• Re: How a railroad strike could send food prices soaring

    From Screw you Americans@21:1/5 to governor.swill@gmail.com on Mon Sep 12 03:21:36 2022
    XPost: talk.politics.guns, alt.society.labor-unions, sac.politics
    XPost: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

    In article <t22gqu$3bcbl$152@news.freedyn.de>
    <governor.swill@gmail.com> wrote:

    Union workers are anti-American socialist thieves.

    The nation’s supply of food could take a hit if railroad workers
    go on strike, driving up prices at the grocery store and
    limiting U.S. grain exports to countries facing famine.

    As soon as next week, 115,000 freight rail workers could walk
    out if they cannot reach a new contract with railroads,
    potentially shutting down the national rail network that
    transports 20 percent of all grain shipments.

    While unions say they want to avert a strike, and Congress has
    the power to block it, the U.S. food sector is rattled by the
    prospect of a national railroad shutdown in the middle of peak
    harvest season.

    A ‘devastating ripple effect’
    Even a short-lived interruption “would create a devastating
    ripple effect” on the nation’s fragile supply chains, said Lee
    Sanders, senior vice president of government relations and
    public affairs at the American Bakers Association.

    “Rail-dependent facilities would be unable to receive materials
    and ingredients, and millions of Americans a day would be unable
    to receive the baked goods they rely on to feed themselves,
    their families, and communities,” she said.

    A railroad shutdown in mid-September would quickly overwhelm
    grain storage facilities, leaving farmers with few options to
    store their crops and boosting the chance of spoilage. Many
    grain processors would shut down, raising the price of bread and
    other common items, while farmers would be saddled with huge
    crop quantities and lower commodity prices.

    “It’s kind of a double whammy when you hit both the beginning
    and the end of the supply chain,” said Max Fisher, chief
    economist at the National Grain and Feed Association.

    Freight railroads also carry roughly half of fertilizer, and
    farmers can’t afford delays, according to a Wednesday letter to
    congressional leaders from The Fertilizer Institute.

    “If farmers do not receive fertilizer, it results in lower crop
    yields, higher food prices, and more inflation for consumers,”
    Corey Rosenbusch, the group’s CEO, told lawmakers.

    Soaring food costs — which agricultural groups blame partially
    on existing railroad disruptions — have hit American families
    particularly hard. Grocery prices rose 13.1 percent over the
    last year ending in July, the largest annual increase in more
    than four decades, according to Labor Department data.

    There typically isn’t a backup plan for crops that are
    transported by rail, particularly when the trucking industry is
    already struggling to keep pace with demand. The same goes for
    coal, crude oil, steel, lumber, car parts and other items
    frequently loaded onto freight trains.

    A nationwide railroad work stoppage would cost the U.S. economy
    more than $2 billion per day and cause shipping containers to
    stack up at ports, according to estimates from the Association
    of American Railroads.

    Grain exports and global food security
    Because roughly one-third of U.S. grain exports travel by rail,
    a work stoppage would also cut down on America’s ability to ship
    food to foreign nations, particularly those in East Africa and
    the Middle East that face a risk of famine following Russia’s
    invasion of Ukraine.

    A coalition of food and agricultural groups, including the
    American Farm Bureau Federation, urged lawmakers on Thursday to
    block a freight rail strike, warning that it would have
    “devastating consequences” for global food security.

    “Congress must be willing to act to ensure our farmers and
    ranchers can continue to help feed the world,” the groups wrote
    in a letter to the top lawmakers on transportation committees.

    The United Nations estimates that the number of people facing
    acute food insecurity has risen from 145 million to 345 million
    since 2019, and 50 million people in 45 countries are nearing

    Russia blocked off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea at the
    onset of the invasion, cutting off nations that rely on Ukraine
    to provide large shipments of grain and cooking oil.

    The warring countries signed a deal to open up Black Sea
    shipments in July, but Russian President Vladimir Putin on
    Wednesday criticized the agreement, prompting fears that he
    could abandon it entirely.

    What lies ahead
    U.S. rail workers could legally strike as soon as Sept. 16 after
    the White House-appointed Presidential Emergency Board (PEB)
    released recommendations last month meant to bring railroads and
    unions closer to a deal.

    Five unions have reached tentative agreements with railroads on
    a new contract based on the PEB recommendations, which call for
    24 percent raises over five years and back pay but don’t address
    workers’ concerns about grueling hours and limited time off.

    The bulk of rail workers belong to unions that haven’t struck a
    deal. And a recent online survey from grassroots group Railroad
    Workers United found that more than 9 in 10 railroad workers
    would vote to reject the PEB recommendations and go on strike.

    If workers vote for a strike, Congress would likely intervene to
    block it. They could then vote to fast-track a new contract.
    Railroads, retailers, growers and other industries are largely
    urging lawmakers to simply implement the terms laid out by the

    Still, some business groups are worried about the prospect of a
    slow congressional response to a rail walkout, driven either by
    lawmakers’ inexperience with the issue or political games ahead
    of the midterms.

    The Biden administration, eager to avoid more economic
    disruption just before November, is pushing unions and railroads
    to secure an agreement before the issue comes before Congress.
    Labor Secretary Marty Walsh joined a negotiation session
    Wednesday before the National Mediation Board.

    “We are confident the parties will make every effort to
    negotiate in good faith toward a mutually acceptable solution,
    and we urge both sides to do so promptly,” a White House
    official said in an email.

    https://thehill.com/policy/3636564-how-a-railroad-strike-could- send-food-prices-soaring/

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