In this file:

 

·         Fischer on Potential Rail Strike & Impact on Ag Economy

… delivered a floor speech highlighting the severe impact a potential rail shutdown later this week would have on the agriculture sector, the U.S. economy, and global food security…

 

·         Grassley Says Congress Needs To Step Up To Prevent A Rail Strike

Grassley of Iowa believes Congress will step in and act to prevent a railroad strike from occurring.  However, Grassley informed reporters that agriculture may still face problems with rail service even without a strike during harvest season…

 

·         Railroad Strike Hinges on Dispute Over Attendance Policies

Members at one union reject tentative agreement; both sides are meeting in Washington ahead of a Friday deadline

 

·         Possible railroad strike could impact meat industry

… “Our members rely on about 27 million bushels of corn and 11 million bushels of soybean meal every week to feed their chickens. Much of that is moved by rail,” said Tom Super, senior vice president of NCC...

 

 

Fischer on Potential Rail Strike & Impact on Ag Economy

 

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

via KTIC (NE) - September 14th, 2022

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) delivered a floor speech highlighting the severe impact a potential rail shutdown later this week would have on the agriculture sector, the U.S. economy, and global food security.

 

A full copy of Sen. Fischer’s remarks as prepared for delivery is below:

 

M. President.

 

Agriculture is a critical part of Nebraska’s economy.

 

It accounts for roughly $25.7 billion of Nebraska’s gross state product. That’s a little less than a quarter of our state’s overall GDP. Nearly one in four jobs in the state are tied to agriculture.

 

That economic output is important. Because thanks to states like Nebraska, hard-working family farmers and ranchers produce a wide variety of products that keep our grocery stores stocked and help to feed the world.

 

But our nation’s agricultural bounty doesn’t do anyone much good if it can’t get to market.

 

That’s where our complex transportation and infrastructure system comes into play.

 

The railroad industry, in particular, has a big role in bringing agricultural products to locations across the United States. That includes ports, where they can then be shipped to locations around the world.

 

Whether its grain or soybeans, railroads provide the means to affordably move thousands of tons of goods to where they need to go. It’s estimated that rail delivers 1.6 million carloads of agricultural products a year.

 

That’s why I am deeply concerned about the potential for a rail shutdown later this week.

 

I think it’s important that people understand what kind of economic impact such a shutdown would have and how it would upend our nation’s agricultural sector.

 

The consequences would be devastating.

 

When agricultural products can’t be transported, there will be price hikes and shortages.

 

Our international exports of commodities like corn, soy, wheat, of which a large share move by rail, will fall dramatically.

 

Fertilizer prices – an already expensive input cost due to inflation – will further skyrocket. The mere prospect of a shutdown on Friday means fertilizer and other hazardous materials have already started to be removed from the rail networks on September 12th.

 

Biofuel plants could be forced to scale down operations or completely shut down.

 

I would also point out that we have harvest coming up in Nebraska. Family farmers in my state, many of whom are grappling with rapidly rising input costs, need a good harvest season.

 

If rail service isn’t feasible, that possibility could go out the window. Grain elevators, for example, could run out storage and be unable to accept additional commodities.

 

Family farmers and ranchers will lose critical revenue streams.

 

The bottom line is if rail shuts down, our entire agricultural system shuts down. It’s that simple.

 

All of this economic chaos would come on top of extreme inflation. Today’s numbers put grocery prices up 13.5% over last year. Think about the toll this out-of-control inflation is taking on our working-class families.

 

Then there’s the international turmoil. Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine has dramatically curtailed the flow of grain, which in turn has exacerbated food insecurity in Africa and the Middle East. And the war has also further strained the fertilizer supply chain.

 

All of this is to say – the stakes of these rail negations couldn’t be higher.

 

9 of the 12 labor unions in the rail sector have been able to utilize the President Emergency Board recommendations to come to an agreement. I’d note that the board is composed of neutral, impartial individuals appointed by the President.

 

Their recommendations are widely seen as benefiting all parties.

 

It’s critical that the remaining labor unions and the rail industry use those recommendations to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

 

Our entire agricultural system is at stake here. The economic welfare of the American people is at stake here. And global food security is at stake here.

 

Thank you. I yield the floor.

 

document, plus video of speech [5:32 min.]

https://ruralradio.com/ktic/news/fischer-on-potential-rail-strike-impact-on-ag-economy/

 

 

Grassley Says Congress Needs To Step Up To Prevent A Rail Strike

 

Radio 570 WNAX (SD)

Sep 13, 2022

 

Friday, September 16th is the deadline to avoid a possible nation-wide rail strike.  U-S Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa believes Congress will step in and act to prevent a railroad strike from occurring.  However, Grassley informed reporters that agriculture may still face problems with rail service even without a strike during harvest season.

 

Grassley says Congress will likely approve the recommendations set forth by mediation officials.

 

Grassley says Republicans don’t want to see a strike, and he says if a rail strike were to occur it would be damaging to the national economy.  Grassley says Congress would need to pass a resolution by unanimous consent.  He says farmers will need the railroads to help transport grain...

 

more, including audio clips [0:27, 0:47, 0:15 min.]

https://wnax.com/news/180081-grassley-says-congress-needs-to-step-up-to-prevent-a-rail-strike/

 

 

Railroad Strike Hinges on Dispute Over Attendance Policies

Members at one union reject tentative agreement; both sides are meeting in Washington ahead of a Friday deadline

 

By Esther Fung, The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 14, 2022

 

One of the labor unions representing U.S. railroad workers said its members rejected a tentative agreement its leaders had reached, a setback in efforts to avoid a potential strike that would disrupt the movement of goods across the country.

 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said its 4,900 members had voted to reject a deal reached with the biggest U.S. freight railroads as part of bigger broader negotiations.

 

IAM is one of 10 labor groups that has reached or is completing tentative agreements based on a proposal laid out by a presidential advisory panel. Members at two of those groups are also voting Wednesday to ratify or reject the agreements. Two other unions haven’t yet reached any deal with the companies...

 

more

https://www.wsj.com/articles/railroad-union-says-workers-voted-against-proposed-labor-deal-as-strike-looms-11663170265

 

 

Possible railroad strike could impact meat industry

 

By Ryan McCarthy, Meat+Poultry

09.13.2022

 

WASHINGTON — The possible strike of railroad workers by the end of the week is getting more attention from stakeholders in the meat processing and agricultural sectors of the economy.

 

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the SMART Transportation Division stated that a strike could happen by Sept. 16 if the unions can’t reach a contract agreement.

 

The National Carriers’ Conference Committee said it reached tentative agreements with a large portion of the unionized workers but still has not come to a new contract with the two largest unions…

 

… The US Meat Export Federation explained how a strike could affect the red meat market.

 

“USMEF was pleased to see that more rail worker unions reached tentative contract agreements over the weekend, but the threat of a strike remains a major concern,” said Joe Schuele, vice president of communications for USMEF. “While the vast majority of red meat exports rely on truck and ocean transport, any interruption in rail service will put a strain on the entire transportation system. And from a meat production standpoint, rail service is obviously critical for delivery of livestock feed and other inputs.”

 

The National Chicken Council (NCC) also discussed what a railroad strike could mean for its members.

 

“Our members rely on about 27 million bushels of corn and 11 million bushels of soybean meal every week to feed their chickens. Much of that is moved by rail,” said Tom Super, senior vice president of NCC...

 

more

https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/27228-possible-railroad-strike-could-impact-meat-industry