So now, on top of everything else, a railroad strike may be looming again. Excerpt:
Problems with an already-shaky economy and a rough holiday season could become exacerbated by the renewed threat of a nationwide rail strike. Just the News explains that coal transportation would be affected along with passenger service. But it is worth noting that rail companies also transport a variety of items. These may include automobiles, food, furniture, toys, fuel, and construction materials. The site did not report how these things would be impacted by the strike. As the situation stands now, the strike could cost the nation billions. This, of course, comes at a time when consumer expectations are higher than normal, energy usage and prices are up across the nation, and people are finding that their dollar does not have nearly the buying power it once did.
There are 12 railroad unions involved in the issue. All 12 need to agree to the contract, and if one union declines, as was the case on Sunday night, the others would refuse to cross the proverbial picket line out of solidarity.
I’m not too worried about the passenger service. Except for the upper part of the Eastern Seaboard, there just isn’t that much railroad passenger service. A rail strike won’t affect a lot of small consumer goods, either, as most of those things travel by truck. But as the article notes, larger things like furniture still move by rail, at least between major hubs. And an awful lot of our imports here in the Great Land, which is a hell of a lot of stuff, comes to us at least in part by rail.
What it will effect most, through, are bulk commodities: Coal and grain, for example. This will be (like so many other things going on right now) inflationary. Coal is energy, after all, and a fair amount of the United States’ electricity is still generated by coal-fired plants. And grain? Not only food but cooking oils and (stupidly) ten to fifteen percent of the gasoline you put in your car is about to get a lot more expensive, if this strike happens.
The hits just keep coming and coming.