When Dave Dudley recorded the hit country song “Six Days on the Road” in 1963, long-haul trucking was an industry providing decent jobs. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, led by Jimmy Hoffa, wielded collective power to bolster wages and improve working conditions throughout the industry. Regulations established during the New Deal stabilized an industry that in the 1920s was a poster child for the dire consequences of cutthroat competition. As a result, high wages and steady profits were the norm throughout much of the trucking industry into the 1970s. For the mostly white, nearly all male, proudly working-class truckers celebrated by Dudley in 1963, “pullin’ out of Pittsburgh and rolling down the eastern seaboard” was a job to be proud of, worth writing songs about. But that world is long gone, according to Steve Viscelli’s eye-opening and distressing account of the...
Shane Hamilton; The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream by Steve Viscelli. Labor 1 March 2018; 15 (1): 130–132. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-4288827
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