WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress could intervene as early as Friday to prevent a national railroad strike that would paralyze retailers during the peak holiday shipping season.
A strike is looming unless the nation's freight railroads and three labor unions resolve their differences by a 12:01 a.m. Tuesday deadline.
But House lawmakers say they hope the parties will agree to extend the negotiation period for another 60 days.
The railroads have reached agreements with 10 of the 13 unions covering about 60 percent of the 132,000 workers bargaining.
Contract talks are being overseen by a special presidential board in Washington. The unions are not allowed to strike until a "cooling off" period ends Dec. 6.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
By SAM HANANEL
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