The six Class I freight railroads participating in national bargaining have started taking steps to manage and secure hazardous and security-sensitive material shipments.
The railroads have taken action in light of the possibility of a rail labor strike. The shipments include chlorine used to purify drinking water and chemicals used in fertilizer.
Railroads say they are following federal regulations to ensure that no such cargo is left on an unattended or unsecured train during a work stoppage due to an impasse in labor negotiations.
Additionally, other freight customers may see delayed or suspended service over the next week as railroads prepare for the possibility that labor negotiations will not result in a resolution.
Railroad and industry officials say the preparations do not mean a work stoppage is inevitable. Railroads continue to meet with unions to work toward tentative agreements.