JKC Trucking Inc, Vice president makes a guest appearance on NEWSMAX
JKC Trucking Inc, Vice president makes a guest appearance on NEWSMAX
There are plenty of economic indicators that tell us what’s been happening in the economy, such as housing starts, retail sales, and first-time applications for unemployment.
But to see what’s coming down the pike, the trucking industry can shed light on what consumers will be demanding in the future. And right now, trucking companies are providing an early warning signal about sectors of the economy that are weakening.
There’s a grocery store and wholesaler called Sahadi’s in Brooklyn that imports and sells products from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Pat Whelan runs logistics for Sahadi’s. Over the last couple months, he said he’s been getting a lot of unsolicited emails from trucking companies.
“Just randomly, constantly, asking for cargo,” Whelan said. “‘Do you have anything, do you have anything, do you have anything?’ One, I think, was like two or three times a day.”
Whelan said he’s never even heard of these trucking companies. Watching his inbox fill up with these emails, he said, is troubling.
“When you see them constantly looking for cargo, that means they’re not getting their normal cargo,” Whelan said. “So, what did they lose? What’s not shipping?”
One answer? Food supplies to restaurants. Mike Kucharski is the vice president of JKC Trucking, which operates over 200 refrigerated trucks from the Midwest to the West Coast. He said shipping foods to restaurants, hotels, and bars used to make up nearly half of his business.
“We’re about 35% to 45% down,” Kucharski said. “What these truckers are doing is they’re searching to haul anything.”
Kucharski’s company moves products to grocery stores, too. He said there’s been an uptick in that, but it hasn’t made up for the closed restaurants and bars. Now, he’s reaching out to potential customers to see if he can drum up any newbusiness.
“We’re also reaching out saying hey, where are other truckers failing you,” Kucharski said. “We even negotiated some lower rates to help move it along, too.”
When trucking companies are reaching out to find new customers, that may mean they’re worried their oldcustomers might go out of business, said Dale Rogers, a professor of supply chain management at Arizona State University.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about the companies [truckers are] going to work with over the next several months, and as this thing ends,” Rogers said.
Some transportation companies are seeing a rosier picture.
“Importers are placing big bets, there’s no question imports have surged, especially in the LA basin, coming in from Asia,” saidWilliam Villalon, CEO of APL Logistics, an international supply chain company.
Villalon said he sees signs that other sectors of the economy are recovering, too. For instance, auto parts are moving, a sign that people will be buying more vehicles.
“You’re seeing a spike in forest products, because housing starts are up,” Villalon said. “Because demand is up.”
But Villalon said the real question is whether that increase in demand is sustainable.
Cities across the nation are experiencing protests and riots as calls to defund the police intensify. One America’s Stephanie Myers spoke with the co-owner and vice president of JKC Trucking, Mike Kucharski, about the dangers posed to truck drivers amid the radical proposal.
A Chicago-based trucking company fears for the safety of their truck drivers as cities across the country call to defund the police.
JKC Trucking, which serves several fortune 500 companies, will avoid doing business in cities that defund the police due to safety concerns, co-owner and Vice President Mike Kucharski told the Daily Caller.
“The only place that’s technically completely defunded the police is Minnesota, and so far we’re staying clear,” Kucharski said. “We’re staying clear just for the protection of the drivers.”
The Minneapolis City Council voted to dismantle the police department June 12 after protests over the death of George Floyd, a man who died in Minneapolis after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. The city is shifting the budget towards a “community-based public safety model.” (RELATED: No Winners, Only Losers: Law Enforcement Officers, GOP Lawmakers Imagine What Would Happen In A World Without Police)
“When a truck driver is on the road by himself … his real support is the police,” Kucharski said. “And if you defund the police, they’re not gonna have nobody to rely on anymore.”
Transportation incidents accounted for the highest number of workplace-related deaths in 2018, and driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the highest number of workplace-related fatalities compared to any other occupation, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the factors that make truck driving even more dangerous is that a lot of drivers make deliveries early in the morning when it’s still dark, Kucharski said.
A Gendarme (R) walks along transport trucks lined up during a blockade to access to the Frejus tunnel, early on November 21, 2017 close to the border between France and Italy in Modane.
About 50 truck drivers were blocking on November 21 the tunnel access, a major traffic route between France and Italy, to protest against the exclusion of road transport from the new European directive on posted workers. (Photo by Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP via Getty Images)
Kucharski is concerned that if someone tried to hurt one of his drivers or steal their truck, the driver would have nobody to call.
“What are we supposed to do when we’re in trouble?” he asked. “I mean… somebody wants to hijack the truck? Somebody beats up a driver? You know, hurts my driver? We’re not going to be able to help them, and we’re not going to be able to provide the backup for them to be safe.”
Kucharski said that his drivers have expressed concerns about their safety, some even refusing to go to areas that are experiencing heightened unrest. “I don’t want to put a driver in harm’s way,” he said. “Our number one priority is to keep our drivers safe.”
„Naszym priorytetem jest wspieranie naszych kierowców i ich bezpieczeństwa na drodze” – powiedział Fox & Friends Mike Kucharski, współwłaściciel firmy JKC Trucking z siedzibą w Summit „Jeśli będziesz mieć cenny ładunek i nie będzie policji, na której można by polegać, kto będzie chronił naszych kierowców?” – tłumaczy Kucharski.
Według US Bureau of Labor Statistics prowadzenie ciężarówek jest jednym z najbardziej niebezpiecznych zawodów w kraju. W ankiecie przeprowadzonej przez CDLLife w połowie czerwca w tym roku, 79% kierowców ciężarówek powiedziało, że odmówi dostaw do miast, które nie posiadają policji. Wielu kierowców ciężarówek wyraziło swoje obawy o bezpieczeństwo, a jeden z kierowców napisał wprost „nie ma gliniarzy, nie ma ciężarówek”. Inny kierowca napisał: „Dlaczego miałbym chcieć ryzykować swoim życiem jeszcze bardziej niż już to robię… policja jest potrzebna, aby nas chronić, już teraz do kierowców strzelają” – napisał zaniepokojony kierowca ciężarówki.
Ekspert w dziedzinie ciężarówek Dan Doran, który pracuje w usługach transportowych od ponad 40 lat i był przewodniczącym Stowarzyszenia Przewoźników Ciężarówek (TCA) w 2018 r., powiedział już w połowie czerwca, że firmy transportowe, które chcą bezpiecznie odebrać swój ładunek w niektórych miejscach, będą zmuszone do „wzmocnienia bezpieczeństwa”.
SUMMIT, IL – Mike Kucharski, the co-owner of JKC Trucking, joined Fox News to discuss his companies decision not to run routes in cities that defund the police.
“Our first priority is to support our drivers and their safety when they are on the road,”
Pointing to the high value of the cargo that his drivers have in and on their trailers, he said:
“Defunding the police is a bad idea, because when you are on the road for weeks and days at a time…with valuable cargo, everybody wants to steal this. When you are a truck driver long enough on the road, there is no safe place. Violence is everywhere. So if there are no police to rely on, who is going to protect our drivers?”
A recent survey of truck drivers showed that 79% of respondents were concerned about driving in and through cities with no legitimate police presence.
1,283 people responded to the following questions from CDLLife.com: LET Unity – It’s being called the “Netflix” of the Emergency Responder and Veteran CommunityPlay Video
Would you pick up and/or deliver in cities with disbanded police? 1,014 of them said no.
Here are just a handful of the comments that drivers submitted with their survey responses:
“…if something was to happen and you have to take matters into your own hands, and then you risk being prosecuted for protecting yourself.”
“This is not an area you need to act fearless and think you’d look like a fool for saying no…Imagine what kind of fool you look like for driving into a hot spot and putting your life in danger.”
“I will not deliver to an area with a disbanded police department. My life matters and I do this for my family. We are already at the mercy of these towns and cities with laws and hate against us for parking, getting a meal or even using a restroom.”
“Simple. We may not like it all the time, but law and order is necessary.”
“Most places we go already can be dicy [sic] and about only time you see a cop is when lights is on behind you.”
“For my own safety and security of my customers’ loads, I have already informed my dispatcher that I will refuse all loads to cities that have defunded their police departments.”
CDL Life reached out to Kucharski for a comment, and he supplied one, saying:
“Defunding the police is not the solution. We all have to work together with critical thinking and find a solution. The problem, during this time of crisis, is that the government has been behind the steering wheel. It’s time for small businesses to take over the steering wheel and make the right decisions, to sit down with the politicians. I welcome the politicians to sit down with us so we can educate them on what is best for the economy and small businesses. Last time I checked small businesses were the backbone of America.”
But, not everyone was applauding Kucharski’s decision. One Twitter user commented:
“Who gives 2 shits about JKC. More loads for the rest of us.”
That individual must have been part of the 21% of the survey that indicated they would continue driving in those cities.
But hey, the only cities that would really be affected would be New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, right?
Fox pointed to an article in USA Today that itself highlights a report set to be released soon from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The non-partisan group said that of the 258 agencies they surveyed in July, nearly half of them reported that their budgets have either already been cut, or they expect them to be reduced soon. In some instances that decrease is substantial.
We could argue that any decrease is substantial.
The study pointed to some of the cities mentioned above, but also included Baltimore, Tempe, and Eureka, California, to name just a few.
And in the midst of the budget cuts, many of these cities are seeing a spike in violent crime.
Chuck Wexler, the Executive Director of PERF, spoke with USA Today about the biggest budget cuts law enforcement agencies were dealing with since the 2008 recession.
Here is what he had to say about the situation:
“Unfortunately, the situation this time is only certain to get worse because of the pandemic’s resurgence and the convergence of the defund police movement,”
“It’s a combustible mixture for police departments, because reform is often achieved by hiring a next generation of officers and acquiring new technology that can assist their work. The unintended consequence of these times is that those reforms will now be held back.”
Here is a look at the spike in crime is taking place in NYC, all the while, politicians continue to scream for defunding.
Soon-to-be released survey of 258 police departments shows almost half have had budgets cut
A trucking company owner told Fox News on Wednesday that in order to keep drivers safe, he will not direct services to cities that are pushing to defund the police.
“Our first priority is to support our drivers and their safety when they are on the road,” co-owner of JKC Trucking Mike Kucharski told “Fox & Friends First.”
Kucharski said that defunding the police is a bad idea because drivers carry valuable cargo on the road for weeks.
“Everybody wants to steal this,” Kucharski said.
A soon-to-be-released survey of 258 police departments nationwide shows almost half have had their budgets cut amid calls for police to be defunded despite increases in gun violence and otherwise violent crime in some parts of the country, according to USA Today.
The outlet was first to report that the Police Executive Research Forum publication, which is expected to be released in the coming days, shows cuts in the police budgets are largely being made to training and equipment.
Protesters are pushing to “defund the police” over the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement.
Floyd died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes despite Floyd’s several shouts that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was handcuffed at the time.
Kucharski said that his company is also avoiding states pushing to defund the police because his insurance coverage is prone to dissolve.
“Another issue that I am seeing in the future is I have cargo insurance, liability insurance, fiscal damage insurance, and I am very curious how when I renew my contracts at the end of the year, if there is going to be language — if I am going to even have coverage going into these places,” Kucharski said.
“Right now I have coverage going all over domestically. You have to get special coverage for Canada or Mexico or you might have to buy special riders for this on top of everything.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.
The truckers who help Americans get through the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders by keeping store shelves stocked are on the front lines again, this time rolling into massive protests, rioting and a defund-the-police movement that they say threatens drivers’ safety.
The owner of a large trucking company in Illinois will have to halt his drivers going into Minneapolis and other big cities if police departments are defunded, saying his drivers’ safety has to be the top priority.
“It’s getting harder and harder to do business,” said Mike Kucharski, co-owner of JKC Trucking. “If they defund the police in Minneapolis, JKC trucks won’t go there.”
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Labor statistics out in December of last year revealed transportation incidents were the leading cause of workplace fatalities and truck drivers rank as one of the top 10 deadliest jobs.
Accidents contribute to deaths and injuries, but so does hijacking and crime, said Mr. Kucharski. He noted many drivers make their deliveries early in the early morning when it is still dark.
“A lot of drivers are worried about going to places that were defunded,” he said.
Drivers also have been trying to avoid those areas, as anti-racism protests turned violent across the country and rioting persisted in cities such as Seattle and Portland.
In Portland, where sometimes violent protests have lasted for more than two months, Police Bureau spokesman Officer Derek Carmon said he wasn’t aware of any truck drivers caught in the mayhem or requesting help.
“I am unaware of truckers reaching out for assistance for anything related to safety. We welcome them to do so in order for us to address their specific concerns,” he said.
A spokesperson from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the group has been monitoring the protest situation across the country.
“We know that there were concerns about protest areas, but we know of no recent disruptions to the supply chain,” said Norita Taylor, the Association’s director of public relations.
Truckers have a reputation for being tough and fiercely independent. They also share camaraderie with police.
Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said law enforcement regularly relies on truckers to find runaways and missing persons, to look out for human trafficking, and to provide tips for high-profile fugitives.
“Truckers are vital employees and trucking companies are essential service providers. The reliable and safe transportation of goods and products is crucial not only to the economic vitality of a community but also to its safety,” Mr. Johnson said. “After all, it was a trucker who first reported the location of the D.C. Snipers at a Maryland highway rest area, a report which led to their capture.”
He said trucking is already a dangerous profession.
“Removing the protection of our police from cities and communities will understandably make it more difficult or even impossible for truckers and other transport and delivery workers to perform their jobs,” Mr. Johnson said.
JKC Trucking driver Brenda Echols, who lives in Texas, said truck drivers are accustomed to delivering to dangerous neighborhoods — and then the anti-police movement erupted.
“I’m always concerned about [safety] even without defunding police,” she said, adding that she supports the Black Lives Matter message. “Being a female in a truck alone having an early morning delivery in an area where there are homeless people, there could always be that issue.”
In addition, Ms. Echols noted, truck drivers often cross state lines, limiting their ability to legally carrying a firearm. She said new laws are needed that would allow more drivers to arm themselves.
Ellen Voie, president of the industry advocacy group Women in Trucking Inc., said most of the focus during the COVID-19 crisis and racial upheaval has been for drivers to tell their employers if they feel unsafe.
“I’ve talked to some CEOs and they are cautioning their drivers if you feel unsafe to let us know and we will route you around it,” she said of the unrest in several cities, most recently Chicago and Portland, Oregon. “The carriers are trying to make sure the drivers feel safe.”
Ms. Voie also said drivers have been very diligent, sharing information about how to reroute around massive gatherings.
“It’s a very close-knit community where they really do look out for one another,” she told The Washington Times.
Safety for female drivers has always been a concern, even before COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, but given today’s times, more focus is being placed on keeping drivers out of harm’s way — including various safety protocols and amenities being implemented at truck stops.
“Nobody wants our drivers to be in a situation,” Ms. Voie said. “It’s just how a company’s culture is in regard to giving the driver control over their own safety.”
Chicago, IL – The co-owner and vice president of a large refrigerated fleet is speaking out and issuing a warning to leaders and residents of cities defunding police.
In a series of recent national and international media interviews, Mike Kucharski, co-owner and V.P. of Illinois-based JKC Trucking, is pulling no punches when it comes to the growing “Defund the Police” movement.
Kucharski, who is a second-generation truck driver, says he was once attacked by an intruder who burst into his truck while making a delivery, and refuses to send his drivers into areas without the presence of law enforcement.
“No load or cargo is worth my driver’s life or safety,” he recently told Canadian radio show host Roy Green. “JKC supports our drivers and police is the critical part of protecting our drivers on the road.”
Kucharski indicated JKC drivers are also expressing their concerns.
“Most of my drivers have already come to me and said, ‘Hey, are we going to have to go into these states?,’” Kucharski told Green.
Major cities such as Seattle, WA and Los Angeles, CA, have already taken steps to defund its local police departments and redirect those funds into social programs.
Just last week the New York City Council voted to slash $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
The move will cancel a nearly 1,200-person police recruiting class set for next month.
However, leaders in Minneapolis are going further by seeking to replace its entire local law enforcement model.
On June 26, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously (12-0) to move ahead with a proposal to disband the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and replace it with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.”
Kucharski reserved his most direct warning to Minneapolis city leaders and Minnesota state officials.
“The state of Minnesota is going to be in big trouble if truck drivers won’t deliver essential goods groceries or perishables,” he said. “What are they going to do? They’re going to run out of food within three days max.”
Kucharski’s assessment is certainly notable given the fact he operates a 210-truck fleet specializing in the transportation of refrigerated and temperature-controlled items.
In a recent guest appearance on the Vicki McKenna Radio Show, Kucharski doubled down on his warning and broadened it to include every other state considering such defunding or dismantling efforts.
“These drivers have the right to refuse a load because they are worried about their own safety. If these drivers all refuse to go into these areas, the food supply chain collapses. There’s going to be no more essential goods. The people in these states are going to run out of food. Then there’s going to be complete chaos. I’d say 72 hours and that’s it. The party’s over,” he said.
While most major trucking associations and executives of larger companies have remained publicly quiet on the issue, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has spoken to many who are concerned about the implications of taking more police off of the streets and the possible ramifications.
To this point, Kucharski admits most trucking executives aren’t speaking out about it, but says he believes many motor carrier executives feel similarly as he does about this issue.
“I would say the majority feel just as I do,” he told Green.
Truckers have flooded TNN’s social media and members only pages in recent weeks with comments similar to Kucharski’s.
“Truck drivers are already sounding the alarm!” Kucharski told McKenna.
However, the question remains, are leaders in these cities listening to truckers’ concerns or even considering what could result if the trucking industry refuses to offer service to their residents?
Kucharski told Green that is one of the reasons he is speaking out about it now.
“I would love to discuss what are we going to do? How are we going to keep our drivers safe?”
So far, he says he has yet to hear from any policy makers about these concerns.
Reginald Denny, a 39-year old white truck driver who was brutally beaten by an angry mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, haunts the minds of today’s truck drivers as violent protests have erupted over the death of George Floyd.
Following the acquittal of the Los Angeles Police Department officers involved in the beating of Rodney King, a black motorist, a local news chopper captured video of four men pulling Denny from his dump truck and beating him. At one point, Denny was hit on the head with a cinder block.
The attack left Denny nearly dead until four black residents protected him and drove him to the hospital after seeing the footage of the assault on television. However, the former truck driver still has permanent physical damage from the 1992 beating, and today’s truckers fear another similar attack in today’s environment is just around the corner.
Staite continued, “We will defend ourselves every time, up to and including, using our 80,000lb trucks and it’s 1,800 foot-pounds of torque to run you over. We don’t want to, but will if we have to, to save our own life.”
“Cities where looting, rioting, and stopping trucks is happening…. You are hereby put on notice,” he added.
Staite’s post received overwhelming agreement from drivers and retired drivers in the forum.
Mike Kucharski, owner of JKC Trucking, confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Denny is on the mind of his drivers.
“Yes. Everyone remembers Reginald Denny,” said Kucharski.
“If you’ve been in the trucking business long enough, somebody’s gonna break into your truck, break into your trailer,” Kucharski said. “They’re gonna want to steal something from you.”
“They’re gonna want to hijack something from you,” he said. “It’s inevitable, because wherever they go, they’ll run into these people. So, truck drivers will try to defend themselves.”
Truck drivers over the past several weeks have already been targets of angry protesters since Floyd, a 46-year old black man, died while being held down by a Minneapolis police officer, since fired, during an arrest in late May.
As riots broke out in different cities, truckers were targeted, causing drivers to reach out to one another on social media to post about dangerous circumstances, such as reports of rocks and bricks being thrown from overpasses onto vehicles below, or crowds of protesters stopping and swarming vehicles.
“They are stopping semis by blocking roads and then raiding what’s in them. This is not about George’s death. This is about chaos being caused,” he said at a press conference.
Denny’s story from 28 years ago has caused drivers to be more vigilant and establish ways to stay safe when protests turn violent. But some efforts have also led to unavoidable confrontations with protesters.
A FedEx truck dragged a man to his death in St. Louis early last month after it was forced off Interstate 70 by protesters and looted.
According to KMOV, as the truck slowed down to stop, demonstrators positioned themselves in front of the vehicle and began pounding on it while crawling onto the passenger side.
Police say two people on the passenger side of the truck aimed guns at the driver as others ran off with packages from the vehicle. The driver, reportedly in fear for his life, sounded his horn and drove away. Attorneys for the family of the deceased dispute the presence of any guns.
One owner-operator, Bogdan Vechirko, plowed a fuel tanker through a crowd of thousands of protesters on I-35 West in Minneapolis on May 31. Although he did not hit anyone and there were no injuries, the protesters pulled him out of his truck and beat him until other demonstrators stopped the assault.
Colin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, told Overdrive Online that drivers are better off to plan ahead and avoid areas of protests when possible.
Mooney says he understands truck drivers do “not want to be the next Reginald Denny.” “You never want to be in a confrontational situation. The best course of action is always avoidance and not being caught up in the middle,” he said.