business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Hill reports that "the nation’s supply of food could take a hit if railroad workers go on strike, driving up prices at the grocery store and limiting U.S. grain exports to countries facing famine.  

"As soon as next week, 115,000 freight rail workers could walk out if they cannot reach a new contract with railroads, potentially shutting down the national rail network that transports 20 percent of all grain shipments … A railroad shutdown in mid-September would quickly overwhelm grain storage facilities, leaving farmers with few options to store their crops and boosting the chance of spoilage. Many grain processors would shut down, raising the price of bread and other common items, while farmers would be saddled with huge crop quantities and lower commodity prices."

The Hill writes that "even a short-lived interruption 'would create a devastating ripple effect' on the nation’s fragile supply chains, said Lee Sanders, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at the American Bakers Association.  'Rail-dependent facilities would be unable to receive materials and ingredients, and millions of Americans a day would be unable to receive the baked goods they rely on to feed themselves, their families, and communities,' she said."