Rail strike would cripple an already teetering U.S. economy: Analysis
12/07/2022 // JD Heyes // Views

As if the U.S. economy wasn't already on the brink thanks to policies and overspending brought to us by a Democrat-controlled Congress and Joe Biden, a rail strike is now pending.

And if it actually occurs, the economy will fall off the deep end.

Almost everything travels to market by rail, and the industry was already experiencing additional costs thanks to skyrocketing diesel fuel prices brought on by Biden's war on fossil fuels. But now, rail workers are pressing for more benefits as well, and they are ready to walk off their jobs if they don't get them, reports say.

NBC News explains just what is going on:

Railway workers would go on strike shortly after midnight Dec. 9 if a deal isn't reached before then. Biden is urging Congress to intervene.

Without congressional intervention and with talks between workers and railway operators seemingly at a standstill, companies across the economy are bracing for a complete shutdown of freight and passenger railway systems. With a shortage of truck drivers, companies wouldn’t be able to shift their shipments, stranding a vast majority of goods.

Just how damaging a strike would be to the economy would depend on its length, but a strike of even a few days could lead to a cascade of events that would disrupt supply chains for weeks, industry officials warn. The White House projects that as many as 765,000 people could be put out of work in the first two weeks.

"Businesses integral to our normal day-to-day life, like food and fuel manufacturers, will feel the impact immediately and will quickly trickle down to consumers," Jeffrey Hausman, the chief product officer at the supply chain management firm Samsara, told the outlet.


NBC News noted further that a rail strike would also endanger entire communities, affecting the ability for millions to continue having access to clean drinking water.

Municipal water treatment facilities utilize chlorine and other chemicals to ensure water is safe by the time it comes out of the tap; a stoppage in rail transport would mean those same cities would no longer get reliable shipments of those chemicals, thereby limiting or even preventing those cities from producing clean water. Millions of people would be affected.

“A stoppage of rail service in the United States would have a catastrophic effect on the ability of water utilities to treat drinking water and wastewater and to perform other water treatment services,” trade groups representing the water sector said in a letter to the White House this month. “This would present a significant threat to human health and to the health of the environment.”

Naturally, the country's food supply would be negatively affected, too. Roughly 25 percent of all grain travels by rail, "and food producers ship 1.2 billion carloads a year of grain products, such as flour, soybean oil, meal, distillers grains and ethanol, according to the National Grain and Feed Association," NBC News reported.

So right off the bat, our country's supply of food and water would be cut, which will lead to food and water riots as Americans go on the hunt for sustenance.

 Michael Seyfert, the president and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association, said on a phone call with reporters: “We can’t have our exports dropping due to a rail strike, and we also have a number of areas of the country where livestock producers have to ship in their feed via rail."

He added: "It’s really the only way they can get it, so we’d have severe shortages of feed in a very rapid period of time."

“If this is not resolved quickly, fertilizer manufacturing would have to be curtailed,” added Corey Rosenbusch, the president of the Fertilizer Institute, on a call with reporters. “This would be absolutely devastating for fertilizer distribution.”

President Joe Biden has since signed onto legislation averting a rail strike -- for now. But rail workers are still not happy and it's entirely possible that a new strike threat will emerge soon. We will be monitoring the situation.

Sources include:



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