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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Towers On Strike In Jackson, MS

Here's the story from www.wjtv.com:
More than a dozen wrecker companies are still on strike tonight in a battle with the city of Jackson.  These companies are on JPD’s rotation list and are called to tow vehicles that are abandoned, involved in crashes, or at crime scenes.  Workers want higher fees for tows to city lots.  Wrecker owners are upset that the city’s planning committee voted Monday to propose a 10-dollar increase in fees, making it 75-dollars to tow a vehicle.  The wrecker owners want city fees to jump to 125-dollars, which is the same fee for tows to private lots.  We’re told 125-dollars is also the going rate for tows in cities in Rankin, Madison and Warren Counties, as well as for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
“S&E is not moving ‘til this is resolved,“ says an employee at a local tow company.
Tow truck driver, Roger McCrory, knows what it’s like to get paid by the job.
“Drivers cannot get out of bed at 2:00 in the morning and make 20-dollars, especially if they’re out there working a wreck that last two to three hours,“ expresses McCrory.
McCrory says a lot more goes into the wrecker service than just picking up a car.
“You get out there and the car is rolled back on its wheels, you got to drag it, you got to clean up all that debris, pick all that stuff up and dispose of it,“ tells McCrory.
For those reasons, he says, the city of Jackson’s proposed 75-dollars per tow won’t cover all his costs.
“If it goes back up to $125, let us continue our storage, our cleanup fees, recovery fees likes it’s been the last six years,“ states McCrory.
Robert Street has been in the wrecker business for 25 years, and he’s furious with the city of Jackson for trying to cut his tow prices.
“We’re all for being regulated, but it has to be reasonable,“ comments Street.
Street says a 75-dollar tow will not help his bottom line.
“We’re basically at cost.  No money to be made there, so no need to tow it.  We have to turn a profit, we can’t dip into public funds for our money,“ recalls Street.
Street adds that his drivers are on commission.  And, a 75-dollar tow will not pay them enough money to support their families.
“If he goes out at 2:00 in the morning of a call of a car up-side-down, he makes 25- to 30- percent,“ continues Street.
That calculates to about 25-dollars per tow for each driver.  And, the price of the tow is also a flat rate for just picking up the car.  Street says it does not include any extra fees that his company should be charging the city.
“It can be up-side-down or in a ditch.  It can take some extensive recovery, an extra wrecker, or an extra man,“ adds Street.
This isn’t the first time wrecker companies have gone on strike in the metro.  We’re told in 2004, several companies on the city’s rotation list stopped working for the same reason.
The full council is set to vote on the proposed service fees next Tuesday.  But, we’re told, the wrecker companies will not back down until they reach a price agreement.

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