Gov. Rick Scott called for Pres. Obama to take emergency measures to halt an impending shut down of the nation’s ports stemming from a labor dispute.
Joined by the state’s ports directors on a conference call on Thursday, Scott said the shut down of ports throughout the state of Florida would lead to unacceptable job losses and economic turmoil.
“We are together on this call today for one reason – we must help the Florida families whose jobs and livelihoods depend on our Florida ports,” Scott said. “A shut down of Florida ports is simply not an option for Florida families.”
Scott wrote a letter to Obama last week asking for the president to invoke presidential powers to halt a strike by the International Longshoremen’s Association. He said he “hoped” the president had read the letter, indicating that Obama had not yet responded.
The national strike is scheduled to go forward on Saturday if there is no agreement for a new contract. It could have a multimillion-dollar impact in Florida, where the massive port of Miami is located.
A top Democrat in the Florida Legislature was quick to react to Scott’s mention of “families,” pivoting to other state issues that affect families—namely, healthcare and education.
House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, blasted the governor’s move to intervene in the labor dispute while other state issues linger.
“President Obama will determine what is best regarding the looming strike at the nation’s East Coast ports,” said Thurston, in a statement that asked Scott to focus on implementing healthcare reform and addressing education issues. “Governor Scott can turn his attention to Florida and begin correcting all that he has managed to dismantle.”
Scott’s press release and the response release from Thurston are below: