With the possibility of a national rail strike looming in the near future, the NAM is working with association members, congressional leadership and the White House to urge all parties toward a final resolution. On Monday, the NAM held a members-only briefing with remarks from senior leadership of the Association of American Railroads and personnel involved in the ongoing collective bargaining process.
- NAM members in attendance had the opportunity to hear about the state of play directly from representatives of the rail industry, and the message was consistent with the NAM’s own: that the situation is critical, and that a lack of an agreement would be devastating for railroads, for manufacturers and for the wider U.S. economy.
The background: For nearly three years, railroads and their unions have been discussing the outlines of a new long-term contract.
- Two months ago, U.S. Class I railroads and the various labor unions composing the rail workforce agreed to a deal brokered in part through efforts led by the Biden administration that temporarily averted a strike, pending ratification votes by each union’s rank-and-file membership.
- Although more than half of the unions involved have now ratified the agreement, at least two unions have voted to reject it—raising the likelihood of a strike.
The situation: Seven unions have ratified the proposed agreement, two have rejected the deal, and three have yet to vote. As it stands now, the hard deadline for unanimous agreement by all unions is 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at which point a strike could be called.
The outlook: During the NAM’s event, the speakers acknowledged that Class I freight rail companies will have to begin making decisions about possible disruptions and metering rail service as soon as this weekend.
- Leading up to the Nov. 19 deadline, manufacturers may receive notifications that some products cannot be moved on certain rail lines.
Next steps: It will be critical for stakeholders to press Congress and the administration either to work with unions to extend the Nov. 19 deadline, or to intervene with legislation that puts in place an agreement like the one recommended in September by the Presidential Emergency Board.
What we’re saying: “Manufacturers are urging congressional leaders to be prepared to bring stability and predictability to the economy if a rail strike and shutdown occurs,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said today.
- “We already face economic turmoil with rising costs, product shortages and high inflation. Any nationwide rail strike or shutdown will cause even more economic pain. Manufacturers urge all parties to work rapidly—for the good of the country—to conclude this collective bargaining process.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
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