The United States Economy could lose $2 Billion a Day in Output if a Railroad Strike or Lockout Ensues
President Biden appointed an emergency board to break through the obstacle of negotiations between United States railroads and the unions that represented 115,000 workers
According to an Association of American Railroads (AAR) report, a railroad strike or even a railroad lockout would cost the United States economy upwards of $2 Billion a day in output and add massive threats to the already struggling supplies of food and fuel. Recently, President Biden appointed an emergency board to break through the obstacle of negotiations between United States railroads and the unions that represented 115,000 workers.
The deal being negotiated must be agreed upon or reached by September 16th and in the event that they fail to do so, the door will be open to labor or management-led stoppages in work. Congressional intervention would also be inevitable at this point. The AAR report indicated that stoppages from Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, and other railroads would disrupt the shipments of wheat and other grains during a critical time in the United States. Coal deliveries to power plants would be delayed, auto part shortages would ensue, and e-commerce packages handled by UPS would be upheld.
The alternative would be to provide the mentioned sectors with over-the-road transportation. However, such a move would require 467,000 long-haul trucks to be added to the road per day which according to the AAR, exceeds availability. The news comes just a day after the National Mediation Board hosted a meeting with Marty Walsh, the United States Labor Secretary, railroads, and their representative unions with the goal to avert working stoppages.
So far there have been tentative agreements have been reached that would cover 21,000 workers represented by five of the 12 unions involved in negotiations. If the two sides do not generate any reputable deals, the 21,000 employees could refuse to cross picket lines.
“A nationwide rail work stoppage would result in an unnecessary $2 billion daily economic hit. Should negotiations fail and result in a work stoppage, Congress must act to implement the PEB recommendations."
Ian Jefferies, the AAR President, and CEO concluded.