Chamber Weighs In with Federal Lawmakers to Avert National Rail Strike
Labor negotiations which had been ongoing for at least the last 18 months fell apart early last week, and a national rail strike was threatened for Friday if parties could not get together and agree on moving forward. The Chamber weighed-in with a letter of grave concern to U.S. Senators Sinema & Kelly, and Congressman O’Halleran, and stressed rural rail communities throughout northern Arizona would be hit the hardest. The Biden Administration stepped-in on Thursday morning, and ended the threat of a nationwide rail strike. Here are some fun facts about freight rail the American Association of Railroads released last week showing how a rail shutdown would immediately impact our daily lives:
- 39,000 shipping containers and truck trailers: A single container or trailer on a railcar can contain 2,000 UPS packages, tens of thousands of bananas or hundreds of flat-screen televisions.
- 5,300 carloads of raw plastics, fertilizers and other chemicals: A single loaded railcar of plastic pellets can make around two million two-liter soda bottles, while a railcar of fertilizer is enough to treat around 4,500 acres of farmland. Chemicals are essential to public health, clean water, our domestic food supply stability and reliable electricity generation.
- 6,300 railcars of food and farm products: A single loaded railcar contains enough wheat for 260,000 loaves of bread. Rail also transports one-third of U.S. grain exports, which are especially important today considering global grain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.
- More than 2,000 carloads carrying 75% of all newly finished automobiles: Every day, tens of thousands of motor vehicles begin their rail journey to car dealerships. Since automakers typically use just-in-time production techniques and keep little inventory on hand, an interruption in rail service would quickly disrupt auto production.
- Passenger and commuter rail services operate mainly on freight railroad tracks: Freight railroads own and maintain nearly 97% of the tracks on Amtrak’s nearly 22,000-mile system. A freight railroad shutdown would devastate Amtrak operations just as ridership is starting to return. Since half of commuter rail systems operate at least partially on tracks or rights of way owned by freight railroads, a shutdown would also disrupt hundreds of thousands of commuter daily rail trips across the country.
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