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Senators Seek to Avert Rail Stoppage

As concerns rise over a possible freight rail stoppage, lawmakers have introduced a joint resolution that would require unions and railroads to accept an emergency board’s recommendations, according to Roll Call

What’s going on: Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the resolution Monday in order to avert a shutdown, which they said would cost the economy $2 billion a day.

  • Freight rail operators and unions, currently negotiating employee attendance policies, have until 12:01 a.m. EDT Friday to reach a deal before a potential strike or lockout.
  • The Presidential Emergency Board has proposed a 24% wage increase over several years along with annual bonuses for workers.

What’s next: “Two House subcommittees are scheduled to meet Thursday to take stock of the freight rail system,” according to Roll Call.

The NAM’s view: On Tuesday, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons commended the Biden administration’s approach and called for a quick resolution to the negotiations.

  • “Manufacturers still believe that the parties have it within their power to resolve these talks before they inflict severe economic damage,” he said.

A message to Congress: “The American freight rail network accounts for nearly 40% of total freight volume, and a strike or delay in finalizing a long-term contract would have devastating impacts across surface supply chain networks and economic output,” NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling told congressional leaders this week.

  • “We urge you to utilize all possible measures to avoid a service disruption in the freight rail network.”
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