Wed. Feb 1st, 2023

I got up this morning and saw the following headline.

Large Rail Union SMART-TD Votes to Reject Labor Deal as National Strike Moves Closer

And here we thought the current administration took care of this?

Well, come to find out all they did was kick the can down the road a bit to bypass a potential strike before the elections.

Folks, if you do not want to hear a doom and gloom situation, stop reading right now because this is truly ugly.

I am going to put it bluntly. If the railways stop working, your grocery stores could be empty within 72 hours, and it would cost the US economy $2 billion per day and quite possibly more.

Got toilet paper?

Secondly, oil wouldn’t make it to the refineries; in fact, the oil wouldn’t make it out of the field. Do you keep hearing about the 25-day diesel shortage? This would escalate it proportionally.

To put this into context, remember when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers in the 1980s when they were deemed ‘too necessary’ to strike?

Folks, railway workers are even more critical. The unions know this, thus allowing them to leverage a strike for better conditions. At the same time, the railway companies know they will have to give concessions to their employees.

The railway system is too big to fail. The railway workers and the companies know their service is so critical the government can force the unions and require them to make concessions, which is what the union strikers are banking on.

What Will Happen if There is a THREAT of a Strike?

First and foremost, many shippers must find alternative routes for transporting their products. This will result in much higher prices.

This action alone will seriously pump the brakes on economic growth while sending shipping prices skyward.

As retailers and manufacturers see the threat of a strike coming down the pipe, they will rush to get orders and surplus delivered as soon as possible.

This artificially inflates the demand side of the supply chain. When there is high demand comes a higher cost, which will pump the brakes even more and slow the US economy quickly.

What Will Happen IF There is a Strike?

Most people can’t wrap their brains around the amount of cargo that travels by train.

As I stated above, remember that 25-day diesel shortage? According to the association of American Railroads, if the trains did not move freely in the United States, it would take over 99 million additional trucks and four times more fuel. With that many trucks on the road, how fast would we run out of diesel?

This, in turn, would cost the United States economy a minimum of $2 billion per day. But in reality, it could cost an estimated $14 billion every ten days. And this is very concerning; it would shave off 1% of the annual GDP.

Empty Food ShelvesWe do not want to lower our GDP; this in and of itself will cascade into different scenarios, with hyperinflation being one of them, which is an article all by itself.

But I digress.

The typical American would feel the impact of a full-blown strike overnight. Grocery stores would be depleted within the first week.

We would see many gas stations running out of fuel.

Everyday supplies would dry up, and as much as I hate to say it, if you don’t have it on hand, you’re not going to be able to find it, probably for months, if not longer.

Yes, it really would get bad fast.

NOW… let me throw another wrench into the mix and say the Teamsters Union and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union joined sides with their railway brethren. They would refuse to cross any picket lines. The supply chains would come to an unmovable bottleneck, and nothing would be getting delivered. That, in turn, would bring the US Economy to a grinding halt.

This means the stoppage of almost everything. Shipping containers would sit in storage on the docks. Container ships would stack up off the coast. Truckers would be working even harder, and the cost of shipping via trucks would skyrocket beyond what we can imagine.

These are just some of the repercussions the US could be facing.

Imagine major critical supplies and parts not getting delivered. Factories would slow to a crawl from lack of materials.

Let’s just talk about parts for a company’s infrastructure. Things break down, this is a fact, but instead of critical machinery getting fixed in an hour or two, companies could realistically be looking at days, weeks, and months of being down. With slowdowns come layoffs. Could you survive the pink slip?

Right now, our nation is in the middle of grain harvests. Barges stuck on the Mississippi are beginning to impact the food supply chain. Other agricultural products will be slowed down and/or stopped due to a rail strike, which would compound that even more. Already we are seeing reports of grain silos being filled to the max and storage capacity just waiting to be delivered are maxed out.

This means grain will not be delivered, and so grain products will be left to rot if not able to be stored properly.

This is cause and effect going very, very bad, and the US Economy will be massively impacted.

I do not like sounding like some doomsday prophet, but this is a realistic scenario most people in the US do not fully grasp or understand. Heck, I am even having a hard time wrapping my brain around all the ramifications this would impose.

But worse would be the repercussions of our nation coming to a grinding halt.

We could witness an economic whiplash where we would be thrown into a depression and then whiplashed into even higher inflation or possibly hyperinflation.

With goods and supplies coming to a halt, cash flow comes to a halt. This creates a depression.

The Feds would naturally come to the rescue and pump the economy with printed money, thus whiplashing us into higher and higher inflation.

Remember how bad it was when everyone was stuck at home during Covid? We thought those actions came on fast.

With a railroad strike, cause and effect would take place, and the American people would feel it personally in their lives in a matter of days.

Where Are We Now?

SMART-TD, one of the largest railroad labor unions, voted down a tentative agreement with rail management, raising the likelihood of a strike in December. The other largest union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, voted to ratify the labor deal but said it would honor the picket line.

The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the signalmen’s union, can strike as soon as December 5, 2022, but has the option to move its strike date to December 9, 2022, to align with other unions, including SMART-TD.

If we are looking at a Dec 9th timeframe, it will give approximately seven days. FYI, I posted this on November 21, 2022.)

How To Soften the Blow IF This Comes About – Preps o Think About

I know I sound like a broken record, but folks need to double down on their food pantry and any daily items they would need.

One thing you need to think about is buying locally. If this comes about, forget about having items delivered to your home. Buying things on Amazon will also slow down significantly.

What you want to think about are things moved by rail and how your life is affected by these things.

  • Oil
  • Cattle, Pork & Other Livestock
  • Grains
  • Machines and Machine Parts
  • Raw Materials – Wood, Stone, Chlorine, and Other Chemicals

And this is just a short list.

If your life is affected by any of the above, I would think out of the box and try to stock up.

Cattle - Pork - Livestock

Things The You May Wish to Stock Up On

Gas & Diesel – Top off your 5-gallon cans and put them in reserve.

5-Gallon Gas Can – https://amzn.to/3OtGt9c

Meats and Proteins – Look for those sales going on now. It is Thanksgiving, and many proteins are offered at sale prices. Stock up on some extra.

Check stores like Aldi, Walmart, B&J, Sam’s, etc. All have good sales on Thanksgiving foods at the moment.

Grains & Dry Goods – Flour, rice, beans, and the like. Pick up some extra bags of your dry goods so you have them on hand. We grind our wheat for bread, pasta, and pizza. I use hard red wheat berries.

Hard Red Wheat – https://amzn.to/3EPS6DX

Machines and parts – if you have something you have been putting off fixing, you may want to get the parts now and take care of that, or at least have them on hand so you can make repairs.

Raw materials – Top of the list… Toilet Paper and other paper goods like paper plates and paper towels. Remember the craziness during Covid? Lumber is moved by rail to be processed.

Quilted Northern Toilet Paper – https://amzn.to/3tOWsVC

Dixie Paper Plates – https://amzn.to/3XiRmhY

Another item shipped by rail is chlorine which water processing plants need to make water drinkable. It might be a good idea to stock up on water and possibly even water containers.

5-gallon stackable water containers5-Gallon Stackable Water Cans – https://amzn.to/3tQubxS

WaterBob Bathtub Water Storage – https://amzn.to/3XoSZuo

Think this list through and look at how your life could be affected by a rail strike and try to fill in those holes.

Are there things you are thinking about that are shipped by rail I have not mentioned? Please comment below, and let’s put our thinking caps on.

December 5–9, 2022, is not far away. Think of what you need to get on hand to possibly plug those pantry/prep holes and try to jump on it right away.

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