US freight train workers are on the verge of going on strike amid reports that the business has been losing workers due to long hours and unfavourable working conditions for a number of years.
Railroad companies and labour organisations with 150,000 members have been engaged in contentious contract discussions for over three years.
The Biden administration enforced a "cooling down" period after making suggestions to resolve the conflict, and it expires on Friday.
Workers believe they will leave a sector that already has a staffing crisis if a settlement is not struck, and unions are preparing to take strike action for the first time since 1992.
The effects of a strike would be disastrous. According to a research recently released by the Association of American Railroads, rail transports close to 40% of the country's long-distance trade
and a strike could cost the US economy $2 billion per day by impeding travel, commuting, and the transport of commodities and other items.