Written by: Leah Wilkinson | September 15, 2022
All of food and agriculture, including the U.S. animal food industry, waited with bated breath this week to see if the rail companies and their labor unions would achieve a labor agreement before the Friday deadline. I’m sure we all breathed out a collective sigh of relief when we heard the good news that the parties reached a tentative agreement late last night. Now, we wait to see if the unions will ratify this agreement, which is anticipated.
The American Feed Industry Association is pleased with this tentative agreement as a rail strike would have had a significant impact on the animal food industry’s ability to keep America’s livestock, poultry, aquaculture and pets fed.
Even a day without rail shipment would have been devastating for animal welfare and for our businesses, many of which are already reeling from increased costs to transport goods and do business in a post-COVID-19 economy.
This week, we advocated on our members’ behalf extensively, including joining 65 food and agricultural organizations as part of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group in calling on Congress to “remain in session and act immediately to prevent a rail strike or lockout.” We also held discussions with the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House National Economic Council, and sent a letter to congressional leadership with allied organizations, highlighting the specific impacts a shutdown would have on the feed and pet food industry. Our AFIA members joined us in this effort, sending over 300 letters to their members of Congress, letting them know how important rail reliability is to the U.S. animal food industry.
While we know our next step is to work with policymakers to ensure America’s rail service is fully restored, we will continue working with partners to improve America's transportation systems in the weeks ahead.