NWRA Joins with Coalition in Calling on Congress to Block Rail Strike

NWRA Joins with Coalition in Calling on Congress to Block Rail Strike 

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 400 other associations as a signatory on a coalition letter to congressional leaders calling on them to “take immediate steps to prevent a national rail strike and the certain economic destruction that would follow.”

“A rail strike would be economically devastating to America and could also lead to a public health crisis if waste and recyclables that are transported by rail to recycling facilities and landfills are unable to be moved,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Should the unions and rail companies be unable to reach an agreement, we urge Congress to act under its authority to impose the Presidential Emergency Board’s proposed solution.”

Four unions have rejected the proposed solution, setting up a potential rail strike as soon as December 9 with impacts felt as soon as December 5.

Waste and recyclables must continue to be able to be shipped via rail without disruption. The loss of this transportation mode, even for a short time, would result in the stockpiling of waste and recyclables in communities and could lead to a public health crisis. For example, a substantial part of New York City’s waste leaves by rail daily.

While most of the country only began to focus on the railway issues in mid-September, NWRA’s members were already beginning to feel the effects across the U.S. as early as the spring. Member companies from the Northeast to the Northwest noticed that service disruptions were having a severe impact on their businesses.

Upon the coalition letter being sent to Congress, President Joe Biden issued a statement calling on Congress to quickly adopt the Tentative Agreement. In his statement, Biden said that there is no path to resolve the dispute at the bargaining table. He also noted that a rail shutdown would be devastating to the economy. Importantly, he stated that Congress “should get this bill to my desk well in advance of December 9th so we can avoid disruption.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement immediately after, indicating that the House would vote this week on legislation to adopt the Tentative Agreement that had been negotiated by the administration. No word yet on when the Senate will act.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association