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Tag: TSA

TSA Still Waiting For Collective Bargaining

Morale is low, attrition is high. It’s clear collective bargaining would help improve things over at the Transportation Security Administration, which overseas the security of our airports. The Obama administration needs to address this sooner than later. 

By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON tsa— Border Patrol agents can do it. So can federal protective officers and U.S. Capitol Police. But Transportation Security Administration officers, who screen passengers at airports across the country, are not allowed to engage in collective bargaining.

The unions representing TSA employees say that one result is the agency has the lowest morale and highest attrition rate of all federal agencies, and that they are eager to see change.

They have the backing of President Obama, who promised on the campaign trail that collective bargaining and workplace protections “will be a priority” for his administration. “It is unacceptable for TSOs to work under unfair rules and without workplace protections — this makes it more difficult for them to perform their jobs,” Obama wrote in a letter to the American Federation of Government Employees in October. “Since 2001, TSA has had the unfettered ability to deny its workforce even the most basic labor rights and protections.”

So far, no changes have been made. The legislation that established the agency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, states that the decision on whether to allow collective bargaining rests with the TSA administrator.

Homeland Inspector Gen. Report Says Phony Lawmen Can Sneak Guns on Planes

airport-photo

Every time they release a report like this you scratch your head and wonder why we haven’t done more since Sept. 11, 2001 to fix the flaws in our airport security.

By Chris Joyner
Jackson Clarion-Ledger

A loophole in airport security could allow a phony lawman to bring guns aboard a plane with little more than a fake letter and a badge bought off the Internet, a newly declassified federal report concludes.

The report from Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner is sharply critical of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s procedures for keeping unauthorized guns off planes.

Skinner’s probe is the result of a series of Clarion-Ledger articles investigating security breaches at Jackson-Evers International Airport, including several instances in which Jackson Mayor Frank Melton was allowed to take his personal guns aboard flights to and from Jackson and other airports.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat who represents Mississippi’s 2nd District, asked Skinner to conduct the investigation into Melton’s armed flights and reports that TSA workers in Jackson had been tipped off to secret inspections designed to test airport security.

For Full Story

Homeland Report Says TSA Needs More Inspectors To Assure Safety For Mass Transit

Mass transit in America has always seemed incredibly vulnerable to a terrorist incident. This report confirms that. Now let’s see what is done to address the problem before something happens.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – The agency responsible for transportation security has too few inspectors to make sure rail and mass transit employees are doing enough to guard against terrorists, a government report says.

The report by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, due out Friday, says the Transportation Security Administration’s request for 102 more inspectors is insufficient to get the job done right.

The review of TSA’s inspection program, obtained by The Associated Press, was conducted between last year February and July.

The TSA has 175 inspectors assigned to assess transportation security for bus and mass transit systems, and many were hired without any experience with mass transit systems, the report said.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

More than 800 Guns Seized at U.S. Airport Checkpoints Last Year

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Who in their right mind brings a gun to the airport these days?

Well, in this post-Sept. 11 era, despite heightened airport security, the number of firearms seized at U.S. airport checkpoints jumped to 833 in 2008, up nearly 10 percent from a year ago, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The 2008 figure was down from 915 in 2006, but nonetheless perplexing, said  TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis. The figures were compiled at the request of ticklethewire.com.

“We’ve spent the last seven years trying to educate passengers on what items are prohibited and allowed at the checkpoints,” Davis said.  “Certainly guns loaded or unloaded seems rather obvious to us. That is perplexing.”

Davis said a frequent excuse from gun owners, particularly some hunters, is that they forgot the weapon was in their bag.

“One would think a responsible gun owner would know where a firearm is at,” she said.

In another key category, the TSA reported that the number of suspicious behavior arrests at the airports more than doubled from 384 in 2007 to 851 last year.

Davis attributed the spike to TSA’s expanded Behavior Detection Program, where TSA security looks for psychological signs that someone is “basically hiding something or fears discovery.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Blue Uniforms for TSA officers Getting Under Their Skin

Some of these folks look irritated enough just doing their job. Do they need this?

By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The new blue uniforms issued to Transportation Security Administration officers at hundreds of airports nationwide may have a snazzy look, but they have become a major irritant for some of those employees.
The new uniforms are causing rashes and other irritations among transportation security officers who screen passengers at airports, according to the union representing the workers.
“We’re hearing from hundreds of TSOs that this is an issue,” said Emily Ryan, a spokeswoman for the American Federation of Government Employees. Most of the complaints have been for skin rashes, but they have also included runny or bloody noses, lightheadeness, red eyes, and swollen and cracked lips, union officials say.
For Full Story

Aberrant Behavior at Airports Takes No Holiday: 21 Guns Seized in One Week

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — As we approach Christmas, it’s clear aberrant behavior at our friendly airports isn’t taking a holiday.
The latest figures from the Transportation and Safety Administration show that 21 firearms were found at checkpoints between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 and 17 passengers were arrested due to suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents.
What’s more, two “artfully concealed prohibited items” were found at checkpoints and there were 15 incidents involving a checkpoint closure, a terminal evacuation or sterile area breach.