WARNER ROBINS — Most people can blame a work stoppage on the downturn in the economy. Louis Pike says his is because of a political allegiance.
Pike, who intends to vote for mayoral candidate Chuck Shaheen in the city’s November elections, was told he could no longer take his tow truck home, which he claims affects the amount of work he gets. His bosses at Warner Robins Wrecker & Towing are friends of incumbent Mayor Donald Walker and plan to vote for Walker in November.
It all started over a yard sign. Pike put a sign on his lawn Wednesday pushing Shaheen for mayor. His bosses, upon learning of the sign, were not pleased.
“They told me to take (the sign) down,” Pike said. “Then they told me they couldn’t have one of their employees voting against Donald Walker. But the sign’s staying up.
“I’m not going to waver on my values and beliefs.”
As a commissioned worker, Pike has to tow cars to earn pay. Since his refusal to do away with the sign he said he has received fewer assignments.
Not true, said company owner Irene Guest, who said drivers are given the privilege of taking trucks home but she did not want one in Pike’s yard adjacent to signs supporting Shaheen.
“Mr. Walker’s been friends with (my family) all our lives,” Guest said Saturday by phone from her office at 640 Elberta Road. “I don’t want him to go by and see one of our trucks in a yard with Mr. Shaheen’s signs and think we’re supporting him. I don’t care who (Pike) votes for or campaigns for. Just don’t have my truck there.
“I don’t see where I’ve done anything wrong.”
Guest said Pike will be allowed to drive a company truck home in the near future — as soon as his political signs disappear from his yard.
“Somewhere in the First Amendment, my freedom of speech is protected,” Pike said from the tow truck Saturday afternoon.
Shaheen said he tried to convince Pike to put the signs away so that he could continue to provide for his family.
“I told him to let your voice be heard at the polls,” Shaheen said by phone Saturday afternoon while campaigning. “He wasn’t going to do it. This guy said they’re not pushing him around. I admire him for not backing down because a lot of people have backed down and are now supporting me privately.
“And now it’s jeopardizing his job? Come on.”
To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.