The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay following the announcement that a fourth rail union has rejected the tentative agreement brokered by the administration among the labor unions and freight railroads.
“Millions of hardworking Americans rely on the freight rail system for their jobs and the economic security of our country. A nationwide rail strike during the peak holiday season will be devastating for American businesses, consumers and the U.S. economy.
“American businesses and families are already facing increased prices due to persistent inflation, and a rail strike will create greater inflationary pressures and will threaten business resiliency. Congress must intervene immediately to avoid a rail strike and a catastrophic shutdown of the freight rail system.
“Smooth and stable operations on the rails is absolutely crucial this holiday season and should not be derailed by a rejection of the contract. Eight of the 12 unions have ratified the agreement, while four have rejected it. The parties must work out the issues and ratify the contract without a disruption to the system. If not, Congress must step in to prevent a strike before the end of the cooling off period on December 8.”
According to a 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.