221128 Coalition Rail Labor Congress


November 28, 2022


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, and Republican Leaders McConnell and McCarthy:

We write you today on a matter of grave urgency. Once again, the United States is facing the threat of a major rail strike between the major freight railroads and 12 labor unions, the second such time in less than three months. A stoppage of rail service for any duration would be extremely damaging to American families and our economy, costing $2 billion dollars per day.[1] As provided for under federal law and consistent with past practice, Congress must be prepared to intervene before the end of the current “status quo” period on December 9 to ensure continued rail service should railroads and four unions fail to reach a voluntary agreement. A strike by any one union would assuredly result in a stoppage of national rail service.

While the recent decision to have all four unions align the end of their “status quo” to December 9 is good, in reality the decision is hardly helpful. Many businesses and communities rely on regular, uninterrupted rail service. The uncertainty of rail service during this year’s protracted contract negotiations has created enormous anxiety.[2] In September, the mere possibility of a rail service stoppage created significant disruptions to the timely delivery of critical goods and products. The freight railroads must safely reduce operations and secure their customers’ goods days in advance of a potential strike, meaning businesses and communities saw interruptions in the delivery of fertilizers, chlorine, and other products essential to clean water, our food supply, and electricity generation. Many businesses will see the impacts of a national rail strike well before December 9 – through service disruptions and other impacts potentially as early as December 5.[3] The sooner this labor impasse ends, the better for our communities and our national economy.

A potential rail strike only adds to the headwinds facing the U.S. economy. A rail stoppage would immediately lead to supply shortages and higher prices. The cessation of Amtrak and commuter rail services would disrupt up to 7 million travelers a day. Many businesses would see their sales disrupted right in the middle of the critical holiday shopping season. Even a short-term rail strike would have enormous impacts. The American agricultural community could see disruptions in transporting 6,300 carloads of food and farm products that are carried by rail daily. It would also halt the delivery of key chemicals necessary to our communities including chlorine, which is necessary for effective water and wastewater treatment operations. In many cases, businesses and communities rely on regular rail service and may not have significant reserves, even in the event of a short-term strike.

No one wins when the railroads stop running. Congress recognized their necessity to interstate commerce and America’s economic health with the passage of the Railway Labor Act and past congressional interventions in rail labor disputes when other steps fail. Indeed, Congress has intervened 18 times since 1926 in labor negotiations that threaten interstate commerce and there is no reason why Congress should deviate from this record today. While a voluntary agreement with the four holdout unions is the best outcome, the risks to America’s economy and communities simply make a national rail strike unacceptable. Therefore, absent a voluntary agreement, we call on you to take immediate steps to prevent a national rail strike and the certain economic destruction that would follow.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Agribusiness Association of Iowa

AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky

Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference of ATA

Agricultural Retailers Association

Agriculture Transportation Coalition

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

Airforwarders Association

Alameda Chamber & Economic Alliance

Albany Area Chamber

Alliance for Automotive Innovation

Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers

Aluminum Association

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)

American Association of Port Authorities

American Bakers Association

American Beverage Association

American Bridal and Prom Industry Association

American Building Materials Alliance (ABMA)

American Chemistry Council

American Coatings Association, Inc.

American Composites Manufacturers Association

American Cotton Producers

American Cotton Shippers Association

American Down and Feather Council

American Exploration & Production Council

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Feed Industry Association

American Forest & Paper Association

American Foundry Society

American Frozen Foods Institute

American Home Furnishings Alliance

American International Automobile Dealers Association

American Lighting Association

American Petroleum Institute

American Pyrotechnics Association

American Spice Trade Association

American Trucking Associations

Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce

Apache Junction Area Chamber of Commerce

Arizona Beverage Association

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Arizona Trucking Association

Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA

Associated Builders and Contractors

Associated Equipment Distributors

Associated General Contractors of America

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies

Athens Area Chamber of Commerce

Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce

Auto Care Association

Autos Drive America

Beer Institute

Billings Chamber of Commerce

Blount County Chamber of Commerce

Border Trade Alliance

Brea Chamber of Commerce

Brick Industry Association

Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce

Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce

Burlington Chamber of Commerce

Business Council of Alabama

Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce

California Alfalfa and Forage Association

California Association of Wheat Growers

California Building Industry Association

California Business Properties Association (CBPA)

California Business Roundtable

California Chamber of Commerce

California Farm Bureau

California Grain and Feed Association

California Retailers Association

California Seed Association

California Trucking Association

California Warehouse Association

Can Manufacturers Institute

Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

Carolina Feed Industry Association

Carson City Chamber of Commerce

CAWA - Representing the Automotive Parts Industry

Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce Hawaii

Chandler Chamber of Commerce

Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce

Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce

Coalition of California Chambers Orange County

Coalition of New England Companies for Trade

Coastal Agricultural Supply, Inc.

Color Pigments Manufacturers Association

Colorado Motor Carriers Association

Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce

Columbia River Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association

Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute

Consumer Brands Association

Consumer Technology Association

Convenience Distribution Association

Corn Refiners Association

Corvallis Chamber of Commerce

Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce

Council for Responsible Nutrition

Council of Fashion Designers of America

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Covington Chamber of Commerce

CropLife America

Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of Northern California

Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders Association of Washington State

Danville Area Chamber of Commerce

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

Donalsonville Seminole County Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority of Seminole County

Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce

Effingham County Chamber of Commerce

El Paso Hispanic Chamber

Fashion and Accessories Shippers Association

Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association

Flexible Packaging Association

Florida Feed Association, Inc.

Florida Retail Federation

Florida Trucking Association

FMI - The Food Industry Association

Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association

Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA)

Forest Resources Association

Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce

Freight Rail Customer Alliance

Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Fresno Chamber of Commerce

Gallup McKinley County Chamber of Commerce

Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce

Gardner Chamber of Commerce

Gateway Chambers Alliance

Gemini Shippers Association

Georgia Beverage Association

Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Georgia Motor Trucking Association

Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

Glass Packaging Institute

Glendale Chamber of Commerce

Glendora Chamber of Commerce

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Grain and Feed Association of Illinois

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Greater Bakersfield Chamber

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Greater Des Moines Partnership

Greater Escondido Chamber of Commerce

Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce

Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce

Greater Gainesville Chamber

Greater Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce

Greater Magnolia Parkway Chamber of Commerce

Greater North Dakota Chamber

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

Greater Ontario Business Council

Greater Phoenix Chamber

Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce

Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Shreveport Chamber

Greater Spokane Incorporated

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce

Green Coffee Association, Inc.

Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce

Growth Energy

GWACC Chamber of Commerce

Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce

Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce

Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce

Harbor Trucking Association

Hardwood Federation

Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce

Hawthorne Chamber of Commerce

Health Industry Distributors Association

Henderson Chamber of Commerce

Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Home Fashion Products Association

Hospitality Minnesota

IAPD - The Performance Plastics Association

Idaho Trucking Association

Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Indiana Chamber of Commerce

Indiana Motor Truck Association

Inland Empire Economic Partnership

Institute of Makers of Explosives

Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils

Intermodal Association of North America

International Association of Movers

International Bottled Water Association

International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

International Dairy Foods Association

International Foodservice Distributors Association

International Franchise Association

International Fresh Produce Association

International Housewares Association

International Wood Products Association

Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Iowa Motor Truck Association

IWLA (International Warehouse Logistics Association)

Jerome Chamber of Commerce

Kalispell Chamber of Commerce

Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association

Kansas Grain and Feed Association

Kansas Motor Carriers Association

Kentucky Grocers and Convenience Store Association

Kentucky Propane Gas Association

Kentucky Retail Federation

Kentucky Trucking Association

Leather and Hide Council of America

Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce

Little Rock Regional Chamber

Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

Longview Chamber of Commerce

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Los Angeles County Business Federation

Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association

Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association

Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce

Louisiana Chamber of Commerce

Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance

Maryland Chamber of Commerce

Maryland Motor Truck Association

Maryland Retailers Association

Mason City Chamber of Commerce

Meat Import Council of America

Mesa Chamber of Commerce

Metals Service Center Institute

Methanol Institute

Metro South Chamber of Commerce

Michigan Agri-Business Association

Michigan Chemistry Council

Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Trucking Association

Minneapolis Regional Chamber

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Minnesota Grain and Feed Association

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association

Mississippi Economic Council - the State Chamber

Mississippi Retail & Grocers Association

Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Missouri Retailers Association

Mobile Chamber

Montana Chamber of Commerce

Montana Retail Association

Montana Trucking Association

Moore County Chamber of Commerce

Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce

Motorcycle Industry Council

Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce

Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce

National Association of Chemical Distributors

National Association of Egg Farmers

National Association of Flour Distributors (NAFD)

National Association of Home Builders

National Association of Manufacturers

National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

National Cattlemen's Beef Association

National Chicken Council

National Confectioners Association

National Cotton Council

National Cotton Ginners Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

National Fisheries Institute

National Grain and Feed Association

National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA)

National Industrial Transportation League

National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association

National Marine Manufacturers Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Mining Association

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Pork Producers Council

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

National Sporting Goods Association

National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association

National Waste & Recycling Association

National Wooden Pallet & Container Association

Natural Products Association

NC Chamber

Nebraska Cooperative Council

Nebraska Trucking Association

Nevada Trucking Association

New Hampshire Retail Association

New Jersey Motor Truck Association

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association

New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

New York New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association

Nogales-Santa Cruz Chamber Commerce

North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)

North American Association of Utility Distributors (NAAUD)

North American Home Furnishings Association

North American Meat Institute

North American Millers' Association

North American Renderers Association

North Bay Leadership Council

North Carolina Agribusiness Council, Inc

North Carolina Retail Merchants Association

North Country Chamber of Commerce

North Dakota Grain Growers Association

North Dakota Motor Carriers Association

Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Northwest Horticultural Council

Norwalk Chamber of Commerce

Oceanside Chamber of Commerce

Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Ohio Council of Retail Merchants

Ohio Trucking Association

Orange County Business Council

Oregon Business & Industry

Oregon Trucking Association

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

Overland Park Chamber of Commerce

Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association

Pacific Egg and Poultry Association

Pacific Northwest Grain & Feed Association

Pacific Seed Association

Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce

Pasco Chamber of Commerce

Payson Santaquin Area Chamber of Commerce

Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association (PTNPA)

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association

Pennsylvania Retailers' Association

Peoria Chamber of Commerce

Pet Advocacy Network

Phoenix Feeds and Nutrition

Plumbing Manufacturers International

Point of the Mountain Chamber of Commerce

Portland Cement Association

PRINTING United Alliance

Promotional Products Association International (PPAI)

Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce

Queens Chamber of Commerce

Rail Supply Institute

Railway Supply Institute

Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc

Railway Tie Association

Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association

Renew Kansas Biofuels Association

Renewable Fuels Association

Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce

Renton Chamber of Commerce

Retail Association of Maine

Retail Council of New York State

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Retail Merchants of Hawaii

Retailers Association of Massachusetts

Rhode Island Trucking Association, Inc.

Riverton Chamber and Visitor's Center

Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce

RV Industry Association

Sacramento Metro Chamber

Salt Lake Chamber

San Diego Customs Brokers Association

San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership

San Jose Chamber of Commerce

San Pedro Chamber of Commerce

Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce

Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce

SC Timber Producers Association

SC Trucking Association

Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce

Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce

Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce

Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce

Shippers Coalition

Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce

Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce

SNAC International

Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates

South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association

South Carolina Retail Association

South Carolina Trucking Association

South Dakota Agri-Business Association

South Dakota Association of Cooperatives

South Dakota Soybean Association

South Kitsap Chamber of Commerce

South Salt Lake Chamber

South Valley Chamber of Commerce

Southeastern Grain & Feed Association

Southern California Leadership Council

Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)

Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce

St. Charles Regional Chamber

St. George Area Chamber of Commerce

State Chamber of Oklahoma

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce

Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute

Tea Association of the U.S.A., Inc.

Tennessee Trucking Association

Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce

Texas Ag Industries Association

Texas Association of Business

Texas Business Leadership Council

Texas Grain and Feed Association

Texas Trucking Association

The Fertilizer Institute

The Sulphur Institute

The Toy Association

Thurston County Chamber

Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce

Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA)

Travel Goods Association

Trucking Association of Massachusetts

Trucking Association of New York

Tucson Metro Chamber

Tulsa Regional Chamber

U.S. Apple Association

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Durum Growers Association

U.S. Fashion Industry Association

United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce

United Dairymen of Arizona

USA Minority Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

Valve Manufacturers Association

Vegas Chamber

Vermont Retail & Grocers Association

Vinyl Institute

Virginia Agribusiness Council

Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Wake Forest Area Chamber

Washington Retail Association

Washington State Potato Commission

Washington State Tree Fruit Association

Washington Trucking Associations

West Valley Chamber of Commerce Alliance

West Ventura County Business Alliance

West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

White Pine Chamber of Commerce

Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce

Window & Door Manufacturers Association

Wisconsin Bakers Association

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC)

Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association

WV Retailers Association

Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce

Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce

cc: Members of the United States Senate

cc: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

[1] Association of American Railroads, “The Economic Impact of a Railroad Shutdown,” September 2022, https://www.aar.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/AAR-Rail-Shutdown-Report-September-2022.pdf

[2] AP News, “Rail strike worry prompts businesses to seek WH intervention,” by Josh Funk, October 27, 2022,  https://apnews.com/article/biden-business-economy-congress-government-and-politics-6b60d53fefc7b85f301b0a3e7011715b

[3] Association of American Railroads, “Railroad Suspension of Operations” November 2022, https://www.aar.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/AAR-Railroad-Suspension-of-Operations-Fact-Sheet.pdf

221128 Coalition Rail Labor Congress