sc digest
Oct. 22, 2021
Supply Chain Digest Flagship Newsletter


This Week in SCDigest

bullet The Labor Supply Chain on the March? bullet SCDigest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic & by the Numbers for the Week bullet New Stock Index

New Chain Cartoon Caption Contest!

bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Expert Column bullet On Demand Videocasts

New Report: Understanding WMS in the Cloud 2021



Lessons Learned as the Number of Cloud WMS Deployments Accelerate



first thought


Supply Chain Graphic
of the Week


ATA Freight Tonnage Up - but Still Down

This Week's Supply Chain by the Numbers

Prices on Grocery Shelves Soaring
Huge Spike in Out-of-Stocks Predicted for Holiday Shopping
US Manufacturing Sector Stalling

Truck Driver Shortage Sets Record High


Oct. 6, 2021 Contest

Show Us Your Supply Chain Wit!


 This Week's SCDigest OnTarget Newsletter

Cartoon, Top SCDigest Stories of the Week

Attracting Workers Post-COVID


Different Components and Strategies That can Help Your Company Successfully Attract Today's top Talent


Jim Howe

Vice President

LandrumHR Workforce Solutions


Maximizing ROI and Value Through Supply Chain Visibility


Reduce Risk, Enhance Efficiency

Steve Shebuski

VP of Digital Strategey
Blue Horseshoe

What two states have the lowest levels of unionization?
Answer Found at the
Bottom of the Page


The Labor Supply Chain on the March?

For about a decade I have written a column titled "The Labor (Day) Supply Chain," summarizing the week before the Labor Day key trends, numbers and past year events relative to labor overall but more specifically for supply chain workers (logistics, manufacturing, etc.).



So for the first time in a long while there is some wind at labor's back.

Send us your
Feedback here

In general over the past 10 years, the tide has moved against labor on a number of fronts. In my column this year, for example, I noted that while unionization rates in the private sector actually rose a tick in 2020 to 6.3% from 6.2% in 2019, the trend has been steadily down, for example with private sector unionization at 16.8% in 1983. (See The Labor (Day) Supply Chain 2021.)

However, the currents may be changing, driven in part by the shortage of workers, emboldening labor forces to get more aggressive, supported by a very pro-labor administration in Washington and Democratic control of both Houses of Congress.

Case in point: the current strike by some 10,000 factory workers at iconic agricultural equipment John Deere. It is the largest number of private sector workers to walk off the job in two years.

But it's the details that show the changing times. The Deere workers voted October 10 to strike after rejected a contract offer from Deere that was negotiated by officers of the United Auto Workers to which workers belong.

And by labor comparison to contract provisions in recent years for factory work, it was a pretty good deal: an increase in annual wages for standard workers from $60,000 to $72,000 by 2027. The deal would also provide a one-time bonus and improved retirement benefits.

Here's the problem - inflation is running hot and heavy, with prices up 5.4% in the past year in September, and many saying it may last for a while. A contract that doesn't deal with that new reality is not likely to be approved by workers - especially with labor - including likely "strike breaker" temps - very tough to find.

Labor activity seems to be popping up in a number of places.

On Oct. 5, workers at four Kellogg plants across the US went on strike over a number of issues. Last Saturday, so-called "shoppers" at delivery firm Instacart were being urged to not show up for their jobs, by a workers group called the Gig Workers Collective, alleging worsening working conditions including plummeting pay, safety concerns, and a punitive rating system. The effort, however, seems to have fizzled.

"There is a new militancy out there," said James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, which represents 1.4 million workers, from Detroit auto workers to UPS delivery drivers. "I do think it's an opportunity for labor."

The Teamsters Union says it is fielding an unprecedented volume of requests to form unions at workplaces around the country.

In addition to some new found spring in labor's step, there are other important developments.

Any day, the US Supreme Court will announce if it will take the petition of the California Trucking Association and decide whether to throw out California's AB 5 legislation. Greatly simplifying, that law makes it nearly impossible to be classified as a contract employee in the state, meaning California's some 70,000 contract drivers and owner-operators would be legislated out of existence and have to become regular employees of trucking companies - or leave the profession or the state, as certainly some will.

Given that decades-old law gives the Federal government exclusive power to regulate trucking - due to the impossibility of truckers managing different rules for each state - this one seems like a no brainer to me, but we'll see. The fear in logistics circles is that if the case is rejected by the Court or its ruling upholds the law, the legislation will move to other states - and maybe to distribution centers as well as trucking.

But the court decision may not even matter. There is currently a bill in the Senate, after passing the House, called the "Protecting the Right to Organize Act" (PRO Act). It contains similarly onerous rules regarding contract employee status. It would also outlaw so-called right to work states (there are now 27 of them, having added a few in recent years), hated by Labor, in which workers at organized shops can't be forced to join the union or pay dues.

So for the first time in a long while there is some wind at labor's back. Will a variety of factors change the tide and the power in supply chain labor?

It seems likely to me.

What's your take on the renewed strength of supply chain labor? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button or section below.




On Demand Videocast:

Understanding Distributed Order Management

Highlights from the New "Little Book of Distributed Order Management"

In this outstanding Videocast, we'll discuss DOM, based on the new Little Book of Distributed Order Management, written by our two Videocast presenters.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Satish Kumar, VP Client Services, Softeon

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

The Grain Drain: Large-Scale Grain Port Terminal Optimization

The Constraints and Challenges of Planning and Implementing Port Operations

This videocast will provide a walkthrough of two ways to formulate a MIP, present an example port, and discuss port operations.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Dr. Evan Shellshear, Head of Analytics, Biarri.

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

A Blueprint for WMS Implementation Success

If You Want a Successful WMS Project, You will Find the Blueprint in this Excellent Broadcast

This videocast lays out the keys to ensuring your WMS implementation goes smoothly, involves minimal pain, and accelerates time to value.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Todd Kovi of Radix Consulting and Dinesh Dongre of Softeon.

Now Available On Demand


Feedback will return next week.

What two states have the lowest levels of unionization?

A: South and North Carolina (2.9% and 3.1%, respectively)

Copyright SupplyChainDigest 2003-2021. All Rights Reserved.
To Unsuscribe from Supply Chain Digest emails: Click Here

This email was sent by SupplyChainDigest
PO Box 714, Springboro, Ohio 45066