NY Times: Rail strike averted

Last-minute negotiations have averted a rail worker strike, according to the NY Times.

WASHINGTON — The New York Times this morning is reporting that a tentative agreement has been reached between freight rail companies and unions representing workers. The report indicated that negotiations, which lasted deep into the night averted a threatened strike that could have crippled the U.S. economy.

The strike, had it occurred, would have been the first since 1992 when a strike by the International Assn. of Machinists set off a chain reaction causing railroads across the country to shut down. The threat to the U.S. economy caused Congress to pass legislation that ended that strike.

For the furniture industry, the strike would have been the latest in a series of transportation challenges that has driven up prices and caused widespread delays. At the recent High Point Premarket, furniture manufacturers, otherwise optimistic, expressed concern that a strike could cripple industry recovery, coming as it might have on the heels of explosive increases in ocean shipping rates.

Furniture importers have pointed out that even though container rates have come down there remain widespread challenges and costs associated with getting goods off ships and transported to their key destinations.

A massive shortage of truck drivers continues to challenge the industry’s ability to move goods within the U.S. and the fear of a looking rail worker strike could have made those challenges all but insurmountable.

This story is developing.

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