Rail strike potential is grabbing the attention of Congress; unions & railroads are negotiating
Senator Deb Fischer is taking to the Senate floor to tell her colleagues how devastating a strike would be to ag and the supply chain.
We are now less than 48 hours away from a potential rail strike and it does not appear that any progress is being made in contract negotiations. A strike would deal another devastating blow to the economy and would cause a lot of pain for the ag sector just as harvest kicks into gear.
The issue is now grabbing the attention of Congress. Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska told her colleagues a strike will take the possibility of a good harvest out the window after farmers are already grappling with an expensive season.
“That’s why I am deeply concerned about the potential for a rail shutdown later this week. I think it’s very important that people understand what kind of economic impact such a shutdown would have and how it would upend our nation’s agricultural sector. The consequences would be devastating. When agricultural products can’t be transported, there will be price hikes and shortages,” said Sen. Fischer.
Some U.S. rail companies say they will start halting crop shipments on Thursday and starting today, BNSF railway will not accept exports of refrigerated items.
Railroads and unions have committed to continue negotiating to try to reach a contract.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh tells Reuters, “the parties are negotiating in good faith and have committed to staying at the table today.”
American Farm Bureau President, Zippy Duvall gave his thoughts on the possibility of a strike.
“An extended rail strike would have cascading effects on farmers and ranchers, and the best solution for agriculture and the U.S. economy is to avoid a strike entirely. There is no real substitute for moving agricultural goods, as trucks can only move a small percentage of grain and other products typically transported by rail, and river transport is only an option for certain geographic areas. A rail strike now would reverse the supply chain improvements achieved in the past year and make it more difficult for U.S. farmers and ranchers to address rising global food insecurity,” said Duvall.