(CALMATTERS) – One if by land, two if by sea — but expect delays either way.
On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to help unclog the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, outside of which a record 100 ships idled on Tuesday as they waited to unload their cargo.
It’s the government’s latest attempt to unsnarl massive backlogs in the supply chain as the holidays approach and the scarcity of critical goods drives up inflation rates. Last week, President Joe Biden directed the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to move toward 24/7 operations. On Wednesday, California’s two U.S. senators asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to address bottlenecks in “moving these goods on our highways and railroads.” Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland — which is experiencing a decrease in cargo volume significant enough to leave some dockworkers idle — is begging companies to send their ships to the East Bay instead.
But for a coalition of powerful California business groups, these measures don’t address one of the problem’s main roots: overregulation.
In a Tuesday letter to Newsom, the business groups asked him to declare a state of emergency at the ports. They also demanded he suspend numerous controversial state laws, including one that requires developers to mitigate their projects’ environmental impact and another that forced many companies to reclassify independent workers as employees.
The business groups wrote, “The supply chain crisis at the ports is the inevitable culmination of … a series of state, regional and local mandates forced upon every aspect of the goods movement economy.”
Citing the country’s unprecedented shortage of truckers and warehouse workers, other business groups are urging Biden to delay until next year implementation of his vaccine-or-testing order for businesses with 100 or more employees. Vaccine mandates have caused the highest level of employee turnover in the transportation and health care industries, according to a recent study from labor law firm Fisher Phillips LLP.
“We really stressed (to the Biden administration) the concern about employers losing employees, and what that would mean in the context of current supply chain challenges and the upcoming holiday season. You could start to see some very serious disruptions.”Marc Freedman, vice president for employment policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce