US Congress signs legislation to avert rail strike
America’s railways move about one-quarter of all U.S. grain, and most grain products, such as soybean oil and meal, dried distillers’ grains and other byproducts used in animal feeds.
President Biden signed a measure that will impose a labor agreement for rail workers that his administration brokered in September, averting a nationwide disruption of rail service. The deal provides a historic 24% pay raise for rail workers. It provides improved health care benefits and it provides the ability to operate craft workers to take unscheduled leave for medical needs.
Feed groups applaud the decision
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) applauds Congress and the Biden administration for swiftly stepping in to pass legislation that avoids a potentially crippling national rail shutdown, which would have threatened the health and welfare of America’s livestock, poultry and pets and exacerbated an already tough operating environment for U.S. animal food manufacturers.
“No one empathizes with the struggles of maintaining a committed workforce like the U.S. animal food industry but slowing or stopping the transport of goods via rail threatens the livelihoods of those hardworking Americans well beyond our nation’s tracks. We thank Congress and the Biden administration for their leadership in brokering a deal that keeps all trains running on time for the greater good of America and the food and agricultural community,” said AFIA president and CEO Constance Cullman.
America’s railways move about one-quarter of all U.S. grain, and most grain products, such as soybean oil and meal, dried distillers’ grains and other byproducts used in the production of animal feed and pet food. The U.S. animal food industry is responsible for delivering an estimated 284 million tons of safe, high quality and nutritious animal food to the marketplace for domestic livestock and pets to consume. Without efficient and stable modes to transport animal food and ingredients, crop inputs or any machinery or supplies necessary in the manufacture of animal food via the nation’s railways, waterways and highways, farmers and consumers are at risk of being unable to reliably feed their livestock, poultry and pets, AFIA said.
“National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) members, which include 1,000 companies that handle U.S. grains and oilseeds, commend Congress for working in a bipartisan manner to avert a national rail shutdown. Resilient and reliable rail service is essential to the daily operations of NGFA members and is crucial to a functioning agricultural economy. We thank President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for understanding the urgency required to prevent severe economic damage,” said NGFA president and CEO Mike Seyfert.