The US House voted this week to approve H.J. Res. 100. The resolution, which now heads to the Senate, will implement the Tentative Agreement that was negotiated between the administration, the rail labour unions and the railroads.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) said yesterday (30 November) it has key voted passage of H.J.Res 100 as ‘yes’ vote. The apparel group wrote a letter to the Representative expressing “strong support” for the measure it says would “avert a disastrous and devastating rail strike”.

“Rail is an essential part of the eco-system that helps you get dressed every day. Approximately 30% of clothes, shoes, and accessories move by rail. Those goods include children’s apparel, backpacks, winter coats and boots, work shoes, uniforms – including those for essential workers, and many more everyday essentials,” said AAFA CEO Stephen Lamar.

“Unless Congress take action this week, rail operations will be interrupted this week as railroads begin to cease operations to accommodate strike preparations. Already, we are seeing companies scrambling to divert cargo to other distressed logistics modes, such as trucking, exacerbating those strained links in our supply chains. When a full strike starts in earnest a little over 200 hours from now, the economy could suffer losses of up to $2 billion a day, see an additional spike in inflation, and experience more job losses. This damage will be felt in every sector, in every state, and in every district.”

The National Retail Federation offered a similar sentiment. President and CEO Matthew Shay commended “the swift action” of the House to approve what it said is a “critical piece of legislation” that will “prevent a potential catastrophic freight rail shutdown that could cost the economy $2 billion a day”.

He said: “America’s railroads serve nearly every sector of our economy and provide access to global markets. The freight rail system is a lifeline for many industries, ensuring the transport of not only retail goods, but also essential food and energy supplies.

“It is imperative that the Senate now acts immediately to approve the measure and send it to President Biden’s desk. Until the Tentative Agreement is in place, US economic security remains in jeopardy.”  

NRF said it had sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to approve H.J. Res. 100. Last week, NRF relaunched a grassroots campaign where more than 500 advocates contacted lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent the rail strike.