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Strike Threat on Freight Railroads Is Recent Supply Chain Worry

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“Failure to finalize an agreement before the Sept. 16 deadline will hurt U.S. consumers and imperil the provision, affordability and accessibility of on a regular basis essential products,” the Consumer Brands Association, which represents manufacturers of food, beverage, household and private care products, said in a letter to Mr. Biden last week.

Economists have been surprised by recent strength within the labor market, because the Federal Reserve tries to engineer a slowdown and tame inflation.

In a statement over the weekend, Corey Rosenbusch, the president of the Fertilizer Institute, an industry group, said a possible work stoppage could be “bad news for farmers and food security.”

The Association of American Railroads, a freight rail industry group, said a disruption to service would cost greater than $2 billion per day in economic output, idle hundreds of trains and end in widespread product shortages and job losses. Rail accounts for about 28 percent of U.S. freight movement, second only to trucking’s nearly 40 percent, in accordance with federal data.

Greater than 460,000 additional trucks could be needed every day to hold the products otherwise delivered by rail, the American Trucking Associations, one other industry group, said in a letter last week asking lawmakers to be prepared to intervene. The trucking industry faces a shortage of 80,000 drivers, so a rail disruption would “create havoc in the provision chain and fuel inflationary pressures across the board,” it said.

In a message on Friday, Steve Bobb, the chief marketing officer of one in every of the rail carriers, BNSF, encouraged customers to ask Congress to intervene. His counterpart at Norfolk Southern echoed that request to its customers over the weekend, too.

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the highest Republican on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said on Friday that he was hopeful that a strike may very well be averted, but was prepared to act if not.

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