The American Logistics Aid Network has taken steps to meet several crucial supply chain needs that arose from the Coronavirus pandemic.
The group recently launched its ALAN Supply Chain Intelligence Center, which is designed to offer a cloud-based, real- time view of the latest COVID-19 impacts via an easy-to-use map.
The map reports the status of roads, ports and airports as well as describing the latest policy changes at national, state, local and county levels.
“Right now, organizations have to navigate a very fragmented landscape as they work to deliver essential commodities. And new policies with new supply chain consequences and opportunities seem to be unfolding faster than most groups can keep pace,” says Kathy Fulton, ALAN executive director. “This tool is our ‘We’re all in this together’ answer to that challenge.”
The center is provided by ALAN as a free-access layer on the Riskpulse platform, a tool used by many global companies and government entities to visualize and analyze supply chain risk.
ALAN says it has mobilized a team of volunteers who update the dashboard daily from the many disparate government sources that share closure or waiver information.
“During disasters like this, few things are more important than accurate visibility to the situation on the ground. But getting that visibility often puts a huge burden on organizations at a time when they’re already overloaded,” Fulton explains.
The group also reports that many logistics companies are making financial donations, providing transportation services and offering storage space to meet relief needs. Opportunities to help are included on ALAN’s website.
Trump Honors Truck Drivers
“Thank God for truckers,” President Donald Trump declared on April 16 when he took time from his busy schedule to honor the nation’s truck drivers for all they have been doing to support essential transportation during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“In the war against the virus, America’s truckers are really the foot soldiers that are carrying us to victory,” President Trump said.
“Truckers are playing a critical role in vanquishing the virus, and they will be just as important as we work to get our economic engine roaring,” he added.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was present at the White House ceremony, praised both the drivers and the trucking industry for their contributions. “The whole country is cheering you on,” she said.
“Without you, it would be impossible to keep our economy moving and get food, medical equipment, and essential supplies to where they need to be.”
Chao took the opportunity to point out that the Administration is doing everything it can to ease the way for truckers during this difficult time.
“At the President’s direction, we have reached out to the trucking industry on an unprecedented basis, listening to your concerns, providing regulatory relief, and helping ensure that truck stops and state rest stops are open and food is available,” she said.
Trump personally honored several individual drivers and industry executives who were present.
“Truckers move over 70% of all freight in the United States, over 10 million tons every single year,” the President noted. “Truckers keep our economy running. And now, in this time of national need, they’re saving lives.”
NLRB Is Still Doing Its Job
The National Labor Relations Board has not slowed down when it comes to issuing decisions, guidances and a major rulemaking in spite of the ongoing disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The board temporarily halted union elections because of the closing of some of its regional offices, but it resumed NLRB staff supervision and certification of organizing votes on April 6, after it had been able to develop workarounds.
The board has reopened all of its offices after adopting safety procedures intended to protect the staff and public from COVID 19.
The board also issued its final rule regarding changes in the “Ambush” union voting regulations that had been adopted by the Obama-era board six years ago.
The new rule, which goes into effect on July 31, lengthens the time between when the union files for holding an organizing vote to when it occurs.
The board had issued the notice of proposed rulemaking late last year after a tortured history of setting and revising the policy via individual case decisionmaking, which is the NLRB’s primary method of changing policies (AA, 12-31-19, P. 2).
The 2014 decision shrank the time between when the union filed a petition to when the vote was held, making it very difficult for an employer to mount a campaign attempting to counter union propaganda among its workforce.
As you might imagine, major unions are unhappy with the recent change, and last year the AFL-CIO fired the first shot by filing a legal challenge in federal court to the proposed rule.
In a separate decision, the NLRB replaced the current blocking charge policy with pursuing vote- and-count or vote-and-impound procedures. Elections would no longer be blocked by pending unfair labor practice charges – the ballots would be either counted or impounded to be counted later after the charges are resolved.