Jeremy's Notebook

Scott Asks Obama for Help at Ports

December 27, 2012

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has asked President Barack Obama to intervene this Saturday if the state’s port workers decide to go on strike.

“A shut down of Florida ports is simply not an option,” the governor said this morning during a conference call with the press.

Members of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance are currently in contract negotiations. The workers’ current contracts expire Dec. 29.

Scott, who was joined on the conference call by state port officials, stressed the importance of the ports to Florida and beyond. He said ramifications of a strike would be felt far inland and impact everything from manufacturing to trucking to the amount of goods on store shelves.

“That means more than one billion dollars a day would not go into our economy,” the governor said.

Scott is requesting that Obama invoke the Taft-Hartley Act if need be. Passed in 1947, the law limits the power of unions and gives the executive branch the authority to obtain legal strike-breaking injunctions. President George W. Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act in 2001 to avoid strikes at West Coast ports.

“A potential strike would be devastating, really, to the entire U.S. economy,” said Bill Johnson, port director for PortMiami and chairman of the Florida Ports Council.

According to the city of Pensacola spokesman Derek Cosson, the involved unions do not have a presence at the Port of Pensacola. He said a strike would not have an impact locally.

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