New Talks on Tap as East Coast Port Strike Looms

There's a lot more to consider than simply supply and demand for supply chain professionals. This news article from ABC News highlights this point completely: East Coast dock workers and shipping companies find themselves at odds over a soon-to-expire contract and subsequent renewal. Retailers are already re-routing ships to other ports in anticipation of the possible strike even now, and that has a profound and inescapable effect on the supply chains that begin when the ships arrive in port for unloading. The dispute comes down to an accusation of overtime rule violations: Key issues in the labor dispute include overtime rules and royalty payments to longshoremen based on container weight. The U.S. Maritime Alliance, which represents shippers, says union members are taking advantage of loose overtime rules and driving up shipping costs. The longshoremen's union says a small minority are being singled out to unfairly characterize the whole membership. Even this unrelated even ““ a row concerning overtime ““ can cause supply chains to bottleneck and choke. The question becomes: how much of your supply chain can you account for given the amazing amount of potential issues it faces? Should supply chain professionals have backup plans for labor disputes as well as natural disasters?

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