On Oct. 26, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen became the second rail union to vote down the National Tentative Agreement that was reached on September 15 between rail unions, freight rail companies and the Biden administration. Despite half of all rail unions voting to ratify their agreements, the BRS’ vote not to ratify follows the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees’ rejection on October 10.

The rejection of the National Tentative Agreement begins a “status quo” period during which the union will reengage with the National Carriers Conference Committee, as well as the Presidential Advisory Board. The “status quo” period will run until Nov. 19 — five days after Congress is scheduled to come back to Washington. Although a potential strike and subsequent shutdown – which the Association of American Railroads estimated would idle more than 7,000 trains daily and cost the economy more than $2 billion a day – would not come before then, Congress could ask to prohibit a strike and force unions to accept the deal.

Before the National Tentative Agreement was reached in September, ABC released a statement urging Congress to take immediate action to bring about a resolution to this extremely dangerous threat to our economy.

Today, ABC joined with 322 local, state and federal trade associations in signing a letter to the White House and key administration officials urging them to continue to work with the railroad unions and railroads to ensure that the tentative agreement is ratified by the parties and to avoid a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure.