Washington - Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten today issued the following statement expressing concern over unresolved negotiations between the nation’s largest railroads and labor unions:
“Business Roundtable is deeply concerned about the potential for economic catastrophe if parties to the rail negotiations do not reach an agreement by Thursday night. If it appears that the dispute cannot be resolved through these talks, we urge Congress to intervene to avert a nationwide rail shutdown that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars a day and adversely affect millions of Americans.
“Beyond transporting people and consumer goods, America’s freight railroads carry security-sensitive and hazardous materials like the chlorine that purifies our drinking water and energy products that power homes, businesses and vehicles across the country. America’s freight rail operations are essential to the U.S. economy and commerce.
“Bringing national rail operations to a halt would lead to widespread plant shutdowns, supply chain challenges, retail product shortages and lost jobs and productivity—a crisis that would exacerbate the economic downturn. We urge swift resolution to ensure uninterrupted rail operations and access to the products and services on which Americans depend.”
According to a report by the Association of American Railroads, a strike could cost the economy more than $2 billion a day by idling 7,000 freight trains a day and disrupting passenger operations as Amtrak and half of all commuter rail systems rely, at least partly, on tracks owned by the freight railroads.