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Massive rail strike could mean more supply chain issues

A BNSF freight train with 76 container cars and FedEx freight trailers travels from Seattle to points east on August 23, 2021 in Livingston, Montana. (Photo by William Campbell/Getty Images) A potential strike involving thousands of railroad workers poses a new threat to businesses nationwide.Unions representing over 115,000 workers are poised to go on strike on Friday, Sept.

16 if a new labor agreement isn’t in place.A stoppage of freight cars impacts shipments and could be detrimental to the U.S. economy because there would be a scarcity of items on store shelves, and the cost of goods would increase amid high inflation.Last week, the Association of American Railroads trade group released a report projecting that the economy would take a $2-billion-a-day hit if trains stop moving.

The report added that passenger traffic could be disrupted because Amtrak and other commuter railroads use tracks owned by the freight railroads.A spokeswoman for the trade group said Sunday that railroads had to take action to prepare for a possible work stoppage because the deadline is so close, but the industry remains committed to negotiating an agreement with its unions.According to the Associated Press, railroad workers have gone without a raise since 2019 while the contract talks continued. The workers expect to be compensated after staying on the job throughout the pandemic and enduring extensive job cuts in recent years. The major freight railroads have eliminated nearly one-third of their jobs over the past six years as they overhauled their operations to run fewer, longer trains that need fewer locomotives and employees, the AP reported in August.

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