Metra, one of Chicago’s largest suburban-to-city passenger carriers, said Tuesday it will need to suspend train service on multiple Chicago-area lines if freight rail workers strike later this week, a move that would Affect thousands. of daily train commuters.
according to Report from NBC NewsShipping workers are threatening to strike early Friday for reasons including higher wages, more generous paid time off and a renegotiation of strict attendance policies that make it difficult to take time off.
A statement issued by SMART Transportation said the division on Monday. “In fact, it has been quite clear from our negotiations over the past few days that the railways have not shown any intention of reaching an agreement with our unions.
The statement continues: “Railroads use our country’s shippers, consumers, and supply chain as pawns in an effort to get our unions to respond to contract demands knowing our members will never accept them.”
While Metra is not part of the labor dispute, the train operator said in a statement to NBC 5 on Tuesday that the rail strike “may directly affect Metra’s ability to operate on some lines,” given that the majority of Metra lines travel on tracks that either owned, maintained, dispatched by, or intersected with freight railroads.
“Four of our lines, BNSF, Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West, are owned and operated directly by Freight Railroads. In the event of a business interruption, we expect there will be no service on these lines.”
Metra’s BNSF line transports passengers from the western suburbs of Chicago in DuPage County to and from the city. The train’s Union Pacific North line serves passengers up and down the North Shore, while the other two lines carry passengers as far north as McHenry County, and as far west as Keene County.
Metra, just extended $100/month Super Savings Cardsays that two of its lines will continue to operate as scheduled – the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines – since Metra owns, operates and controls those lines.
However, “on other lines,” Metra says, “we are in contact with relevant shipping lines to understand how we might be affected and to determine our options.”
Amtrak on Monday It has already moved to preemptively cancel three routes of long-distance trains that originated in Chicago, a move the train operator says will “avoid potential passenger disruptions” due to the impending strike.
Although Amtrak is not part of the dispute, the train operator said in a statement that a rail strike “could occur”. Significantly affects its passenger service as it operates nearly 21,000 miles of road on tracks owned and operated by freight rail lines, maintained and dispatched.
According to Amtrak, the affected routes are part of the Texas Eagle, along with three long-distance trails that originated in Chicago: California Zephyr, Empire Builder, and Southwest Chief.
“These initial adjustments can follow effects on all long distances and most state-supported routes,” Amtrak’s statement continued.
But commuters may not be the only ones affected by the strike.
Due to the volume of products that are moved and transported by rail, the supply chains of various items may be affected. According to the president of the US Chamber of Commerce, a rail strike could further affect economic and supply chain issues by affecting the flow of goods and raising already inflated prices.
“The shutdown of the country’s railway service will have enormous national consequences,” the chamber said on Monday. Reuters reports.
A White House official said Associated Press That President Joe Biden and members of his cabinet are in touch with both sides in hopes of preventing the strike, and that a number of trade groups representing rail freight companies are urging lawmakers to prepare to disrupt the strike.
Last week, a coalition of 31 agricultural groups sent a letter to Congress, and a trade group affiliated with the Fertilizer Institute joined the chorus of concerned shippers Saturday due to delays in shipments of ammonia and other fertilizers.
“Supply chains are already strained and there is currently no resilience in rail transport,” said Corey Rosenbush, President and CEO of FIT Group. “This situation is only going to get drastically worse every day. There is no solution.” According to Rosenbusch, more than half of the fertilizer is transported by rail.
In addition, more than 75% of all finished vehicles are transported from factories to dealerships by train, and countless other products are transported by rail.
The American Railroad Association estimates that closing railroads will cost the economy $2 billion a day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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