Freight trains may not be top of mind for most consumers, but a potential national railroad strike could soon impact almost every aspect of commerce in the U.S., affecting the daily lives of millions of Americans.
A work stoppage could begin early Friday morning just after midnight. That’s when a 30-day “cooling-off” period ends under terms of a law called the Railway Labor Act, which governs contract talks in the railroad and airline industries. The Biden administration has been working to avert a possible railroad strike before that deadline.
Halting freight trains could cost the U.S. economy more than $2 billion per day, according to the Association of American Railroads. If a shutdown were to last more than a few days, the impact would likely be felt by millions of consumers as it would disrupt shipping of retail products, coal and manufacturing components. Commuters would also be out of luck, as many passenger trains run on the freight tracks that would be idled in a strike, experts say.