The Possibility of a Rail Strike & What Can Be Done

It has been a slow week in Washington in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The one critical issue that has kept the lobbying community busy is the threat of a Class 1 rail worker strike which could occur when the cooling off period ends December 9. Numerous letters have been sent to Congressional leadership requesting Congressional intervention to head off a work stoppage. Another letter that the Chamber of Commerce is leading, and ABMA signed, is scheduled to be sent next week.

In addition, activity has ratcheted up this week with staff meetings in key offices in the House and Senate. There are a number of meetings scheduled for next week as well. ABMA will be participating in these meetings, emphasizing that a rail strike will create rippling consequences throughout the supply chain by shifting cargo to an already burdened trucking sector. In fact, this shift could begin to occur next week as shipments of sensitive materials are stopped so that they are not stranded on the rails in the event of a work stoppage.

What Can Congress Do?

Congressional action could take the form of either imposing the agreements that the unions rejected or embracing the recommendations that a presidentially appointed board of arbitrators made over the summer. Alternatively, and perhaps the more likely scenario, Congress could simply extend the cooling off period.

ABMA will keep you regularly apprised of developments on this critical issue and our activity in support of Congressional action ahead of the holidays.