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Potential freight railway strike threatens supply chains

Railyards at AMD soybean facility in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Dustin Hoffmann)

The two largest railway workers unions in the country and the railway carriers are currently in a dispute over working conditions which could reach a boiling over point this Friday if a deal is not reached.

The railway workers unions and the railway carriers are at odds over points-based attendance work policies. Negotiations are ongoing but a federally mandated cooling off period ends Friday which means there is a possibility of a strike from railway workers or a lockout if railway carriers do not allow workers to perform their jobs.

Jim McCormick, commodity broker and founding partner of AgMarket.net, says that some railway work is already being suspended now.

Despite the potential for a labor strike, historical precedent says that is unlikely.

McCormick says if a strike were to occur it would greatly impact basis prices.

President Biden appointed an emergency board to help mediate the labor dispute between the rail unions and carriers in July. Of the 12 unions that have been negotiating for two years with the rail carriers, nine have already come to agreements. The three remaining railway worker unions at the table, including the two largest in the United States, are still attempting to negotiate a deal.

For more information from Jim McCormick and the rest of the AgMarket.net agricultural marketing and consulting team visit www.agmarket.net