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Truck Drivers Protest Pay Rates By Blocking Okeechobee Road

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There's a massive tie up on Okeechobee Road as truckers protest Tuesday night.

The owner-operators of 18 wheelers are angry at the rates they are paying for hauling freight.

So group of them parked their trucks smack-dab in the middle of the street, causing a gridlock nightmare.

"Nobody listen to me, no one listen to all the people," one driver told CBS4's Hank Tester. "And right now you are listening because I block the street."

These truckers are contracted by brokers who bill the shippers that have their products hauled.

The drivers claim they are being stiffed by the brokers and can't make a living.

"Loads are paying 80 cents a mile. No way can you save money. Sometimes you got to decide to change your oil or pay your phone," said driver Randy Avila. "The brokers are keeping the money. Shippers are paying good money."

The drivers said the cost of insurance, truck maintenance and gasoline has forced many of them to sell their trucks and get out of the business.

"We can't support our families because the rates they pay is very hard," said Andrew Sanchez, another driver.

Florida Highway Patrol officers were tasked to clear the major east-west roadway choked with 18 wheelers.

A drenching rain did not drive the truckers away and the standoff went to well after dark.

FHP spokesperson Joe Sanchez worked with the crowd to reach a traffic tie up resolution.

"We need to open the roadway and the have agreed to do that," Sanchez said.

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