This article is taken from the USDA's July 21 Grain Transportation Report.
Effective July 18, the President signed an executive order (EO) to prevent—for at least 60 days—a nationwide strike by U.S. railway workers that would deprive the country of essential transportation services.
As outlined by the EO, a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) of arbitrators will hold hearings and issue recommendations in 30 days.
The unions and railroads will then have 30 additional days to negotiate a new deal before entering a “self-help” period in mid-September, during which railroads can lock out workers and workers can strike. The core issues of the dispute involve salary, benefits, and working conditions.
If the railroads and unions cannot agree on a contract, Congress will likely have to act to prevent further disruption of an already stressed supply chain. Because the start of the self- help period coincides with the start of the harvest season, grain shippers could be especially impacted.