Yesterday I posted a Sneak Peek of a video I’ll be posting on harassment in the trucking industry. It featured an interview with Ellen Voie, President & CEO of Women In Trucking. Today I received this comment from her brother and I wanted to address his concerns formally:
I am Ellen Voie’s brother. I don’t know what impression Ellen made on you, or what you wish to do, but I think you are missing Ellen’s goal to help start a forum for women drivers to speak out against abuses and to join together in a network that helps the profession. The Dan Rather expose’ doesn’t tell the whole story about the women who do feel well trained and equipped to drive semi’s. I hope you will interview those who are happy in their profession as well as those who feel they have been harmed and harrassed.
First, thank you so much for posting! I am grateful that you have opened up this discussion and that your sister allowed me to interview her on this topic and I sincerely hope others join in. I do realize and deeply appreciate that women truckers love their jobs. That’s precisely why it’s so tragic when a co-worker who feels comfortable treating them in a lewd or sexually explicit manner jeopardizes any one of these women’s careers.
Your sister represents one approach to affecting change in the trucking industry. And, I did speak with a woman involved in the class action suit. She didn’t hate her job. She LOVED it. There are powerful lawyers and well financed lobbyists representing the trucking industry. So, the critical question becomes, who is advocating for the victim? Because while it’s easy to see it from the side of the employer that these are the rumblings of a disgruntled employee, or the women asked for it, or want a quick payday, it’s far harder to risk speaking out for the innocent victim whose only offense was that she was a woman in a job that is traditionally male.
I hate filming in conferences. Sit downs grabbed in awkward ugly rooms with lousy lighting and booming distracting noises. But, I was willing to overlook all of that for the chance to fly down to Dallas for the Great American Truck Show and learn about the extent of harassment in the trucking industry. I packed up my smallest HiDef camera and signed up for a Press pass. I quickly sat down with Ellen Voie, President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) to talk with her about sexual harassment in the industry. CRST had just won a large class action lawsuit that began with nearly 270 women and was eventually ruled in CRST’s favor based on a technicality.
Voie suggested I interview Ronald Fletcher who teaches student truckers in a community college in Texas. His past students have told him lots of stories about harassment that are eerily similar to those alleged by Wood and detailed in the CRST case.
Although Voie may say she’s not sure if there have been cases of sexual harassment that could hold up in court others disagree. One activist who is advocating for women drivers was placed in the national spotlight when DAN RATHER REPORTS highlighted Desiree Wood in last week’s expose about the trucking industry, Queen of The Road. Wood stated that the trucking schools are falling short in training student truckers to drive safely.
On the Women In Trucking website Voie posted a response to the show:
Although it is was one of the most biased representations of the trucking industry I have ever seen…
Early next month I’ll be posting a video about Desiree in which she talks first hand about the perils of team driving she tweets and blogs about on the Internet.