RILA Urges Congressional Action to Avert National Railroad Shutdown

RILA Urges Congressional Action to Avert National Railroad Shutdown: Work stoppage could disrupt retail supply chains well into 2012. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is calling on Congress to step in to avert a work stoppage that would disrupt retail supply chains during the holiday shopping season and well into 2012.
A breakdown in negotiations between the National Railway Labor Conference and railroad negotiators could lead to a nationwide shutdown on December 6. Congress can impose the terms recommended by the Obama Administration’s Presidential Emergency Board on both rail management and labor. Estimates suggest that a national railroad work stoppage would cost the U.S. economy $2 billion per day.

“We urge Congress to exercise their power to step in to keep the flow of goods moving and avert an avoidable economic catastrophe. Such a significant interruption of supply chains at this critical time would have a broad and dramatic effect, while interfering with retailers’ ability to provide customers with the items they seek during the holidays and beyond,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy.

Retailers rely on an efficient rail transportation system to move products to distribution facilities and stores every day of the year. Freight rail is a crucial to the movement of retail goods and any disruptions in that link would be destructive to the retail industry’s ability to deliver their goods in a “just in time” fashion.

“A national railroad shutdown would force retailers to shift the delivery of their goods to trucks, increasing costs, time of delivery and congestion on our nations already crowded roadways,” added Kennedy.

In letters to House and Senate Leaders, RILA urged “we strongly encourage Congress to preemptively impose the terms recommended by the Obama Administration Presidential Emergency Board to avoid the potential disastrous negative impact.”

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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