Ga. businesses, consumers brace for possible rail strike

A nationwide rail strike is rattling the United States economy. (CNN, Port of Los Angeles, WBBM).
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 11:43 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2022 at 2:19 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - A potential strike could prevent home deliveries, business operations, and farming from chugging along as normal.

If labor unions and railroad companies don’t reach an agreement over attendance policies and sick leave by Friday, nearly every industry will be impacted.

Nikolay Osadchiy, a professor at Emory Goizueta Business School, said consumers could notice pricier goods within seven to 10 days.

“It’s going to be a problem very quickly,” said Osadchiy.

Railways in Atlanta have taken preemptive action to prepare for a strike.

CSX and Norfolk Southern have stopped freights with potentially toxic or hazardous materials.

Wednesday at noon, Norfolk Southern will close gates to “intermodal traffic” – large shipping freights filled with goods.

Members of one union rejected a tentative deal Wednesday, while others remained at the bargaining table.

What it means for you

“We typically operate at a fairly lean level of inventory, especially the level for finished goods,” said Osadchiy. “Businesses will seek alternate suppliers or they’ll try to buy inventory using some other means of transportation.”

Truck drivers, already facing a nationwide shortage of roughly 80,000 drivers, would take on the responsibility for carrying additional cargo. The port of Savannah could see major congestion.

“If there’s no rail, they’re going to pile up and there’s going to be a delay,” said Osadchiy.

However, lessons learned from the pandemic could prove useful in navigating supply chain problems.

“They have suppliers and relationships with alternative options to get critical goods to maintain production,” he explained. “Nevertheless, prices are going to be impacted. It’s not a bulletproof solution.”

Amtrak announced Tuesday it canceled some long-distance trips throughout the country. It will cancel seven more routes Wednesday but did not specify which ones.