CHICAGO (CBS) -- Supply chains across the country could be crippled as early as next week - as rail workers threaten to strike.
As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, holiday presents, vital chemicals, and commuter trains represent just some of the potential fallout.
In Washington on Wednesday, U.S. House lawmakers voted to adopt a tentative agreement to block the potentially devastating strike.
But if the strike does happen, the impact is expected to be felt beyond just the freight lines. By some estimates, a strike could cost the economy $2 billion a day.
"It has all these ripple effects beyond just freight, and in Chicago, we are likely to feel the effects more than just about any other place," said DePaul University transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman.
In September – before the White House stepped in to broker a tentative agreement with rail workers – both Metra and Amtrak canceled some services ahead of the looming strike, impacting thousands of passengers.
Coal, lumber, grain, and some holiday gifts just some of the supply chain that would be derailed if a deal isn't reached this time around.
"When we talk about lack of inventory – in-demand products not being shipped on a normal timeline - It could mean lean holidays for retailers of various sizes, whether they're online or brick-and-mortar," said Tyler Theile, vice president and director of public policy for the Anderson Economic Group.
With time running out, House lawmakers adopted an agreement that calls for a 24 percent raise over five years. A second piece of legislation passed adds seven days of paid sick leave to workers.
"The effect of a strike could be crippling - especially if it lasts more than a day or two," Schwieterman said.
Leaders with Metra say they are watching the situation closely and are hopeful that a strike will be averted. Metra said they will communicate with customers early next week if it appears a deal won't be reached.
Metra is urging Congress to act well before the deadline next Friday to avoid any major disruptions.
Metra says they will communicate with customers early next week if it still looks like a strike is possible.
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