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Congress Gets Involved in Resolution to Possible Rail Union Strike


US – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today called for a swift conclusion to a dispute between railroad carriers and unions that could lead to a potential strike as early as Friday, September 16.

“I remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached and a strike can be avoided. Halting rail service is counterproductive for both sides and would have devastating consequences for our country. It is time to end the brinksmanship and bring these negotiations to a close,” Wicker said.

A shutdown of the nation’s rail system threatens to re-tangle supply chains in the U.S. and could cost up to $2 billion a day, according to an industry estimate.

Amtrak announced Monday that it will be halting trains on three long-distance routes starting Tuesday

“The Presidential Emergency Board has put forward a comprehensive and fair set of recommendations that, if adopted, could end this standoff today,” Wicker said. “I will be calling on my colleagues in Congress to join the administration in endorsing these recommendations as written and advance legislation to resolve this dispute if it is clear that a shutdown in rail service is imminent.”

Wicker had previously joined U.S. Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), to call on President Joe Biden to appoint impartial and qualified members to the PEB.

In that letter, the Senators stressed that an unresolved outcome between railroad carriers and unions would place additional strain on existing supply chain problems, particularly as inflation remains high. 

“Our nation cannot afford another failure when it comes to keeping inflation in check and maintaining our supply chains,” the Senators wrote. “We are concerned this is the first step on the way to a union strike as labor seeks to leverage the fragile state of our economy… A railroad strike would only serve to increase the pain to Americans’ wallets and welfare.”