Could a ports strike threaten U.S. national security interests? Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, is worried that a showdown between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance could do exactly that, according to a letter he sent to President Barack Obama last week. The union will strike on December 30 if a settlement is not agreed upon between the two parties.
To prevent a ports strike that will, in his words, ”affect everyone, including ports on the West Coast,” Governor Scott urged President Obama to act immediately. If the president steps in and acts as a mediator in the negotiations between the two parties, he said, a costly and potentially dangerous ports strike could be averted.
“Mr. President, as you know, only four years ago this county faced the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression,” Governor Scott wrote in a three-page letter to the president. “As we continue rebuilding from the turmoil and displacement wrought by that global economic calamity, we cannot afford to allow a suspension of terminal operations to extinguish the fragile recovery efforts.”
The Florida Republican argued that the economic impact of a ports strike on the Sunshine State would be “devastating.” He noted that cargo-related activity at Florida seaports has generated more than 550,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state. Cargo-related activity has also added approximately $66 billion in economic value to Florida’s economy. He pointed out that the state has invested more than $400 million in its ports to take advantage of trade opportunities with Central and South America and the potential for increased trade with Asia.