The American Trucking Associations is calling on Congress to help resolve ongoing labor negotiations in the freight rail industry should the parties fail to reach a mutual agreement when the current cooling off period expires on September 16. The trucking industry is freight rail’s largest customer, and in a letter sent to Capitol Hill, ATA is warning of dire consequences for the U.S. supply chain if a strike were to go into effect.
“Idling all 7,000 long distance daily freight trains in the U.S. would require more than 460,000 additional long-haul trucks every day, which is not possible based on equipment availability and an existing shortage of 80,000 drivers,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear in the letter. “As such, any rail service disruption will create havoc in the supply chain and fuel inflationary pressures across the board.”
The letter urges Congress to help implement a contract patterned on the recommendations outlined by the Presidential Emergency Board and cautions against merely extending the negotiation timeline further, which would push a potential strike deeper into the holiday season when the supply chain is already under added pressure.
“Merely delaying a possible strike through congressional action will simply exacerbate the concerns of consumers and industry. A possible strike or lockout in October or November is arguably worse than one next week—although any disruption will cost the nation billions of dollars of lost productivity,” Spear said.
A copy of the letter is available here.