Congressional Leaders: Action Required to Avert an Economically Damaging Rail Strikec

By at 30 November, 2022, 1:46 pm

November 30, 2022

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi            The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Speaker                                            Majority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives        U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C.  20515                  Washington, D.C.  20510


The Honorable Kevin McCarthy        The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Republican Leader                             Republican Leader

U.S. House of Representatives          U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20515                     Washington, D.C.  20510


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, and Republican Leaders McConnell and McCarthy:

Our nation’s small businesses continue to face significant challenges and headwinds. Another costly disruption via a rail strike would inflict costly and irreversible harm on key sectors, countless local business in communities nationwide, and the economy as a whole. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) had hoped that the extraordinarily generous tentative agreements reached by the industry and rail union leaders would put the threat of a rail strike behind us and Congress would not have to intervene. Sadly, this is not the case. Therefore, SBE Council supports congressional action as embodied in H.J.Res. 100 to avert an economically damaging strike.

Supporting the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board, as H.J. Res. 100 would do, represents a prudent and appropriate step in order to protect our nation’s economy, supply chains, and citizens. Adding additional paid leave benefits to the tentative agreements, as H.Con.Res.119 would do, is not only unnecessary but inappropriate. Congress must reject this measure.

As noted above, many small businesses are in a fragile state. Most continue to work hard to dig out of big revenue holes created by the COVID shutdowns, while navigating inflationary pressures, labor shortages, and slowing demand. Rent delinquencies have become a major challenge for small businesses, with 41% reporting they could not pay their rent in full and on time in November, according to an Alignable survey. The survey also revealed that 73% of businesses reported that customers were buying less than the month prior. Retail is getting hit hard with 40% saying they will generate less revenue in Q4 2022 than they did in Q4 2021. Not surprisingly, 60% of all small businesses say inflation is significantly hurting their businesses.

Any new disruption, especially on the scale triggered by a rail system shutdown – a $2 billion per day hit – could be the final blow that sinks many small businesses, particularly small retailers who need everything to go perfectly right for the remainder of this critical holiday shopping season. Of course, disruptions across industries – from agriculture, to health care, manufacturing and more – will not only further burden and harm small businesses, but their customers and workers who are also worried about their finances and economic uncertainty.

We strongly support congressional action in order to protect America’s economy and all of its vital sectors and players. Again, we are voicing strong support for H.J.Res. 100. Thank you, in advance, for your support of small business.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO


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