A nationwide rail shutdown could potentially cost more than $2 billion per day.
The White House announced that a tentative agreement has been reached between freight railroads and rail labor organizations, avoiding a shutdown of the U.S. freight rail system.
According to a recent report from the American Association of Railroads, a nationwide rail shutdown could halt nearly 7,000 freight trains and cost more than $2 billion a day.
But for now, a strike appears to have been averted.
“It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years,” President Joe Biden said in a prepared statement issued by the White House last night.
“I thank the unions and rail companies for negotiating in good faith and reaching a tentative agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruption of our economy,” Biden added.
The National Retail Federation (NFR) has monitored the potential strike and said freight rail is critical to the retail supply chain while retailers of every size rely on it to move cargo every day.
“We are relieved and cautiously optimistic that this devastating nationwide rail strike has been averted,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement issued this afternoon. “We appreciate the Biden administration’s intervention on behalf of the businesses and consumers who would have been impacted at a time when high inflation and economic uncertainty are challenging consumer budgets and putting business resiliency at risk.”
Last week, the NRF sent a letter to Congress expressing concern about the potential for U.S. freight rail disruptions.
“We hope railway workers will accept the new terms of the proposed contract and the railway system can continue to operate on behalf of the millions of hardworking Americans who rely on it for their jobs and the economic security of our country,” Shay said.