I find it interesting that we are facing shortages in this land of plenty. And it’s not even because we do not have the where with all to solve the problem. In a land of entrepreneurship, when there is a problem or a need there is a solution which is exactly how our supply chain came to be in the first place!
Sure, the Covid19 disruption could have caused the supply chain to have to adapt. Remember when early in the pandemic our truck drivers were hailed as heroes just like our first responders and health care workers? There were no real supply chain issues then except for PPE, and we solved that issue. Yes there was a lack of toilet paper in our super markets, but obviously that was caused by more home office workers and children learning at home…Offices and schools had plenty of TP and no one was there to use it. There was a shift in need and we adjusted.
So why are certain supplies low now? What is the obvious answer? It’s not that containers aren’t being shipped full of items. It’s not that truckers aren’t available. It’s not even that people are sick with Covid. I pose that there is something happening that is more purposeful. Just like a newly designed porous boarder, a nixing of locally sourced oil and gas, and a mandate that caused employees to be unwittingly terminated, there was a decision made by somebody somewhere to cause a supply chain backup.
Our supply chain has been disrupted before. This is from an article in The Atlantic, February of 2015: “ Shipping has been in the news recently because of a protracted labor dispute affecting nearly 30 ports on the West Coast. An uneasy, nine-month-long negotiation—between the organizations representing 14,000 workers who unload containers from ships and the large companies who own those ships—has tentatively ended, and last Saturday, full port operations resumed. For the next few months, the industry will power through a backlog of ships in need of unloading, and then shipping—whose importance to the American economy too often goes unremarked—will become invisible again.” Federal and state leadership at that time were involved in easing the dispute. Wouldn’t it be obvious that federal and state leadership during our current supply chain crisis should be involved with a solution now? I pose that they are and of course the unions are involved.
From a recent article: “ The International Longshoremen’s Association contract, which extends to 2024, blocks the use of automation technology. Willie Adams, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast workers, says automated cargo handling equipment will not be tolerated.”*
It turns out that Biden’s Build Back Better bill, Section 30102, expressly prohibits the use of funds for automation at unionized ports. There you have it folks!! It’s obviously “No joke” 😦