City News

Who Would Lose the Most from an L.A. Boycott of Arizona? (UPDATE)

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Wed, May 12, 2010 at 11:15 AM
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Say hello to Swift Transportation. The Phoenix-based firm is one of the nation's largest trucking companies, and the biggest player in the Port of Los Angeles' Clean Trucks Program.

It also has the most to lose from Councilwoman Janice Hahn's proposed boycott of Arizona -- $18 million, according to a report from the council's Chief Legislative Analyst. That's about a third of all the business the city does with Arizona companies.

The chances of Swift being boycotted seem remote, given how important the company is to the success of the Clean Trucks Program. (Update: From the wording of the resolution, it looks like Swift is in the clear.) But if that did happen, the irony would be rich.

A year ago, Hahn joined a labor protest at the Swift Transportation terminal in Wilmington. An administrative law judge later found that Swift had violated federal labor law by firing two employees for supporting a Teamsters campaign.

Not much came of the protest. Hahn made no move to cut off Swift's contract with the Port of L.A. Labor organizers say the company continues to shortchange drivers and flout regulations.

It would be strange indeed if the company managed to get through that without any blowback from labor-friendly City Hall, only to be tossed out of town for the offense of being headquartered in Arizona. But it's a strange world.

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