Averting a Catastrophic Railroad Strike

September 16, 2022

This week, the American economy held its breath as we waited to hear the outcome of months of negotiations between major American railroad companies and labor unions. 

I have been following this issue closely for several months now, sounding the alarm to my colleagues in Congress and working on potential solutions to both the foreseen and unforeseen consequences of a potential strike, which would have been dire. We rely on railroads to ship:

  • Nearly 100% of Wyoming coal and trona
  • 75% of automobiles for purchase
  • 98% of all apparel, footwear, and travel goods that come through our ports
  • More than 50% of all fertilizer
  • Nearly all commodities, including grain needed for cattle
  • Chemicals needed for municipal water treatment

A strike would have been devastating. Wyoming’s economy would have ground to a halt. The supply chain impacts would have rivaled the disruptions we experienced early on in the pandemic. It is estimated that a railroad strike would have cost the American economy nearly $2 billion per day. 

Luckily, negotiators came to a tentative agreement early Thursday morning. At a time when people across Wyoming are still suffering due to inflation and high prices, this economic disruption would have been devastating. I am glad both sides came to an agreement and the trains will continue to run on time.