This past November “Black Friday” was to be a day of great success for the union movement in our country as a strike at Wal-Mart for Retail workers across the country was scheduled on the biggest shopping day of the year. The walkout was to signal the national unity of retail workers and strike a blow that would stagger the giant from Arkansas. At the same time, it would galvanize liberal consumers who would support the walk-out by their refusal to shop. Bringing together consumers and workers could force America’s largest retailer to the negotiating table.
Hitler made the obnoxious statement that” England was just a country of shops” questioning the English resolve. His bombing blitz failed in it’s mission – it wasn’t that simple. Just like closing a big retail chain and creating havoc was neither that simple nor was it that easy. But anything that controls or interrupts the supply chain at any choke point here in the U.S. could have devastating results. Thus president Obama has just dispatched the Secretary of Labor to the front lines in an attempt to solve the issues and get us moving again.
We have totally focused on the inbound supply interruption in this article as did every newscast this holiday weekend. But export of products and particularly grain and food cannot be curtailed in any fashion. Nearly 20% of our meat production is exported and interruption of that supply line can be quick and lethal, a perishable product you see. Given a continuing strike the Ag economy may experience another devastating blow challenging dollar strength, and a global slowdown for honors this year in negative impact on farm income.
But again, in thinking about the future, how important is our railroad system or highway system or our deteriorating bridges or efficient ports to maintaining a supply chain system that is competitive and vibrant? How important are those systems in moving Ag products from farm to markets here and in the world? Maybe there is another lesson here – is anybody watching? Most recently the longshoremen on the East Coast have noticed the success of the West and are now threatening a strike of 14 ports. Curtailing product movement through those ports and Wal-Mart and the rest of the retail economy will be hostage one more time – “bombs away on retail sales”!