News Section: Business and Financial
Mosaic Dumps Port Manatee, Monthly Furloughs to Begin in January
PORT MANATEE – Port Manatee has decided to furlough each of the port’s 54 full-time employees for one day per month for a period that is temporary but indefinite, after fertilizer giant Mosaic announced that it would shift its fertilizer shipments from Port Manatee to a company-owned terminal south of Tampa later this month.
Port officials explained in a release that because Mosaic is not a direct customer of the port, but rather a customer of a port tenant, Port Manatee officials were "not in a position to avert or even negotiate" the development.
Port officials say that the furloughs could last until the end of the fiscal year, in September 2014, calling them a "difficult yet prudent decision." Similar measures taken at the Port of Baltimore were cited as proof that it is "an accepted practice to help offset the cyclical nature of the port business while helping to preclude the possibility of job losses."
Mosaic, who spends millions of dollars advertising in the region despite not having a product that is sold retail, has earned the ire of environmentalists and other Manatee citizens for mining operations that have proven to typically range between environmentally destructive and environmentally disastrous.
The billion dollar phosphate giant has, however, been very generous to members of the Manatee County Commission, who in return, have been very pro-phosphate mining. The company has been able to consistently win zoning approvals, even amidst widespread public opposition, including controversial changes to its Wingate Creek Mine earlier this year, which passed 5-2 (Commissioners Gallen and DiSabatino dissenting).
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