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Consumers could quickly start seeing higher gas prices and shortages of some of their favorite groceries if railroads aren’t able to agree on contracts with al 12 of their unions ahead of next month’s deadline after the latest rejection vote Monday. Congress may ultimately have to step in to protect the economy. Monday’s votes by the two biggest railroad unions follows the decision by three other unions to reject their deals with the railroads that the Biden administration helped broker before the original strike deadline in September. Seven other smaller unions have approved the five-year deals that include 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses. But all 12 must approve the contracts to prevent a strike.

FILE - This April 2, 2021, file photo shows freight train cars and containers at Norfolk Southern Railroad's Conway Yard in Conway, Pa. Railroad engineers accepted their deal with the railroads that will deliver 24% raises but conductors rejected the contract casting more doubt on whether the industry will be able to resolve the labor dispute before next month’s deadline without Congress’ help. The votes, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, by the two biggest railroad unions follows the decision by three other unions to reject their deals with the railroads that the Biden administration helped broker before the original strike deadline in September. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)