Scott asks Obama to intervene in potential port strike
In a three-page letter delivered to President Barack Obama, Gov. Rick Scott urges the president to intervene in a potential strike by 14,650 members of the International Longshoreman's Association because of stalled contract negotiations. Download Scott on Longshoreman's strike
Scott warned that 15 ports could be paralyzed, including the Port of Tampa, and the "effects of the strike on the State of Florida would be devastating." He noted the concerns of the shipping industry, retailers and distributors who are "preparing for inevitable shortages and supply chain backlash issues at ports outside the region that would remain operative in the event of a strike or lockout."
There is precedent for a president to use his executive authority under the Taft-Harley Act to halt a strike if it would "imperil the national health or safety." Scott cited the decision by former President Nixon, who in 1971 invoked the emergency provisions of the act to halt a strike by West Coast longshoremen during the Vietnam War. He also cited the 2002 decision by former President Bush who intervened after a similar strike continued for 10 days.
"It is imperative that action be taken to prevent a shutdown before it occurs,'' Scott wrote. "History shows us that even a 10-day shutdown can cause lasting harm."