this time.”
Out of 2.6M OTR & local drivers and 3.5M total CDL holders, Rewoldt believes that 33,000 trucks stopping is enough to affect change, and that any fewer would make a demonstration not worth doing.
“I’m trying to collaborate with other groups out there. I think that’s something we need to do,” he explained.
“That’s why I pulled the dates back down. Yeah that cancel word got everybody a bit upset and I understand. But that’s why I’m coming to you now because I think that’s the right thing to do… It needs to be a full stop. As many drivers as we can get on board. I know they tried that back in 2013 or something but they all had different agendas. I’m willing to try again if we can get enough people on board.”
In addition to a need for massive participation and coordination, Rewoldt says that he doesn’t believe the protest should be any more disruptive than necessary, and does not want to be involved in blocking roadways, or any other sort of trucker-induced chaos.
“All I’m proposing is we pull into a rest stop or truck stop and park our trucks. I don’t want anybody blocking roads. We see what the other side does when that happens. It causes chaos in our streets and our cities. Our civilians don’t need that. If you feel like you need to block roads to get your point across there’s other groups out there for you. I don’t think that’s the right way of doing anything.”
“With 33,000 shut down for one day it would have an impact,” he continued.
“I would prefer 33 thousand trucks shut down for 3 to 4 days. I think that would be a realistic goal, something that could be definitely achievable if we can get enough people on board to support the movement. I think with 3-4 days we’re going to be getting some phone calls.”
“I’ve been in collaboration and talking to multiple groups on Facebook that have tried multiple demonstrations. They did stuff during May, they did stuff back in March, they did stuff in July, they do just charitable stuff throughout the holidays even, not just demonstrations for stuff they’re not in agreeance with. I think by talking to them we can get up to 33 thousand drivers pretty easily. I think that we’re all talking again and we might not all agree on the right way to do it but we can figure out something that can work.”
Rewoldt says that this entire process has really educated him on not only issues that truck drivers face, but how fast people can get things done when they work together.
“This has opened my eyes to how fast we can get things done,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things we can tackle with the movement. Even if Trump stays president.”
“Stopthetires is not stopping. The group is not stopping. We are stopping our tires when the time is right.”
Now the trucking industry is left with the question: what will be the focus of these future, undetermined trucking protests? And how widespread will the impact be?
According to a recent study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, top industry concerns vary from driver to driver. For example, the study shows that Owner Operators’ top concern is truck parking, while Company Drivers are more worried about driver compensation. Additionally, truck drivers and carriers have vastly different opinion on what issues are a top priority – as a whole, truck drivers’ top concern is truck parking, while carriers are more worried over the truck driver shortage.
Regardless of their focus, the threat of a widespread trucker protest isn’t over yet. Will these yet-to-be-planned demonstrations prove to be the most effective yet? Or will they simply fall flat like so many of their predecessors? Time alone will tell.