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Get ready for a "perfect storm" of trends that will roil the waterfront in the coming year. TPM speaker Charles T. Carroll Jr., executive director of the National Association of Waterfront Employees, outlined three big issues confronting the industry in 2008. The first is the impending Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), a common form of ID that will soon be required for all personnel with unescorted access to ships, terminals and other transportation facilities. TWIC is supposed to take effect in September, but as of late February, only 120,000 workers had enrolled in the program, out of an estimated force of 1.5 million. Carroll predicted that the Sept. 1 date will have to be pushed into next year. The second trend is the industry-wide push for "green" practices, which he believes could lead to the purchase of expensive new equipment and a shortfall of truck drivers. Finally, there is "Element X"-efforts by the AFL-CIO to organize portions of the supply chain workforce, while fighting to reopen the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act and remove that law's ban on secondary boycotts. "I predict that all hell is going to break loose in the next Congress in the area of Taft-Hartley revisions," Carroll said.
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