TRUCK WARS OF ’74 - STORIES
Right from the beginning of the shutdown, Gov. Shapp seemed to sense the serious possi-
bilities of what was coming. As soon as the strike got underwway, he threw all his activities
into trying to resolve the dispute. He went to Washington to press for action and was there
for days working with federal mediators trying to come up with a compromise. While he
sought relief for the independents, he also fought to keep truck traffic moving so that
Pennsylvania’s economy would not collapse.
The governor immediately threw in a $1.4 million fund for this purpose and later made
overtures for getting $3 million more from the state legislature. It was costing Pennsylvania
from $100,000 to $200,000 daily to keep the National Guard on duty.
When a tentative agreement was worked out in Washington, Shapp came home and
hopped aboard a helicopter to tour several truck stops and see if he could not persuade
the striking independents to agree to accept the new pact.
Stopping at Bartonsville on 1-80, he told the independent truckers to “accept the proposal.
Get on the CB and tell them to accept. You’ve taken a giant step forward. But many
independents still balked, mainly because they hadn’t gotten the price rollback they were
Edward Cherkoski, their spokesman, told Shapp: “You did a wonderful job for us, but we
can’t accept this agreement. It’s alright for a three year old child, but we’re grown men
with fami¬lies. He said many owner-operators still wouldn’t run.
But when the weekend was over, it was evident that a rift between the independents had
opened. Reports were circulated then that some independents, along with the Teamsters,
had decided they had had enough. They were back on the road.
The Teamster drivers had never been in favor of the shutdown in the first place. Stephen
A. Banus, secretary-treasurer of Teamster Local 773 in Allentown, said the local executive
board and business representatives were fully in accord with the international viewpoint.
“We are not in favor of this stoppage. He pointed out the shutdown in freight movement
hurt union members because they were “losing time and income.
The 1974 civil war appeared over. If it wasn’t over, at least a truce had been declared and
the trucks were rolling once again.