1974 : Truck Drivers’ Strike Against High Diesel Prices Turns Violent

When:
February 6, 2021 all-day
2021-02-06T00:00:00-05:00
2021-02-07T00:00:00-05:00

On February 6, 1974, it was day four of the 11-day 1974 truck drivers’ strike against high fuel prices when things turned particularly violent.

In Washtenaw County, a livestock truck driver was injured by flying glass when someone threw a brick through the trucker’s windshield. Two shotgun blasts were fired into the front of a semi-truck traveling on U.S. 12 through Hillsdale County.

The attacks were brought by those sympathizing with the 100,000 independent truck owners across the country who wanted to shut down the nation’s highways in protest to rising cost and scarcity of diesel. Gov. William Milliken responded to the strike by doubling Michigan State Police road patrols and ordered the National Guard into the streets to quell the violence.

Despite the measures, bursts of violence were reported throughout Michigan, from a driver in Holland who was assaulted after stopping in an intersection to a Canadian trucker who was forced off of I-75 in Wayne County by a car full of men who fired shots into his windshield.

Nationwide, the strike resulted in two dead and “scores injured,” reported The New York Times by the time the strike disbanded on Feb. 12, 1974.

Source: Michigan Every Day; The New York Times