Following last evening’s announcement that a tentative agreement has been reached between freight railroads and rail labor organizations – avoiding a shutdown of the nation’s freight rail system – American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO, Steve Lamar, offers cautious words of praise.
“We applaud the Biden administration and Members of Congress for intervening on behalf of complex and critical supply chains that depend on the rail system, and for establishing the additional cooling off period while rank-and-file considers the deal," said Lamar. "If a deal is not completed in full, the 25 percent of apparel and footwear that typically touches the rail lines would immediately get stuck and threaten the busy fall shopping season. Trucking demand would skyrocket amid a very real truck driver and chassis shortage and delivery of all additional consumer products would suffer from the ripple effects. Our industry, consumers, and the economy (at the cost of an estimated $2 Billion per day) would suffer. At the same time, we continue to urge speedy conclusion of the parallel labor negotiations at the West Coast Ports – now in their fourth month – to make sure that we can avoid similarly brinksmanship in the future."
On Tuesday, AAFA sent a letter to Congress explaining that the apparel and footwear industry’s 3 million American workers and all American consumers depend on a smooth supply chain. Rail, particularly intermodal, is an increasingly important piece of the supply chain puzzle as the industry works to bring the right clothes, shoes, and accessories to American families at the right time, and at the right price.
AAFA continues to monitor the evolving negotiations closely and will be ready to push Congress to act as the rank-and-file members vote on the tentative deal.