Valley industry leaders react to possible rail strike

2 months 5 days 16 hours ago Thursday, December 01 2022 Dec 1, 2022 December 01, 2022 9:53 AM December 01, 2022 in News - Local

The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday that would force rail workers to stay on the job.

The Senate and President Biden must still sign off on it. If not, a rail strike could hurt the nation's economy.

Valley industry leaders say now is not the time for commercial trains to stop moving.

RELATED: House votes to avert rail strike, impose deal on unions  

"Right before Christmas, that could have an impact on all of us,” said McAllen EDC President Keith Patridge.

Patridge is concerned a looming rail worker strike could set businesses behind and raise prices on many everyday items.

Several national railroad unions have been asking since September for paid sick days, paycheck increases and a yearly $1,000 bonus. Union leaders are threatening to walk off on Dec. 9.

"I can't imagine it not affecting any industry, hardly in the United States,” said Greg Wheeler, who leads operations at Ironhorse, a railroad company that operates a rail line in the mid-Valley.

Wheeler says many factories in Reynosa depend on materials arriving by train from up north. They are then delivered to manufacturing plants by truck.

"And probably increasing costs just because they would have to shift from rail to truck," Patridge said. 

If a strike were to happen, officials estimate losses at $2 billion per day.

Although House lawmakers in Washington passed a bill to prevent a rail strike on Wednesday, it could face roadblocks in the Senate.

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