February 28, 2007

TSA Union

Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 10:50:20 -0800
To: Senator@boxer.senate.gov, "U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer" , Adolfo_Bailon@boxer.senate.gov, Leannah_Bradley@boxer.senate.gov, Joy_Freiberg@boxer.senate.gov, Corey_Jackson@boxer.senate.gov, Brian_McLafferty@boxer.senate.gov, Aaron_Rosenthal@boxer.senate.gov, Gina_Semenza@boxer.senate.gov, Eram_Siddiqui@boxer.senate.gov, Kate_Simon@boxer.senate.gov, Judith_Vasquez@boxer.senate.gov, senator@feinstein.senate.gov, richard_harper@feinstein.senate.gov, mark_karesh@feinstein.senate.gov, "U.S. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez" , bill.grady@mail.house.gov, lauren.ross@mail.house.gov, iram.hasan@mail.house.gov, john.brodtke@mail.house.gov, clint.carte@mail.house.gov, romulo.rivera@mail.house.gov, karen.minatelli@mail.house.gov, rachel.potucek@mail.house.gov
From: updates@LAAG.us
Subject: Sept. 11 anti terrorism bill and the TSA union issue

Dear Senators Boxer and Feinstein and Representative Sanchez:

I dont agree with 90% of what Bush does however I do agree with his threatened veto on the Sept. 11 anti terrorism bill over the TSA union issue (see story below). There has been almost no media coverage of this provision (typical). That sort of a provision (almost as bad as an "ear mark") does not belong in this bill as it is anti taxpayer (as all public employees unions always are). For more on that issue and how public employee unions are causing the public pension system to collapse see www.LAAG.us and http://www.pensiontsunami.com/ Also unionization will have no effect on passenger safety and arguments could be made that it could decrease safety for taxpayers and only increase benefits to TSA employees. Quite frankly the screeners never should have become federal employees to begin with. It was slipped in while voters were in a state of hysteria (just like we over-reacted on Iraq) Federal requirements should have been put in place for private screeners. Federalizing thousands of jobs was a giant mistake and quite frankly the job TSA has done so far has been abysmal, especially with all the stories on the hundreds of missing uniforms. Surely that would be something that the Union would help them on. You loose a uniform you get fired. Union would prevent that. VOTE NO ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS AND BAILOUTS! Just because the federal govt. is infested with other unions is no reason to keep piling them on. This type of "give everyone the same sweetheart deal" thinking is what has led to our current pension and federal wage inflation problems. Search for "pensions" here

Lakewood CA 90712

WASHINGTON (AP)--U.S. President George W. Bush probably would veto a Sept. 11 antiterrorism bill if it includes a Democratic-sponsored provision to let federal airport screeners unionize, a Republican senator said Tuesday.

"The president's message on the bill is going to come out tomorrow. I think that it will contain a veto threat on the TSA collective bargaining position," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said, referring to the Transportation Security Administration.

Collins said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told her of the impending veto threat.

A White House spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Such a veto threat would be an effort to flex Bush's political muscle with the new, Democratic-led Congress on the old battleground of labor rights. It also could throw an obstacle into talks over how to debate and pass the recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission.

For now, senators are eager to follow the House and pass a bill enacting the commission's recommendations to tighten the nation's security. The House bill also includes a provision that would let TSA screeners bargain collectively.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had reached a tentative agreement Tuesday to conduct the debate over the next 10 days without the distraction of Iraq.

The sense of urgency on the 9/11 recommendations was conveyed to both leaders in a letter Tuesday from families of those killed in the terrorist attacks on that day in 2001.

"This legislation is far too important to be politicized by...controversial amendments and debate, particularly those relating to Iraq," wrote Carol Ashley and Mary Fetchet of the Voices of September 11th.

Reid and McConnell said the Iraq debate would wait for next month, after passage of the 9/11 bill. The arrangement would allow the Senate to debate legislation bolstering antiterrorism security measures on railroads and airlines without being distracted by the furor over President Bush's buildup of troops in Iraq.

"We have got to finish this bill," Reid said as he opened the Senate session. He read parts of a letter from relatives of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks asking the Senate to consider the legislation "without complications regarding Iraq."

Even minus an Iraq debate, provisions in the antiterrorism bill or planned amendments make the legislation contentious.

The administration vigorously opposes a measure that would give TSA screeners the same collective bargaining and whistleblower rights held by most other federal employees. The White House also opposes an amendment that would let states delay adopting standardized drivers' licenses.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said screeners have been denied the most basic employee protections since joining the federal payroll after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Collins said Chertoff delivered a staunch defense of the administration's position during the GOP caucus' weekly policy lunch Tuesday. She said she nonetheless plans to try to attach an amendment that would delay requirements for states to adopt national drivers license standards.

Many states have complained about the cost of the program, and civil libertarians are concerned about privacy issues.

Other measures in the bill would improve rail and aviation security, provide funds for state and local emergency communications systems, improve intelligence sharing between federal, state and local officials, and expand a visa waiver benefit for favored countries.

Screening for Unions
February 21, 2007; Wall Street Journal Page A16

Democrats figure they owe Big Labor for helping them take Congress, and now comes the payback. Tucked away in House and Senate bills that purport to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission is a provision that the Commission most assuredly did not recommend: collective bargaining rights for the Transportation Safety Administration's 43,000 airport screeners.

Congress created TSA in 2001 without union rights on common sense grounds that the agency overseeing airport security was more like the Defense Department than, say, Agriculture. Unionization, with its myriad work rules, would make it harder for the executive branch to hire, fire, train and reassign workers to best meet changing terrorist threats.

Democrats haven't stopped trying to overturn that decision, and in 2002 they forced a showdown with President Bush over union rights as part of creating the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Bush opposed the effort by Senate Democrats who were then in the majority, and the dispute helped the GOP gain Senate seats that November. This may explain why Democrats are now trying to unionize TSA sotto voce, under the cover of 9/11 Commission "reforms," and so far the press corps has barely noticed.

The Bush Administration has caught on, however, and opposes the change in TSA rules. Democrats are betting the White House won't have the nerve to veto an otherwise popular, if ill-understood, bill over this single provision. Our guess is that if Mr. Bush did veto such a bill, he'd find public sympathy for an argument that he was protecting a vital national security function from being corrupted by union politics.

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