Truckers Block Houston Highway in Protest of “Cheap Brokers,” 75 Cited and 1 Arrested
Houston, TX – On Monday, dozens of independent contractors were cited after blocking a Houston highway in an organized protest of “cheap brokers.”
According to the Houston Police Department (HPD), 75 commercial motor vehicles were found to be blocking the 610 loop in Houston.
The truckers were protesting brokers who they claim are not paying them for their work as well as offering low rates.
As the COVID-19 recession continues to worsen, truckers are becoming more outraged over the plummeting rates being offered by brokers.
In recent days, multiple trucking groups have expressed concern about how some brokers are conducting business amid this time of national emergency.
During Monday’s protest, the independent contractors held up signs, mostly in Spanish, calling out “cheap brokers.”
HPD was called to the scene at approximately 2 p.m. and was safely able to move the rigs off the highway to a Fiesta Mart parking lot at Interstate 10 and Federal.
At press briefing following the incident, HPD Chief Art Acevedo reprimanded the protesters for blocking the roadway and “interfering with interstate commerce.”
“Everyone who was blocking the highway has been cited with a Class C misdemeanor and we’ve made real clear that we now have their driver’s licenses and their truck information, and if they were to do this again they will all be arrested and their trucks will be impounded,” Chief Acevedo said. “There’s a distinct difference between first amendment protected activity and illegal activity.”
One woman, who’s identity has not yet been released, was arrested and booked into county jail on charges of inciting a riot and blocking the highway, both Class B misdemeanors.
While Chief Acevedo acknowledged the “ongoing problem” many independent contractors are facing with brokers, he declared, “this is no way to fix that problem by engaging in an illegal activity.”
He stated, “Freeways are meant for the transportation of goods and people and interstate commerce. In fact, we can seek federal charges for interference with interstate commerce.”
A subsequent statement from HPD indicates it is concerned about the allegations made by the protesters.
Further, HPD says it will be launching a “criminal investigation into allegations of widespread theft of wages.”
Videos of the protest have dominated trucking social media on Monday.
WATCH scenes from today’s protest below.