The Alabama Port Authority is “closely monitoring” the ongoing labor negotiations between major railroad companies and their employees across the nation, according to a Port of Mobile spokeswoman.

A federally-mandated “cooling-off” period in labor negotiations between railroad companies and employees ends at 11:01 p.m. CT tomorrow. 

Failure to come to some kind of an agreement by then would open the door for about 115,000 freight rail workers in unions to walk off the job or for companies to shut out employees, according to USA Today. This would likely mean another major shock to a United States supply chain still recovering from the pandemic.

“We are hopeful that these negotiations will soon lead to a resolution with minimal disruption in service,” Maggie Oliver, a Port of Mobile spokeswoman, told 1819 News. “While a national rail stoppage would impact the Port’s operations, it is difficult at this point to project to what extent operations may be affected. The Port is committed to serving our customers and will work to minimize any potential impacts.”

The Port’s Terminal Railway (TASD) has successfully executed its respective collective bargaining agreements. Any potential impacts for the Alabama Port Authority would be related to national service disruptions.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) said in an interview with Alabama media members today that “the unions need to work this out” and that “we can’t run this country without trains so he [Biden] might have to step in and make some kind of executive order.”

“This is something that a lot of people…I don’t think they think about very much because it doesn’t affect them as we speak,” Tuberville outlined. “You have 12 different unions that run the railroads across our country. President Biden put a group together to overcome the differences over the last few months. I’ll give him credit for that. Out of these 12 unions, I think they’re close to having ten of the unions agree with the terms that have been laid forth but all of them have to agree.”

Tuberville said the consequences of a railroad worker strike would be “unfathomable.”

“If they do go on strike…here’s what will happen: we’ll lose $2 billion worth of supplies a day,” Tuberville explained. “Our supply chain is already in trouble because of the pandemic. With the train system completely shutting down, it would cost our farmers in Alabama tremendous amounts of money. You can’t move gravel. You can’t move grain. Basically, the stat that I saw, if they were to shut down the trains, we’d have to have 467,000 more trucks on the road every day which you can’t have. We can’t find the drivers now with what we have.”

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