The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce has joined a coalition of more than 400 other organizations urging Congress to take action in the face of a looming rail strike between the major freight railroads and 12 labor unions.

In a letter sent to congressional leadership, the large and diverse coalition states that immediate action to avert a strike is necessary or the result could be “interruptions in the delivery of fertilizers, chlorine and other products essential to clean water, our food supply, and electricity generation.”

In addition, the coalition letter notes that “a potential rail strike only adds to the headwinds facing the U.S. economy. A rail stoppage would immediately lead to supply chain shortages and higher prices.”  A rail stoppage could freeze almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoke inflation and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion per day by unleashing a cascade of transport woes affecting U.S. energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors.

Many businesses and communities rely on regular, uninterrupted rail service and the current uncertainty created during this year’s protracted contract negotiations has created enormous anxiety. In September, during the last threat of a strike, the mere possibility of a rail service stoppage created significant disruptions to the timely delivery of critical goods and products.

According to news reports yesterday, President Joe Biden has called on Congress to act with urgency to avert a possible strike.

Unions and railroads are working against a December 9 deadline to come to an agreement.

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