A looming rail strike threatens to further cripple an already struggling economy.

Unions representing more than 90,000 workers at the nation's freight railroads are poised go on strike Friday, a move that could bring nearly 30 percent of the nation's freight to a grinding halt.

A presidential panel is recommending the two sides agree to a five-year contract that includes an immediate 14 percent raise, back-pay from 2020, and a 24 percent pay increase over the course of the contract.

While that's less than the 31 percent raises over five years the union is seeking, it's 17 percent more than the railroads previously offered.