One thing you will notice about leftists like Barack Obama is that their agenda always comes first. For instance Obama and the Democrats currently are pushing relentless tax hikes even though it is proven that those tax hikes will hurt the economy. Because wealth expropriation through taxation is at the forefront of the liberal agenda.
Now airport security again is in the spotlight with the Christmas Day terror attack on Delta flight 253 into Detroit. Yet even at this crucial time Obama is forging forth with a nominee to head up the Transportation Security Administration whose #1 agenda item is to get collective bargaining rights for unionized airport screeners. The American Federation of Government Employees now represents many of those 50,000 screeners but they have no collective bargaining rights.
Republican US senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina is seeking to block nominee Errol Southers as head of TSA. Because DeMint knows that Southers is more interested in the leftist agenda to create more power for unionized workers than in protecting airline safety. Because these unions will funnel more wealth to the Democrat party through those workers’ paychecks.
Southers is the Los Angeles International Airport assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence, and associate director at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California. He is a former FBI special agent who served as a deputy director of homeland security for California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
James Sherk at The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org) wrote about why collective bargaining for screeners is a bad idea:
TSA screeners may belong to a union, and the TSA withholds union dues for screeners who request it. But unless the TSA changes its policy, the union may not collectively negotiate how TSA screeners perform their jobs...
The TSA has avoided collective bargaining for good reason: Collective bargaining would reduce its effectiveness. The TSA needs the maximum flexibility to respond to potential threats. It needs the ability to rush screeners to high-risk locations and modify screening procedures at a moment’s notice. Following the attempted U.K. airline bombings, for example, the TSA overhauled its procedures in less than 12 hours to prevent terrorists from smuggling liquid explosives onto any U.S. flights.
The TSA cannot afford spending weeks or months negotiating new procedures or personnel assignments, as collective bargaining requires. Other government unions in the Department of Homeland Security have strongly resisted changing established procedures and the flexible assignment of personnel. The National Treasury Employees Union, for example, successfully brought the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before arbitration for breaking its contract after the CBP changed security procedures without first collectively negotiating them.
Other countries that allow collective bargaining over security procedures have found that it harms national security. A 2006 labor dispute in Toronto caused many pieces of luggage to go unscreened and allowed 250,000 passengers to board their planes with minimal or no security screening. (end of excerpt)
Here is just one example from governmentexecutive.com from 2003 about how a union tried to manipulate a labor issue without regard for public safety:
The American Federation of Government Employees lost a court battle to prevent the Transportation Security Administration from temporarily hiring or firing more airport screeners, a union lawyer said Tuesday.
The federal district court for the District of Columbia on Monday denied the union’s motion for a temporary restraining order against TSA, said Gony Frieder, staff counsel for AFGE TSA Local No. 1.
The union asked the court to temporarily prevent TSA from hiring new security screeners who were not previously employed as screeners by TSA, and to prevent TSA from laying off any more screeners. (end of excerpt)
Passenger screening is a stressful public-interface job that currently attracts many low-skilled people with little commitment to the work. And the stories now coming out about screener incompetence are frightening.
Liberals are claiming that more union power through collective bargaining will fix the problem by attracting superior workers through higher wages and better working conditions. But this has been debunked by the terrible job done by many unionized workers across America, particularly in the federal and state work forces, where taxes go up and up to pay wages for workers who do less and less; or in the auto industry where union wage demands are draining the life out of GM and Chrysler while non-union ‘transplant’ car companies like Hyundai are thriving.
Or consider Amtrak, whose unionized federal employees have been exposed as some of the rudest and least competent in America. In Chicago, meanwhile, it is being reported that conventions are taking their business to other cities because unionized workers on convention jobs have been drawing exorbitant paychecks and sending costs out of control.
Steve Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, put it succinctly recently saying that collective bargaining for airport screeners would turn screening into a “procedure-based, rather than a mission-based” job. And this has been proven true all over the world when unionized workers focus primarily on their own interests and paychecks, with exorbitant wage demands and labyrinthine and arcane work rules.
Contrary to the carefully cultivated image of unions as “friends of working people”, powerful unions have ruined many industries and millions of jobs in America including steel, cars and railroads through strikes, wage demands, sloth and threats. All Americans know this is true and this is why most workers are choosing not to unionize.
Proponents of collective bargaining for airport screeners also point to unionized cops and firefighters as an example of unionized public employees who do a good job. And this is largely true. But first, cops and firefighters are a different breed of people from your average government worker. And while they may do a good job, those cops and firefighters are in many cases very costly to state and local governments. In Massachusetts, for instance, state troopers make an average salary of $149,000 annually. Boston police officers make more than $120,000. And that is just the salary. The benefits and pension amount to even more.
So what is the answer?
*It is first of all to insure that airport screeners do their job. And there are two possible solutions:
*Use the military as screeners, since screening is part of our national defense against terrorism. Because if airport screening becomes a duty of the military, screeners would be prepared through rigorous military-style training and discipline; it would be much more intimidating to potential terrorists, which would be a valuable tool in psychological warfare against terror; and they would be available to the airlines at low cost, leading to savings for the traveling public. Airlines could then reimburse the government for the military contribution.
*Use police as screeners. If screeners were part of a police force – even a local force where, say, Nashville airport screeners worked for the Nashville PD – they also would be required to have special preparation and obedience as police officers all over America already do. This also would increase the intimidation factor.
Today’s TSA screeners are not up to the task of protecting the flying public. That is why Southers should not be confirmed, and why Obama should nominate a TSA chief who is more interested in the job at hand than in unionization and its inherent weaknesses.
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