Sep 12, 2022 - Economy

Congress may step in to avert national railway strike

A Norfolk Southern freight train as seen on Jan. 27, 2021. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Congress would act to avert a national railway strike, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Monday on Bloomberg Television.

Why it matters: A shutdown of the nation's rail system threatens to re-tangle supply chains in the U.S. and could cost up to $2 billion a day, according to an industry estimate.

  • Amtrak announced Monday that it will be halting trains on three long-distance routes starting Tuesday, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: “There is a role for Congress if in fact they fail to reach an agreement,” Hoyer said on Bloomberg's "Balance of Power" show. “We can pass legislation if needed."

  • "A shutdown of our freight rail system is an unacceptable outcome for our economy and the American people," a White House official said in a statement to Axios.
  • "The Administration has been actively engaged, pushing for a resolution. All parties need to stay at the table, resolve outstanding issues and come to an agreement."

Where it stands: Negotiations continued over the weekend between the country's largest freight railroad companies — including Berkshire Hathaway's BNSF, Union Pacific and CSX — and the majority of the unions representing around 115,000 workers.

  • They have until Friday when a "cooling off period" will run out and workers could strike.
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