ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Nearly all the items we purchase make their way to being sold in our local stores, by train. But in just a few days, those essential deliveries by rail may stop dead in their tracks.
“We don’t know until this strike, how important rail is to this country,” said Rochelle Economic Development and Railroad Director Jason Anderson.
Thousands of class one rail workers in the U.S. threaten a strike as soon as Friday, urging for what they believe is a fair union contract.
“Our entire supply chain issues have not returned to a healthy robust level,” said Rockford University Business Professor Lee Zook.
Professor Zook says if the union dispute doesn’t get settled, it could potentially cripple the economy. A concern Jason Anderson, feels first hand.
“In the 18 years I’ve been in Rochelle, this is definitely, potentially one of the most difficult things we will deal with,” said Anderson.
As railroad director in the Hub City, Anderson says his staff at the Rochelle Transload Center, has a back up plan for the dozens of industries it serves daily.
“We’re need to work with local trucking companies,” said Anderson. “And say okay, lets off-load those items in that rail car at the transloading center, and get it onto a truck.”
Anderson says the movement of goods and services is essential, to making sure businesses thrive. Ultimately he just hopes for a silver lining.
“It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances,” said Anderson. “But, an opportunity to help local businesses and local truck companies.”
He says the transload center can transfer many different types of items from freight to truck, whether it be liquid, dry, bulk, metals and more.
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