How disruptive would a freight rail strike be to the world’s largest economy? Here are a few numbers, from industry group the Association of America Railroads.
A work stoppage would have cost $2 billion per-day, and required 467,000 trucks to pick up the slack from idled railroads, which moved approximately 75,000 cars, containers and trailers daily. But the shipping industry doesn’t have that capacity – it’s struggling with shortages of manpower and trucks.
Amtrak’s announcement yesterday that it would cancel long-distance service in anticipation of the strike that could have started Friday was a taste of the consequences that could have come. More worrying would have been the economic ripple effects from tens of thousands of shipping containers being idled or delayed. Supply chain snarls such as these are one reason why consumer prices have risen so quickly in the United States since the start of 2021, and sent Biden’s approval rating steadily lower. And as data released earlier this week indicated, the inflation wave isn’t abating as quickly as many economists hoped.
All of this would have most likely been worsened by the narrowly averted rail strike.
The Guardian’s US politics blog is wishing you a good morning and hoping you got a restful night of sleep, because a bunch of people in Washington did not. After 20 hours of talks that stretched into the wee hours of Thursday, rail companies and unions representing their employees agreed to a tentative deal that would avert a strike, which could have snarled commerce across the country and likely made America’s inflation problem worse.
Consider it a crisis averted for Joe Biden, who is looking to avoid economic disruptions as he fights to rebuild his popularity ahead of the November midterms.
Here’s what else is going on today:
Biden is hosting the “United We Stand Summit” at the White House today at 3.30pm eastern time, where he’ll highlight communities’ efforts to recover from hate crimes, including mass shootings.
The House of Representatives will consider legislation to prevent attempts to make it easier to fire federal employees, something Donald Trump has mulled doing if he returns to the White House.
Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer thinks the party will lose its majority in the House in the upcoming midterms, according to comments he loudly made at a Washington restaurant that were reported by Punchbowl News.