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NAM’s Robyn Boerstling Talks Supply Chains

For manufacturers across the country, global supply chain issues are a daily challenge. Robyn Boerstling, NAM VP of Infrastructure, Innovation, and Human Resources Policy, recently discussed pressing supply chain issues, what NAM is doing to address them and the steps manufacturers can take to be heard.

Making noise: As part of the NAM’s work to advocate for manufacturers’ needs, Boerstling recently spoke at a roundtable discussion before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

  • “State, local and industry stakeholders shared their concerns on how inflation is affecting the ability to plan and execute infrastructure projects,” said Boerstling. “I focused on the challenges facing manufacturers, including inflation, supply chain, increased raw materials and energy costs and workforce concerns. I also specifically addressed the difficult environment many manufacturers are facing as a result of potential labor disputes in key shipping sectors.”

Identifying threats: Boerstling also laid out some of the specific challenges manufacturers are currently facing.

Ports: “According to a new NAM-commissioned study by Inforum Economics, a 15-day shipping stoppage at these ports would cost the U.S. economy $7.5 billion and 41,000 jobs—nearly 15% of them from the manufacturing sector,” said Boerstling. “The NAM recently joined a broad coalition of organizations to call on the administration to support a contract extension as supply chain uncertainty continues to disrupt manufacturing production schedules.”

Rail: “Class I freight railroads have been in negotiations since January 2020 with two separate union coalitions that collectively represent all 115,000 rail employees,” explained Boerstling.

  • “On June 14, the National Mediation Board advised the parties that it was ending mediation and offering an opportunity for the parties to submit all open issues to final and binding interest arbitration. The unions rejected the offer of binding arbitration.”
  • “The NAM called on President Biden to support an experienced and impartial Presidential Emergency Board to provide recommendations for settlement of the dispute and avoid any slowdowns or a shutdown. On July 15, President Biden did just that.”

The NAM wins: The NAM has been deeply involved in a series of transportation and supply chain efforts over the past year, including a significant victory last month when the Ocean Shipping Reform Act was signed into law.

  • “Last month, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, of which we were leading proponents, became law,” said Boerstling. “OSRA modernizes federal oversight of ocean carriers at U.S. ports and addresses many of the issues that have led to port backlogs and trucking congestion by granting additional authorities to the Federal Maritime Commission to better equip the supply chain during periods of uncertainty or emergency.”
  • “It’s aimed at increasing port throughput and efficiency, decreasing transportation costs and improving service standards for American shippers.”

Learn more: You can find updates on supply chain actions at

  • Meanwhile, the CONNEX Marketplace industry platform brings together manufacturers and suppliers into a single, accurate and searchable database where they can quickly post and respond to needs, visualize supply chain risk and discover new business opportunities. 

Get involved: You can stand up for manufacturing priorities through Manufacturers United, a grassroots effort designed to put manufacturing voices at the forefront of the national conversation.

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