U.S. Rail Strike Averted With Tentative Deal
The White House struck a tentative deal Thursday to avoid a rail strike that risked major disruptions across the United States, with freight workers securing a key demand. The agreement between major freight rail operators and two large unions — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and SMART Transportation Division — highlights the labor movement’s growing influence under an administration that has cast itself as a staunch ally of labor. Their tentative pact drew a collective sigh of relief from business groups that had warned a stoppage would cause crippling economic damage.
Total Retail's Take: Retailers can breathe a sigh of relief. The potential of a rail strike had many retailers and brands worried about further disruption to supply chains that are already strained. Nearly 40 percent of goods that are shipped long-distance rely on the nation’s rail system. As one might expect, the retail industry's largest trade association, National Retail Federation (NRF), expressed its approval (and relief) that a deal has been tentatively reached.
"We are relieved and cautiously optimistic that this devastating nationwide rail strike has been averted," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. "We appreciate the Biden administration’s intervention on behalf of the businesses and consumers who would have been impacted at a time when high inflation and economic uncertainty are challenging consumer budgets and putting business resiliency at risk."