NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The clock is ticking to avoid a railroad strike that experts say would be a massive hit to an already fragile food chain.
On Friday, 115,000 rail workers plan to strike if a new contract with railroads is not met. Experts say the impact would be felt by families in Tennessee and every other state in the United States.
Railroad experts say the heart of the issue comes down to U.S. rail workers who are fed up with long workdays, quick turnaround shifts and extra time on call. Rail workers state that railroads refuse to increase labor because they are operating at near record profitability.
Some railroads have already prepared for the potential strike with Amtrak already canceling several of its long-distance routes.
Railroad expert Dr. Jason Miller explained that some railroads in the U.S. are already beginning to see some changes ahead of the strike planned for Friday.
“We’re already seeing the railroads curtail some types of cargo,” said Dr. Miller, “So, for example, things where security is needed. I mean, you don’t want an M1 tank sitting on the railroads, if there’s a strike, military equipment has to immediately get removed.”
Tennessee leaders are also showing reaction to the potential strike that will affect the Volunteer State in many ways.
According to Senator Bill Hagerty’s team, the senator strongly supports measures to prevent the strike from occurring.
In a tweet, Senator Marsha Blackburn slammed President Joe Biden, stating the potential upcoming strike is because of his “failures.”
“The looming railroad strike is just another example of this admin’s inability to act when it matters,” said Blackburn in a tweet, “Biden’s failures surrounding our supply chain continue to pile up & many should question why the self-proclaimed ‘most pro-union president’ couldn’t deal with this major issue.”
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said a strike that could shut down railroads was “not acceptable.”
“We have made crystal clear to the interested parties the harm that American families, business and farmers and communities would experience if they were not to reach a resolution,” she said.
Miller said Tennessee farmers will be largely affected by the strike since the majority of their fall harvest is transported by railroad. The railroad expert said the damage Tennessee could see all depends on how long the potential strike could last.
“It really depends on how long this is: if this only lasts 24 or 48 hours, it won’t be that big of a deal. If we start getting into a week, it’s going to be very bad; we start getting into two, three weeks, it’s going to be incredibly bad,” he said.