Retailers warn of 'self-inflicted economic disaster' after largest rail union rejects labor deal
By Matt Egan, CNN BusinessUpdated: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 16:12:12 GMTSource: CNNThe nation's leading retailers warned Monday that Congress may need to step in to avert a devastating freight rail strikBy Matt Egan, CNN Business
Updated: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 16:12:12 GMT
The nation's leading retailers warned Monday that Congress may need to step in to avert a devastating freight rail strike they fear could spoil food, interrupt the delivery of goods bought online and worsen inflation.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group whose members include Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and dozens of other brands, said a strike would cause an "enormous disruption to the flow of goods nationwide" and ripple through the supply chain and economy at large.
"Retailers urge policymakers to use every tool at their disposal to avoid a self-inflicted economic disaster," the trade group said in a statement.
The warning was issued shortly after America's largest rail union rejected a tentative labor deal with freight railroads, raising the risk of a crippling national freight rail strike.
"Absent an agreement by December 9, Congress must act quickly to codify the tentative agreement reached in September to ensure rails and the larger supply chain remain functional and open for business," the retail trade group said.
A rail strike would come at a difficult time as the US economy is still grappling with high inflation, surging borrowing costs and elevated recession risks.
"Fortunately, this year's holiday gifts have already landed on store shelves," the retail group said. "But an interruption to rail transportation does pose a significant challenge to getting items like perishable food products and e-commerce shipments delivered on time, and it will undoubtedly add to the inflationary pressures already hitting the US economy.