Washington, D.C. – Following news that White House aides and Cabinet officials spent Tuesday reviewing contingency plans for a work stoppage, including outreach to shippers, truckers and air-freight lines to keep goods moving, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the ongoing negotiations between Class I railroads and labor unions representing the freight rail workforce:
“For years now, America’s manufacturing workers have endured the effects of rapidly rising material costs and severe supply chain disruptions, and our member surveys have shown quarter after quarter that these are among the top challenges affecting manufacturing growth in America. Further delays in concluding the rail negotiations will exacerbate the pain of inflation and supply chain disruptions, and failing to reach an agreement before Friday’s deadline would devastate the movement of manufactured products that families depend on,” said Timmons. “The Presidential Emergency Board has announced reasonable recommendations that nearly all parties have accepted, so now is the time to resolve remaining issues. We appreciate the administration’s proactive approach, and Congress should be ready to act as a last resort. But manufacturers still believe that the parties have it within their power to resolve these talks before they inflict severe economic damage.”
Currently, 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. The Association of American Railroads recently released a report that found a nationwide freight rail interruption could cost more than $2 billion per day in lost economic activity.
Background: On Monday, Sept. 12, the NAM sent a letter to congressional leaders reiterating support for the work of the Presidential Emergency Board, which has aided in the talks. The NAM also urged Congress to use its statutory authority to institute the PEB’s recommendations should it become necessary to intervene. The NAM supported President Biden’s selection of an independent and objective PEB and believes that the recommendations announced on Aug. 16 have provided an appropriate framework to avoid disruption to freight rail operations.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.